Mouse arm (RSI syndrome) – What happens when every click hurts??For each
Mouse click passes through the Pain your arm, sometimes extending into Shoulder and neck? What started with a slight tingling sensation and got better during breaks, now finally makes PC work a burden? You are not alone: the so-called "mouse arm" plagues many people at the 18 million office workplaces in Germany.
Such mouse arm, or RSI syndrome, is caused by a constant overload when working with computer mouse and keyboard. Countless movements repeated daily eventually add up to pain. But the diagnosis is difficult, the causes often unclear and chances of recovery are often considered low.
Not so with us: We explain to you what is really behind your complaints and how you can relieve them with a few simple steps Exercises Get your pain-free life back.
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1. Short& short: What is mouse arm?
"In the office, no one breaks!Anyone who works at a computer is familiar with the prejudice: "The physical strain is low, why should you have any pain?? The numbers say otherwise: Two-thirds of office workers complain of movement pain at the computer screen. And the mouse arm knows many of them: The combination of one-sided movement patterns, unnatural posture and stress often ends in the pain.
"Mouse arm" or "mouse hand" is the colloquial term for work-related complaints and Pain in the upper extremities. They are triggered by thousands of repetitive stresses at the computer workstation, such as the mouse clicks or keyboard taps that give them their name. Since office workers often suffer from mouse arm and women are affected more often than men, it is also called "secretary's disease". The technical term is "Repetitive Strain Injury", short: RSI syndrome.
1.1 RSI: One term, many complaints
The RSI syndrome is a Collective term for various complaints in the area of the arms and hands. The layman's term "mouse arm" therefore falls short: the pain does not always occur only in the forearm, but often also in the hands, fingers, wrists and elbows. The neck, shoulder and back are also occasionally affected.
That is why it is important, but often difficult, to find out whether mouse arm is a specific disease. Carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis cause similar symptoms.
1.2 Mouse arm is still not an occupational disease
Despite the many cases, RSI syndrome is not yet a recognized occupational disease in Germany – unlike, for example, in the U.S., Australia or the Netherlands, where it is actually quite high on the list. 1) And since the complaints usually remain "unspecific", effective treatment approaches are often missing. The pain through ergonomic measures prevention at the workplace is often the only approach, which is not always promising. Download our free PDF guide against mouse arm now. Start directly with the best exercises for a pain-free life!
2. Diagnosis: How to diagnose mouse arm?
For a long time, experts have been discussing the RSI syndrome controversially. A reason: Standards for a clinical diagnosis are still missing. 3) As good as all upper extremity pain can be caused by repeated overloading due to one-sided activities. Therefore, it is not always clear whether a specific clinical picture is present and what is causing the pain. 4)
In the following you will learn the Most common diagnostic procedures for the RSI syndrome know.
2.1. The anamnesis is the medical questioning of the patient. analysis of his medical history. It establishes the most common diagnostic tool for occupational arm pain. Above all, the occupational activity and the working environment are taken into closer consideration:
– Since when is the repetitive activity already performed? – How many cycles of movement occur per hour? – How long at a stretch is the movement sequence performed? – How many work interruptions there are? Lying posture-. Movement abnormalities before? – Which tools are used? – Are there indications of stress factors or other psychological influences??
Sometimes it is useful to have the patient demonstrate a typical work situation so that the doctor can assess symptom development and ergonomics.
2.2. Imaging procedures
Permanent stress can cause anatomical damage, which can be identified by means of the X-ray and MRI scann determines. If such injuries are present, the complaints can be assigned to a specific clinical picture. If a carpal tunnel syndrome is suspected, an imaging Neurography Information: the doctor measures the nerve conduction velocity. Tendonitis is diagnosed, among other things, per Ultrasound detected. In the case of mouse arm, however, imaging procedures often provide no or few findings. 5)
2.3. Differential diagnosis
With a differential diagnosis, the doctor tries to distinguish the symptoms from other diseases with similar symptoms (such as carpal tunnel syndrome). This can be done via the imaging methods listed or also via the symptoms described in the course of the anamnesis. Lying down other movement pain like walking problems, a diagnosis of RSI is rather improbable. Do you suffer from Pain all over the body, this could possibly indicate fibromyalgia 6) or soft tie rheumatism. Download our free PDF guide to mouse arm now. Start right away with the best exercises for a pain-free life!
3. symptoms& Causes of mouse arm
3.1 Typical symptoms
As mentioned, the history is the most important diagnostic procedure to determine an RSI syndrome. The symptoms described play a decisive role. Does your mouse arm or hand become noticeable while clicking and scrolling through this article? Then some of the following symptoms known to occur. There can also be several at the same time:
– Pain in the upper extremities (while moving and/or at rest), – Tingling and discomfort in the hand and forearm, – Loss of strength, – Limited range of motion/stiffness, – Sensory loss/numbness, – Clumsiness and loss of motor coordination, – Swelling, – Cramping, – Skin discoloration.
Please note, that there could be many other causes for your symptoms besides RSI syndrome. For example, tingling hands are typical of mouse arm, but there could be something else behind it. And general Pain conditions such as hand pain or shoulder pain are definitely RSI-related, but can be attributed to a variety of causes.
3.2 Stages of development of mouse arm
The RSI syndrome usually goes through different stages. This is a good way to tell how far your discomfort has progressed:
The discomfort first manifests itself as Abnormal sensations and loss of strength in hand and forearm. At first you feel them only during your work with computer mouse and keyboard, but during breaks or after work they quickly subside ("after-work symptomatology").
After several months or years of unilateral activity, develop Pain that persists despite unloading persist. During longer breaks (e.g. vacation), the pain subsides, but resumes very quickly in the usual form after resumption of activity.
If you perform the stressful movements and activities more than five years in high frequency (up to 80.000 keyboard strokes per day, combined with poor posture and stress), the likelihood of a persistent pain condition very high. The pain now occurs even during rest breaks and with minor stress (for example, operating the steering wheel in the car, ironing, holding a coffee cup). Conventionally, the pain is then described as chronic classified.
3.3 Is this mouse arm or something else??
If you suffer from mouse arm pain, you have probably wondered whether a certain medical condition is behind it, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendovaginitis. In fact, these and other pain conditions are similar to mouse arm in their symptomatology and can also be triggered by repetitive motions. Here is a brief overview of which complaints may be considered:
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– carpal tunnel syndrome, , – tendonitis, ("tennis elbow"), , – rotator cuff injuries, or ("ganglion").
The RSI mechanism (for example, frequent work with a computer mouse) can be a reason for these complaints. Therefore, the vernacular sometimes refers to these conditions as "mouse arm". To find out what is causing your pain, however, it is also important to differentiate between specific and non-specific conditions important. We'll explain what it's all about.
Reading Tip: An RSI syndrome can cause a variety of complaints in the hand and arm area. The pain can also occur for other reasons. If you want to learn more about it, we recommend you read our encyclopedia article on hand pain, which deals with it in more detail.
3.4 Two types of RSI complaints
Conventional medicine distinguishes
specific RSI conditions from unspecific RSI conditions. But what exactly does it mean?
Specific thinks that the symptoms belong to a clear clinical picture can be assigned, for example, to one of the conditions listed above. This happens when anatomical changes are detected during your examination – in carpal tunnel syndrome, for example, this is a Prere damage of the metacarpal nerve. Such structural damage is determined by imaging techniques. If the doctor finds something wrong with it, it can be an indication of a specific disease.
At non-specific RSI conditions the examination does not bring such a physical finding. So there will be hardly any or no damage of tendons or tie in the affected area. Then the complaints cannot be assigned to a specific clinical picture and remain unspecific.
Noteworthy: Only about 10 percent of RSI complaints yield physical findings and are thus specific! 7)
The majority of sufferers are therefore faced with a major mystery and wonder what is causing the pain. Are you also like this? Then we will now tell you how conventional medicine explains the development of mouse arm or mouse hand, and what is often overlooked from our perspective in the process.
3.5 How does mouse arm develop??
Another reason why RSI syndrome is one of the most controversial topics in conventional medicine is the question of its cause. Because "the one" cause does not exist. As you have already experienced, there is a whole range of diseases in the hand-arm area that are triggered by repetitive strain. Sometimes physical changes are found, but Often the examinations remain inconclusive and the cause of pain thus unexplained.
The "repetitive" in RSI already says that RSI pain is mainly due to overloads caused by constantly repeated movements go back. for example:
– overuse in sports (as in tennis elbow or golfer's elbow) or – frequent small, work-related stresses over a long period of time (as in mouse arm). In the case of mouse arm, the one-sided strain on fingers caused by mouse clicks leads to the pain. keyboard strokes over time to your discomfort. If you have finger pain, it can also indicate mouse arm, but the pain usually occurs in the fingers Muscles and tendons that move the fingers. 9)
These tendons originate at the elbow and bridge the entire forearm, which is why the complaints often occur here.
The critical value: If you use your fingers for a period of more than five years about 200 times a minute The same movement run the risk of developing a painful mouse arm. 10)
The decisive factor is therefore not the amount of force exerted during the movement, but the enormous frequency of movement! 11)
Cell phone arm, iPad shoulder, Nintendo thumb: The vernacular knows many whimsical names for the pain that results from repetitive strain when using everyday devices. They are also often triggered by the RSI mechanism. Through intensive
Cell phone use (constant wiping with the thumb) or controllers on game consoles are many children and adolescents affected. In the video Roland shows you some exercises that could help you and your child directly.
3.6 Why does mouse arm become "chronic"??
According to conventional medicine, the pain is caused by constant damage to collagen fibers. But why do the complaints persist in an advanced stage even if the affected person does not perform their activity for a long time?? Conventional medicine performs the aufs Pain memory back.
According to this, the brain links the following after some time Exercise with pain. Then "virtual pain stimuli" lead to pain as soon as a movement is performed that only resembles the strain – even if the tie of the affected person is completely repaired after a long break. 12)
Conventional medicine therefore attributes chronic pain to Hardly any chance of recovery. But our years of experience show that they are often simply not treated properly. With our exercises we have already been able to help many patients with supposedly chronic pain. A crucial cause of mouse arm pain is namely often misjudged.
3.7 This cause explains the pain
Many people experience a series of disappointments when searching for the cause of their mouse arm pain. Did it happen to you too? This can be devastating. Especially when the pain was classified as nonspecific and a precise explanation of how it actually comes about and what therapeutic approaches might help was lacking.
Shocking: In the 1980s, there were cases in Australia in which office workers with non-specific arm pain were accused of fraud: They were only malingerers who wanted to collect pain compensation from their employers! 13)
This is what really causes your pain
If you suffer from non-specific RSI pain, we can put your mind at ease: Of course your complaints have a cause and we will now explain to you what they are. There's even something you can do for the pain yourself: Just look in our exercise chapter, with which exercises you have the best chance to soon be free of pain.
Our decades of experience in pain therapy show: In most cases, it is not injuries to tie or tendons that cause the pain, but rather extreme tension in the muscles and fasciae. Think about what happens when you work for hours on the mouse and keyboard:
By constantly clicking the computer mouse and typing on the keyboard, the flexor muscles on the inside of your arm are constantly activated, while their counterpart, the arm extensor, experiences no strain at all. The result: Your Muscles and fascia adapt to the monotonous movement pattern and become completely unyielding. If they were previously elastic and allowed you a wide range of movement, they now resemble a wool sweater that has been washed too hot: tense, hardened and inflexible. As a result, the metabolism around your wrist comes to a standstill, Inflammations arise and the mobility decreases.
When one side slackens, the other has to work all the harder: The resulting Tension then literally tug at your wrist, tendons and cartilage. If the tensions are too great, the joint surfaces press against each other so strongly that it results in Inflammations and swellings of the tendons or tendon sheaths comes.
Your pain is a warning!
The pain you feel is a Warning signal from your body before the described overstress. With Liebscher& Bracht we therefore speak of a "Alarm pain". That your examinations remain without physical findings is irrelevant: When the tension is there, the body also warns about it. So to speak a painful hint with the fence post to rethink your movement habits.
The alarm pain receptors are located at 72 bone points
The pain therapy according to Liebscher& Bracht
Our therapy therefore targets the receptors that cause the alarm pain. In more than 25 years of development, we have been able to identify 72 such points on the human body, which we can use to detect pain by means of a special prere technique, the Osteoprere, significantly. Thereby we practice prere on the bone points that are related to the particular pain origin in the brain.
The decisive factor is the prere intensity: We pay close attention to the fact that the pain triggered by the prere is just within the comfort zone. This is the ideal prere, so that the pain states switched on in the brain can come down to a normal level. Tensions are released and the patient's mobility noticeably increases.
In addition to osteoprere, we also put Stretching exercises, which make the muscular-fascial tie more elastic again, as well as special fascia rolling massages, which stimulate the repair of matted fascia tie. For this purpose we have developed our own fascia set, the especially for the needs of pain patients is coordinated.
Our therapy sees itself as "helping you to help yourself". That's why you can watch our exercise videos for free on our YouTube channel. Treat yourself with the aids from our online store. You can find the right video for your mouse arm pain in the treatment chapter. Download now our free PDF guide against mouse arm. Start directly with the best exercises for a pain-free life!
4. Other influences on mouse arm
As you can see, there are mainly Overvoltage in muscles and fasciae, that trigger your pain – the result of years of one-sided movement patterns. But there are also other factors, which play an important role in the development of mouse arm.
4.1. Ergonomic factors
Poor sitting posture, rigid motion sequences, one-sided loads: Working at the computer can be a real torture for your body. Did you know that 60 percent the Europeans under suffer from occupational pain in the musculoskeletal system? 14) No wonder!
The conditions at your workplace and the exact design of your job are therefore among the most important factors influencing the development of RSI syndrome. The following points have a negative impact: 15)
– unergonomic movement of forearm, fingers and neck – one-sided strain – high frequency of movement (up to 80.000 keystrokes/day)
– rigid posture – bending wrists – constant extreme position of the cervical spine (hyperextension, vulture neck)
– unergonomic arrangement of equipment and furniture (for example, table or monitor set too high or low) – unergonomic furniture and equipment – height difference between keyboard and elbow – problematic monitor height – screen reflections
– unergonomic break design – many routine tasks – many overtime hours – time prere and high work speed – no relieving mixed work
With which aids and simple tricks you can improve the ergonomics at your workplace partly on your own, you will find out in the treatment chapter.
4. Tension in the body on. Favors the development of mouse arm. 16) This is precisely why RSI syndrome is so widespread among office workers.
The work on your desk piles up, the boss looks critically at the clock and you become increasingly tense. Sure: Time and deadline prere are a permanent strain on the whole body. Your sitting posture becomes even more cramped than it already is, even ergonomic aids cannot completely compensate for this. If you then still look Highly concentrated the screen for a longer period of time and you are strong competitive prere the tension does not drop off at some point, even after work.
All of these factors can lower self-esteem alarmingly, and thereby trigger a vicious circleThe pain you feel increasingly limits your performance, which is why you become more and more dissatisfied with yourself and your performance. You should take the influence of such mental stress on your pain condition seriously!
Beware! Download our free PDF guide to mouse arm now. Start directly with the best exercises for a pain-free life!
5. Mouse arm treatment and exercises for the office
As you could see, having mouse arm doesn't give you an easy standing: The causes of pain are not always clearly identifiable and maybe you too came home disappointed from one or the other examination with "unspecific complaints.
Possibly you have then made the experience that the conventional therapy measures do not have the desired effect show. We tell you why this is the case and what you should definitely try instead! First, however, we take a look at the common forms of therapy.
5.1 The conventional methods of treatment
Once the mouse arm discomfort is there, the conventional medicine often helpless. Prevention is therefore one of the most important therapeutic measures. If you work a lot on the computer, you should always, but at the latest at the first signs, take a ergonomic design of the workplace pay attention. Because a cramped posture due to an bad sitting position and unfavorable hand posture can aggravate the pain. There are some ergonomic aids you can try:
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– ergonomic office chair (height-adjustable, swiveling and with armrests), – ergonomic keyboard (V-shaped for unrestrained posture of the arm), – ergonomic mouse (e.g. roller mouse or roller bar), – screen with adjustable viewing angle.
Have you ever tried a rolling bar mouse? Many people find it very difficult to switch to it. Our advice: search the internet for "ergonomic computer mouse. There are lots of models and maybe you'll find one that's easier to get used to! Many offers include an ergonomic mouse and keyboard in one package. Reduction of permanent stress. prere to perform.
Already knew? According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers are even obliged to take measures to prevent work-related health hazards. 17) Nevertheless: The purchase of ergonomic aids. Implementation of company measures is sometimes not easily possible. Often employees. Employers disagree on this. Therefore, here are a few more points that you can implement for yourself:
– Typing in the ten-finger system: This distributes the load to all fingers, – Reduce typing speed in the meantime, – Use short-cuts on the keyboard rather than the mouse, – Pay attention to hand position: Take your hands off the input device whenever possible, and – Do not lean back when using the mouse (distance to the mouse increases the strain).
Tip for typing: To distribute the load on the fingers evenly, we can recommend from our own experience to write with the ten-finger system at the keyboard. On the Internet, you can find all kinds of free online courses to learn the writing system. Just consult the search engine of your confidence!
It is difficult to assess the effect of preventive measures. Clear:
If the pain is already present, all the ergonomics won't help anymore.
Hand and physiotherapy
Various physiotherapeutic approaches are common in the treatment of RSI pain. These include:
– symptom reduction through heat and cold therapy, – remobilizing measures (stretching of muscles, gymnastics), – muscular relaxation methods (progressive muscle relaxation, Feldenkrais Technique, Alexander Technique), or – light strength training
In addition, a motor training can be used to gradually change habits with years of misalignment and one-sided movement patterns. In some cases it also proved Acupuncture As effective. 18)
However, some of the measures listed show that they are often just relieve the symptoms in the short term and not eliminate the discomfort in the long term, because they are Do not eliminate causes. 19)
We advise against it ..
… to cure the painful limbs by immobilizing them (for example with a plaster cast or tape). Because: No exercise is just as harmful as over-exercising! The cellular repair processes of your muscles and fascia only function smoothly if they are also loaded. However, the load should be balanced.
About the negative influences of psychological factors in the workplace such as Stress or Prere to perform you have already read. The impact should be taken seriously, because in fact RSI sufferers are common Particularly ambitious and performance-oriented. 20) Depending on how strong the psychological factors are, provide Psychotherapies a possible treatment approach.
Sufferers reflect thereby for example their self-esteem and their demand for performance. However, psychotherapeutic treatment can also Depression Preventing the potential for performance loss due to the illness. Coming to terms with your current or past life circumstances often helps with pain management. 21)
Treatment with drugs
In the case of very severe pain, medication may be administered. possible are pain and rheumatism medicines, anti-inflammatory cortisone injections or antidepressants.
© Zadorozhnyi Viktor | shutterstock.com
Besides the risk of addiction, there is a risk that taking such medications can make the symptoms worse relieve for a short time, but do not cure in the long run. 22) In the course of their short-term freedom from pain, those affected then continue the stressful movements regardless and thus do not change anything about the real causes. The result: the discomfort may even worsen in the long run.
Our Tip: Try first whether you can clear your pain with our exercises in a natural way,
before you resort to medication!
In some cases of RSI syndrome surgical intervention is recommended. This applies, for example, to severe courses of carpal tunnel syndrome, in which there is damage to the nerve.
Often, after surgery, sufferers report only Short-term improvements and in the long term have to fight again with the old suffering. 23) As you've also learned, most RSI complaints involve moving the not noticed any physical changes, which is why there is no basis for surgery.
In any case, we strongly advise you to try our exercises before deciding to undergo surgery. Chances are good that they will help you!
5.2 Mouse arm – these exercises really help
It's time to get rid of your pain. And you can even do it yourself! In the following we will show you a few simple exercises that will help you to relieve the tension in the muscles and fasciae of your mouse arm. All you need for this is a little bit of motivation: because sticking with it is crucial! Especially if the stresses go back to many years of office work, the tension in the muscles and fascia can be so strong that it takes several weeks or months for the exercises to take effect. But our experience shows: If you stick with it long enough, you almost always notice an improvement!
You will get two stretching exercises that you can easily do in the office. They are designed so that you can joints of your hand back into new angles of motion to make full use of the natural movement possibilities of the tie. In our free guide to mouse arm you will also find two fascia rolling massages. They promote the regeneration of your fasciae. Crank the metabolism in the overstretched tie so correctly on.
You have no experience with our exercises yet ..
… then take a look at the checklist below the exercise description. These are important tips to help you on your way to a pain-free life.
You already have a solid diagnosis ..
… and you know that behind your pain Carpal tunnel syndrome or epicondylitis is? Even then you can help yourself. Our special exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome. The tennis elbow are probably just right for you!
Watch the video with the exercises for your mouse arm now:
Exercise 1: In the twinkling of an eye on the desk
Stand in front of your desk and place your right hand on the tabletop, rotating it 180 degrees so that your fingertips point toward your right leg. It is important to fully extend the elbow during the entire exercise.
In this position, move further and further back, keeping your wrist on the tabletop throughout. The angle between the upper arm. The carpus becomes smaller in the process. When you notice that you are reaching level eight or nine on your pain scale, breathe yourself into the exercise: hold the position while inhaling and intensify the stretch for a few seconds while exhaling, when the pain begins to subside.
Exercise 2: Show your fist to the pain
Now turn your hand and rest it on the table top with the back of your hand. As in exercise one, the fingertips point in the direction of your leg, leaving the elbow extended throughout. Then place your thumb in the palm of your hand and make a fist. Reinforce the stretch by placing your other hand over your fist.
Now go back slowly. Important: Make sure to keep the elbow extended throughout to maintain the stretch! You might find this difficult at first. Requires some practice at first. Now breathe yourself into the exercise: on the inhale you pause in the position for a second or two, on the exhale you can try a more intense stretch..
After exercise, your wrist tingles or feels numb and immobile? Don't worry, that's perfectly normal! The feeling is quickly replaced by a pleasant one. Painless hand movement replaced . You speed up this process if you shake your wrist vigorously after completing the exercise.