Hand Pain From Computer Mouse

Written by cindi pearce
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Hand Pain From Computer Mouse
Proper use of a mouse (computer mouse image by Chiara Leonardi from Fotolia.com)

Those who work extensively on a computer also use a mouse, which is the input device to the computer. When you engage in the same motions over and over again with a specific part of your body, such as your hands, wrists and fingers, this repetitiveness can lead to injury and pain.

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Potential

When using a mouse, you are using the same small muscles over and over again, which sometimes leads to pain and discomfort and possibly to a condition that is called WMSDs, or Workplace Musculosketetal Disorders.

Muscle Fatigue

As you use the mouse, you are required to make exact movements with your fingers, hands and thumb. Time after time you are positioning the mouse, clicking it and scrolling with it and this can cause muscle fatigue, according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

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After a long day at the computer you may experience aching and soreness as well as pain around your wrist and on the top of your hand. Your forearm and elbow may also be sore. It is possible for ganglion cysts to form along the tendons and around the joints if the repetitive stress on your hands and wrists continues.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

A condition that may crop up is called carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS, which manifests in tingling and numbness in the index finger and thumb.

Reaching

Consider the placement of your mouse. If it is not situated properly, it may be awkward for you to access it. If the mouse is located toward the back of your desk, this is beyond what is considered "easy reach." You can not reach it comfortably. You must reach forward too far and must keep your arm in an unsupported position for too long as you use the mouse. This position puts stress on the upper back or trapezius muscles as well as on the deltoid muscle (your shoulder.) Aches and pains in your neck and shoulder area are likely to result.

When you have to reach and maintain this position for a long time this causes the shoulder blades to rotate forward or abduct. This position stretches all of the muscles that connect the portion of your shoulder blade to the spine as well as the portion of your shoulder blade that attaches to your neck. When maintaining this position for a long period of time it is going to result in stiffness in your neck and shoulder, cause muscle spasms, headaches and fatigue. The outcome is a condition called stretch weakness, which causes muscular imbalance.

Recommendations

Ergohuman.cornell.edu recommends that you use good body mechanics to prevent injury and pain. Gently hold the mouse instead of gripping it tightly. Keep your wrist straight and do not flick the mouse with your wrist. Situate the mouse in a good position and not too far away. Avoid putting a lot of pressure on your wrist because this can restrict circulation. Do not use a wrist rest because this increases the pressure on the carpal tunnel. Do not restrict your arm movements because this will prompt you to flick your wrist when using the mouse and this results in even more pressure on the intracarpal. Select a mouse that fits your hand but which is as flat as possible, which reduces wrist extension. Do not use a curved mouse. Instead select a symmetrically shaped one.

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