The following situation most likely has happened more than once in your career—you’re sitting at your work station, using the mouse to direct the mouse pointer on the screen. And then all of a sudden, you feel discomfort or pain in your hand or wrist and had to let go of the mouse to recuperate.
If you’ve always wondered why it happens to you, the first thing to know is that you are not alone—this problem actually does happen to a lot of people who use computers on a regular basis. The use of a mouse in the workplace setting involves also using the keyboard at the same time. It follows that using a mouse regularly involves a combination of stationary positions as well as small, repetitive movements of a number of small muscles over extended periods. This combination leads to pain and discomfort, and eventually, WMSDs or Workplace Musculoskeletal Disorders.
You may have noticed that the longer and more regular your use of the typical computer mouse, the more likely you are to experience this pain and discomfort on the top part of the hand or the back of it. You may have also noticed that the pain and some discomfort also occur on other parts of your body.
On the hand, tingling and numbness can occur in both your index finger and thumb. The wrist, forearm, and elbow can also ache and feel sore the longer you have been using a computer mouse.
Burning and stiffness can occur in the parts of the body mentioned above if one’s work life is centered on the computer mouse.
In worst cases, formulation of painful nodules, which lead to ganglion cysts, can occur around joints and along tendons.
Still, these are not the only reasons why the use of the ordinary computer mouse has become a hazard. Below are more of them.
The mouse’s typical placement makes it quite awkward to reach. The reason for this placement is the fact that workstations can only have so much space. The keyboard sits right in front of whoever uses the computer and forces the mouse to the upper right of the keyboard. A compact keyboard which is a keyboard without a numeric keypad will help bring the mouse in to a more central position but that is a conversation for another day.
Using a mouse that’s set beside the keyboard whilst leaning on the back of a chair can strain the elbow, and this strain can force a user to lean forward and stay in that position unsupported. This position transfers the strain on the elbow to the upper back muscles and shoulder. Therefore, it’s safe to say that the regular use of a mouse for long periods of time can cause discomfort and pain on the neck and shoulder areas as well.
What are ways to fix this problem?
Unfortunately, designing a workstation that allows one to use both keyboard and mouse at the same time without any problems is very difficult, if not outright impossible. Fortunately, one does not really need to use a mouse—at least not the ordinary kind of mouse.
Enter the Evoluent Vertical Mouse, an ergonomic mouse designed with the wrist and forearm’s natural resting position—the ‘thumbs-up’ position—in mind. This design allows for decreased use of the muscles on both wrist and forearm since arm twisting is no longer needed to be able to use it. This, in turn, prevents strain on these and other parts of the arm. It also prevents compression on wrist soft tissue, as it lets a wrist stay in its natural position whilst the mouse is moved with the arm’s bigger muscles.