Learn about 5 wrist discomfort tips using your mouse and what you can do to help. The last thing you want is to have your wrists hurt while you are working hard. Let’s face it, office work can be difficult. Pressure from bosses, never-ending emails, and looming due-dates can add to frustration and stress. Not to mention the physical pain work can bring, yes that’s correct, physical. “Work activities which are frequent and repetitive, or activities with awkward postures cause” work musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs.
Although office work can be a pain, mousing should not be.
What Are MSDs:
According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, MSDs are best described “as a group of painful disorders of muscles, tendons, and nerves. Some examples of MSDs include: “carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, thoracic outlet syndrome, and tension neck syndrome” caused by computer use. What’s interesting is because most work requires the use of hands and arms, most MSDs affect hands, wrists, necks, and shoulder.
Since MSDs don’t occur overnight, we’ll be narrowing down on how to use your mouse to avoid discomfort thus preventing long term injury. See the CCOHS article on work-related musculoskeletal disorders for reference.
5 Tips to Prevent Wrist Discomfort While Using a Mouse:
Tip 1: Get yourself an ergonomic mouse.
Traditional mice aren’t shaped in a way that allows your wrist a natural position. Because a traditional mouse’s buttons point upward, the user has to twist their wrist to grip the mouse and fit fingers over buttons. Having your wrist in an unnatural position for hours throughout the day may be causing pain or discomfort. Luckily, there are plenty of ergonomic mice that are shaped vertically, so rather than the buttons pointing upward, they point to the side allowing your hand to fit more naturally while still having all features of a traditional mouse. This alone may stop a lot of the discomfort being felt. There are many different types of mice. One of the most commonly recommended mice for repetitive mousing is the vertical mouse. Recommended vertical mice include the R-Go Vertical mouse.
Tip 2: Proper mouse positioning
Maybe the mouse you’re using isn’t the problem, perhaps it’s where you’re using your mouse at your workstation. Your mouse should be to the right of your keyboard, so you’re not reaching out for it. This allows your elbow to remain to the side of your body which will enable a proper angle for your wrist. Your hand should be straight when gripping your mouse without bending at the wrist. Reference Common Mouse – Common Problems from Use article.
Tip 3: Wrist positioning
The angle or positioning of your wrist is as important as the placement of your mouse. The proper way to sit when working at a desk, with regards to your wrist, is your shoulder relaxed, elbow at your side and wrist slightly lower than your elbow. You can achieve this position by adjusting your chair to the appropriate height. The idea of this position is to give your arm the least amount of workload necessary to accomplish the task at hand, in this case, using a mouse.
Tip 4: Avoid pressure
Now that you’re positioning is all checked out, avoid adding unnecessary pressure to your wrist. It’s hard to notice when going about your day, but you may be squeezing your mouse, putting pressure on your wrist, or coming into contact with a hard surface, causing discomfort. Place pressure on the palm and move the mouse using your hand rather than putting pressure on the wrist and moving the mouse by twisting your wrist.
Tip 5: Take it easy
So you have a fancy new mouse, and your body is properly positioned, and you’re putting pressure in the right places. All that’s left to do is… rest! If you’re not using your mouse, rest. Stretch your wrists, arms, shoulders, anything that may be sore or creating discomfort. Consider changing your routine, if you have multiple tasks to accomplish, mix them in with your keyboard/mouse work. Take some phone calls, file paperwork, water the plants if you have nothing else. Just allow yourself a break from being in one position.
The last thing you want to worry about when working is pain or discomfort. You need all your resources to get the objectives of the day done. These tips help keep yourself comfortable and avoid long term injury. Unfortunately, these tips are not the end-all-be-all for discomfort and chronic symptoms may be indicative of MSDs described earlier. The goal is to avoid being in that position, to begin with. Use resources around you and simple fixes to allow more comfort and in turn, more productivity.