Keyboard and mouse can be a sickener and productivity killer. How to treat mouse arm? Or even better: How to prevent it?
What is mouse arm?
Mouse arm, also diagnosed by doctors as tennis elbow or epicondylitis, is a condition that can be very long-lasting and painful. It is triggered, among other things, by working for hours with a computer mouse. Typing on the keyboard is also one of the triggers.
Prevent mouse arm: Warning labels on keyboards
Warnings about health risks are not only found on cigarette packages. Also in the manuals of keyboards you can always read warnings like the following: "WARNING ON HEALTH RISKS: Using a keyboard or mouse can lead to serious injuries or physical disorders. …"
The keyboard manufacturer Logitech even has a multilingual PDF The website contains suggestions for healthy working methods and workplaces, as well as warnings against incorrect behavior.
Who is particularly at risk?
The warnings just mentioned are justified. The daily small repetitive movements with the hand when operating the mouse or keyboard can lead to RSI syndrome. RSI stands for "Repetitive Strain Injury" respectively "Repetitive Stress Injury".
In the USA or Australia, RSI is already recognized as an occupational disease, but this is not yet the case in Germany. But the disease does not care about that.
How to prevent mouse arm or RSI syndrome?
Variety is important. Take breaks more often, do stretches, and maybe change input devices or hands. Most mice can also be operated well with the left hand. This does require a short adjustment period where everything slows down a bit. Afterwards, however, one can operate the mouse with both hands, thus relieving the one hand that previously had to do all the mouse work.
Use other input devices
A vertical mouse can also help prevent or treat mouse arm. With conventional computer mice, the hand is turned so that the inner surface faces the floor. However, the natural posture is different. When walking, the palms of the hands face the body.
If you want to maintain this natural posture even when using the mouse, you need a vertical mouse. This can even be quite inexpensive: For starters, you don't have to spend more than ten euros on a vertical mouse. Using a trackpad as an alternative input device can also be helpful.
Various therapies for mouse arm: from massage to TENS
There are different approaches to treat mouse arm. In addition to the change of routine, manual therapy can be done to promote blood circulation to the affected areas. Thereby tendon. Starting point at the bone massaged.
If one knows only once, where one must start, this massage can be accomplished also well in between itself. If the strength in your fingers decreases too quickly, you can also use a tennis ball or a small fascia roller to help you, which you press against the wall with your arm.
Certain stretching exercises can also help, as can electrical stimulation with transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS for short) devices.
Epicondylitis bandage or brace
Another approach to therapy is the wearing of an epicondylitis bandage or brace, which is usually prescribed by a doctor. Both differ in material and design. The brace is harder and presses on a certain place on the arm, the prere can be self-regulated. The brace is pulled over the arm, as is known from other braces.
Stretching exercises and more on Youtube
If you enter the keyword epicondylitis on Youtube, a lot of videos with exercises against mouse arm are listed. The following is just one of many that exemplifies how you can help yourself if you already suffer from mouse arm.
Of course, you have to be disciplined enough to do the exercises shown regularly. And above all, one should not rely on one's own diagnosis, but if one suspects mouse arm, first go to the doctor to have him make the diagnosis.
Do not let it get this far in the first place
Of course, it is best not to let a mouse arm develop in the first place. That's why you should avoid working at the computer for too long, take breaks from time to time to do stretching exercises, and also change the hand with which you operate the mouse. All these measures can help to avoid RSI and mouse arm.