A high number of people suffer from arm pain caused by over usage of holding a mouse. In other terms, it is also referred to as mouse arms. When you experience pain from using a mouse, the attention goes directly towards CTS (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome), but another well-known injury is arm pain.
In recent studies, it has been seen that around 40% of people who sit in front of their computer with a mouse are likely to experience arm pain or mouse arm at any point in time. As per its characteristics, you may find yourself having a tingling feel, sense of heaviness, or cramping in the arms or even shoulders.
Read on to know how arm pain is caused by using a mouse, and what ways you can use to fix it:
What does the Term, ‘Mouse Arm’ Mean?
Mouse Arm is also commonly known as Mouse Shoulder is a repetitive strain injury. If you experience pain in your shoulder, arm, or wrist, while working in front of the computer, there is a high chance that you suffer from a Mouse Arm.
Since Mouse Arm is a form of repetitive strain injury, the reasons may not be limited to using a mouse but also other actions that burden the arm area with a lot to do. Mouse Arm can also happen from a pinched nerve as the causes can be different too in a way.
How does using a Mouse result in Arm Pain?
It isn’t that easy to operate a mouse and move it in every direction possible. It might look easy; however, it is a complex motor skill that comprises numerous muscle movements in the body.
When you touch the mouse to hold and move it, the operating shoulder is somehow rotated internally, an extension of your forearm takes place, while the wrist and your fingers are continuously in work to grip and move the cursor skillfully where you want to place it. Furthermore, your neck and back muscles do get activated too, which comes in as a surprise. Isn’t it?
Therefore, when you are in serious work for a long stretch of hours, the mouse usage will be at the maximum too. This leads to overstretching of the muscles in your body, even when the movements are really small. In such continuation, the stress in the muscles can turn into a pain in the forearm, neck, shoulder, leading to what’s known as Mouse Arm.
Some of the Causes of Mouse Arm (Arm Pain) are mentioned below:
- Repetitive work in front of the computer.
- While typing or clicking there is a lot of force applied.
- Having a smaller-sized mouse or not ideal for the user.
- Longer continuous hours of work with a traditional mouse.
Having arm pain due to monotonous work hours with the mouse can spell trouble. Doing different things like, clicking, typing, moving the mouse to different angles for a long stretch can put pressure and strain on the muscles and tendons.
How to Fix Your Arm Pain caused by using a Mouse:
Continuous computer work or poor ergonomics are a result of arm pain from using a mouse. Your mouse could be the deciding factor, sitting position, or something else that has resulted in pain. However, arm pain does go away with minor changes and exercises.
If the pain does seem to continue for a longer duration, it would be advisable to consult your Doctor.
Have a look at the effective treatments for arm pain that one can try –
1. Mouse Positioning needs to be closer to you –
The most imperative thing is to make sure the mouse is positioned in such a way that it is always closer to your body when in active use. This does stop you from overreaching as it causes an overload to your shoulder and operating arm.
A great way to do this is by replacing the present full-size keyboard with a 10-keyless one or even a keyboard without having the numeric pad. After choosing any one of these, keep the mouse near the keyboard. It has been proved in recent studies that having the mouse adjacent to the keyboard while in active use does reduce muscle activity in the areas that can trigger arm pain.
An alternative option is to go for a roller bar mouse. As it is situated in front of the keyboard, the long stationary bar design removes any chances of you overreaching.
2. Reduction in Forearm Pronation –
A major cause of arm pain from using a mouse is due to continuous forearm pronation. When using a traditional mouse, your palms face the desk surface, engaging, and leading to stressing of muscles in the posterior forearm.
For having a better result and avoid stressing your forearm muscles, do switch to either a pen mouse or a vertical mouse that lets you do your work in a handshake position. This is also called the neutral position as it minimizes the activity in the extensor muscles and brings about relaxation to the complete forearm.
3. Keep a check on the Sitting Posture –
Having adopted the wrong posture for sitting can be a letdown and result in pain in your arms and shoulder. When you’re actively using the mouse to move or type, the elbow must be at 90 degrees or larger open-angle.
The best way to do this is to adjust your chair for the perfect seat height.
4. Enhance the Strength-Mobility of your Arm and Shoulders –
Postural adjustments are quite cool and helpful in off your arm pain. Additionally, exercises are another helpful alternative in the prevention of arm pain and treating them right. They are amazing as they can help you avoid any kind of painful surprise all of a sudden.
By exercising and working on your muscles, your body is getting geared to take on tough tasks by sitting the right way instead of slouching or being unable to sit with an open chest after a few hours of work.
Making proper movements by exercising does enhance the mobility and strength of your arm and shoulders. This eventually protects you from having arm pain and also lets you recover at a faster rate.
Take a look at some of the solid exercises that you can do for avoiding mouse arms. Going from the shoulders, neck, and going further to your wrist.
It is recommended that you follow the below-mentioned exercises once a day:
For Shoulders & Neck:
1. Try sitting on a chair with your back placed in a neutral position with your neck being completely relaxed. The hands should be placed on the sides with the thumbs pointing in front.
2. Raise the shoulders to your ears till you feel the heat. Try holding this posture for 3-5 seconds before bringing your shoulders down slowly with ease.
1. You can either stand tall or sit straight in your chair without slouching. Make sure to distance the shoulders from your ears.
2. Slowly and steadily roll your neck in a clockwise circular position, and then an anti-clockwise circular position.
For Arms & Wrist:
Wall Triceps Stretch
1. Move the body near the wall and put your triceps arm on the wall with the elbow placed at a 90-degree angle.
2. Push your one arm that is placed against the wall slightly for about 30 seconds.
(Forearm & Extension of Wrist)
1. Try extending your arm straight at the front and the palm needs to be facing upwards.
2. Use your other hand and grip the fingers of the extended arm from below and pull it towards you.
3. Keep holding this position for about 10 seconds.
1. Rest the elbows on a table or a desk for that matter.
2. Try making a fist with your thumb being on top of the other fingers. Start to roll your wrist in the clockwise direction for 10 rounds. Once done, do the same in an anti-clockwise direction.
Arm pain by using a mouse has been a common problem among computer users. It is bound to happen to people who are continuously at work and is the root cause of the problem.
To overcome this issue, there are plenty of changes that you can do by today itself to avoid a bad surprise like arm pain. Moreover, exercises and the ideal type of massages are also the way to tackle a mouse arm.
Additionally, you can even go for manual therapy for arm pain by consulting your doctor. However, there are several treatments that we’ve mentioned above in the article that will sure shot help you out to take on your arm pain by using a mouse. Stay Fit!