Wrist pains, such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), are common repetitive injuries related to poor mouse ergonomics. However, there is another repetitive injury that does not get mentioned as much but also affects many individuals – the mouse arm, which is diagnosed as its cramping, sense of heaviness, or tingling sensation from the shoulder to the forearm.
In this article, we will explore how using a mouse wrongly can result in arm pain and how you can prevent and fix this repetitive injury.
What is a mouse arm?
Mouse arm, sometimes called mouse arm syndrome or mouse shoulder, is an umbrella term that is used to describe the pain and discomfort experienced in the affected arm and shoulder due to overuse of the computer mouse.
How using a computer mouse can result in a mouse arm?
Using a computer mouse requires complex fine motor skills that require several muscles in our body. As you grip and manoeuvre the mouse, your operating forearms, shoulder, wrist, and fingers constantly rotate, extend, manoeuvre, and grip, respectively. Your neck and back muscles, such as the levator scapulae and rhomboids, are also activated.
No matter how little these muscles move, as long as they are being used repetitively, they become overstretched, resulting in the build-up of stress that leads to pain in those areas, causing mouse arm.
How to ergonomically fix or prevent mouse arm?
Most of the time, arm pain from the repetitive use of the computer mouse will disappear naturally with exercise and proper ergonomic adjustments. However, if the pain persists for a couple of weeks despite such intervention, you should visit a doctor.
Nevertheless, these are some ergonomic adjustments that you might want to try.
1. Repositioning the mouse nearer to you
Mouse arm usually affects the forearm, which, when constantly overreached, overloads your operating shoulder and arm, resulting in arm pain. Hence, the first thing to consider is repositioning the mouse nearer to you.
One step you can also take to help you reposition the mouse better is to replace your full-size keyboard with one that does not have an extra numeric pad. Studies have shown that decreased muscle activity in the affected regions can reduce arm pain significantly.
2. Reduce forearm pronation
While using a typical computer mouse, our palm faces flat onto our desks. This “unnatural” position is called forearm pronation, which engages our posterior forearm. As a result of it being engaged over time, the build-up of stress in the extensor muscles results in arm pain.
You might want to consider switching to an ergonomic mouse that encourages a natural handshake position. Such mice help to reduce forearm pronation, relaxing the extensors muscles, which leads to less arm pain.
3. Adjust your sitting posture
A lack of proper sitting posture leads to discomfort and pain in your arms and shoulders. When using your mouse and keyboard, ensure that your elbow is always at 90 degrees or more. One good way to achieve so is to adjust your chair to the appropriate height. If you are not using an adjustable chair, you might want to consider switching your current seating arrangement to an ergonomic chair or an adjustable study table, both of which can be found at our furniture shops in Ubi.
4. Improve strength and mobility of your shoulders and arms
Beyond adjusting some of your sitting and usage postures, exercise is effective in preventing and treating arm pain. The exercises mentioned below will help to improve the strength and mobility of your shoulders and arms, which will help to boost your recovery and protect your shoulders and arms from future injuries. You are recommended to do them once daily.
For the shoulders and neck
- Shoulders shrug: First, sit on a chair in a relaxed, neutral position. Then place your hands at your sides with your thumbs pointing forward. Once done, raise your shoulders up until tensed and hold them up there for five seconds before relaxing them. Repeat a couple of times.
For the chest
- Chest opener: In a standing or sitting position, bring your hands towards the back of your head, opening your elbows as wide as possible. Then, take a deep breath while looking up and pushing your chest forward at the same time. While you exhale, round your upper back and push your elbows towards one another.
For the wrists and arms
- Wrist and forearm extension: Extend one arm straight in front, palm facing up. Using the other hand, grip from underneath the fingers on the extended arm and pull them towards you for 10 seconds. Repeat for the other arm.
Adopting the right posture is vital in preventing any repetitive injury. Whether you are studying, working, or playing computer games, ensuring that you always maintain good ergonomics when using your keyboard and mouse is vital.
If you are looking for products that help you achieve good ergonomics, then look no further at TakeAseat. We offer a wide range of ergonomic products, from chairs to tables and keyboards. For more information, you may reach us at https://www.takeaseat.sg/ today!