Worried About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and RSI? Ergonomic Mouse to the Rescue!
Today’s technological innovation has brought us to a world of boundless opportunities. We are lucky to benefit from the comfort of new inventions and trends in our lifestyle and workplace. We keep on discovering more things that can be helpful for us.
However, we also experience some issues despite all these. One example is our health being put at risk while trying to excel in some areas while keeping up with the emerging trends today.
A lot of jobs today are done with spending so much time on the computer. There are office workers or even students who keep on doing research, typing, and encoding. You might have already heard about ergonomic chairs which are being used in various workplaces today because they help in solving problems caused by too much sitting.
Another significant breakthrough is the introduction of the ergonomic mouse. Using this kind of mouse also helps in promoting safety and health in the workplace. It has proven benefits to people who are suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) and Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is known for affecting people whose line of work deals with typing and working mostly with computers. Our carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway of bones and ligaments located at the base of the hand. In this passageway is located the median nerve as well as the tendons capable of bending the fingers. Medically described, carpal tunnel syndrome happens when the median nerve, which can be found from the forearm into the palm, becomes squeezed or forcibly pressed at the wrist.
When tendons are irritated or swollen, the lining becomes thickened and may cause the median nerve to compress. This results in weakness, numbness, or pain in the wrist and hands. Sometimes the pain and discomfort even run to the arm and forearms.
What Are The Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
When you start to feel tingling, numbness of the fingers, and a burning feeling in the palm of your hands, then you might be likely suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. These are the common symptoms of CTS. Some other people who suffer from CTS mentioned that their fingers and hands feel swollen.
A person experiencing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may suddenly wake up in the night and feel they need to shake out their wrists and hands. When not given urgent attention, patients may even experience tingling during the day. Also, grip strength is likewise affected. People suffering from CTS may find it difficult to grasp small objects or work on their usual activities. There are even worse cases where the base of the thumb may be damaged. Some patients are not able to recognize and distinguish between cold and hot by touching.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Various factors contribute to having carpal tunnel syndrome. Some of these factors include injury or trauma in the wrist, overactive pituitary gland, underactive thyroid gland, sprain, fracture, and more. Repetitive use of vibrating tools can also lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. In addition, there are cases that a cyst or tumour also cause CTS in the passageway and fluid retention during menopausal stage or pregnancy.
What Is RSI?
Repetitive Strain Injury or RSI is often deemed similar to carpal tunnel syndrome. However, RSI is described due to an overuse injury. It’s also known as Occupational Overuse Syndrome.
In the case of RSI, the repeated movements or same activities may cause damage and inflammation to the soft tissues, including the nerves and tendons. RSI is also linked to the forearm and upper limb pain.
There are also various injuries attributed to RSI such as golfer’s and tennis elbow, trigger finger, carpal tunnel, and chronic pain syndrome.
What Are The Common Symptoms Of RSI?
The following are some of the common symptoms a person with RSI may experience:
- Weakness in the forearms and hands
- Burning or shooting pain
- Lack of strength to perform even simple activities
- Cold hands and fingertips
- Difficulty to perform usual activities such as chopping veggies, opening the doors, and others.
What Causes RSI?
Various factors can cause RSI. Some of these are as follows:
- Repeated and too long time use of hands and arms
- Working too fast
- Holding the muscles in positions that are similar for a long time
- Working often in cold conditions
- Lack of knowledge and training in doing a strenuous task
- Having no variations on the types of work and activities you do
- Using equipment that does not fit your body and expertise
- Not having breaks when working
Who Are At Risk Of Getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome And RSI?
Studies showed that women are thrice more at risk to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. This is because women’s carpal tunnel is narrower and smaller than in men. The hand that is more often used in working is the one commonly affected. People with diabetes and suffering from metabolic disorders are also prone to both RSI and CTS because the body’s nerves are mainly affected. Carpal tunnel syndrome is found to be more common only in adults.
Carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injury are conditions both affecting people in a single industry or job only. They are also experienced in other lines of work such as cleaning, fishing farming, sewing, manufacturing, poultry, meat and fish packing, and others. Although we know that these are common in data entry jobs, there are studies that assemblers are the ones who are more affected.
Workplace factors are said to be the leading cause of RSI and CTS. Take, for instance, the job of those who are using vibrating tools or in the assembly line production. Their job requires repetitive flexing of the wrist for long hours. This may create pressure on the median nerve and can also make nerve damage worse.
It’s interesting to know that there are lifestyle factors that can also increase the risk of CTS and RSI. These include high salt intake, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and high body mass index.
As previously mentioned, the line of work that requires repetitive wrist movement are the ones which can lead to acquiring CTS and RSI. Included in the list are keyboarding jobs, construction works, assembly line jobs, and manufacturing industry.
Individuals who are employed in these lines of occupation may be at high risk to develop either RSI and CTS.
Ergonomic Mouse: The New Wonder of Innovation And Comfort
The idea of using ergonomic mouse may be no longer a new idea to many of us. This is now already providing benefits and comfort to a lot of people whose jobs are computer-related.
An ergonomic mouse is designed to reduce discomfort and decrease muscle strains due to various health conditions such as tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, RSI, and arthritis. As compared to the traditional computer mouse, an ergonomic mouse is more comfortable to use since it is made to fit a more natural hand position while being used.
The following are the benefits of using the ergonomic mouse:
#1 It reduces the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome and RSI.
As previously discussed, both CTS and RSI can happen due to workplace and lifestyle factors, particularly with the overuse of wrists and hands. By using an ergonomic mouse instead of the traditional ones, you can adjust the movement and position of the wrist. In that way, the pressure on the significant nerves is reduced, thus, promoting relief while working.
#2 An ergonomic mouse can aid people with arthritis.
Work can be affected when someone has arthritis in the fingers, wrists, and hands. The way to use them will be painful, challenging, and may be limited. However, with the use of an ergonomic mouse, you will have a more comfortable experience since you can keep the forearm and hand to make the necessary movements.
#3 An ergonomic mouse is designed to achieve a more natural hand-size and movement styles.
The right ergonomic mouse can help your wrists and hands to imitate their natural positions, instead of forcing to use them in other positions differently.
In choosing the best mouse, the shape and size are crucial factors to consider. Let’s say you have big hands; it’s not ideal to use a small mouse. If you do that, your wrists will be forced to work with unnatural positions resulting in damage and pains. Furthermore, the wrong size and shape of the mouse can be harmful and affect the tendons. That’s why it’s advisable to choose an ergonomic mouse that is shaped and sized in a manner that will let your wrist and hand to rest in its natural position.
Types Of Ergonomic Mice
Ergonomic mice come with different designs and sizes. There are several types of the ergonomic mouse, such as:
- Vertical mouse – this type of ergonomic mouse helps to keep your wrist and hand in a more comfortable and healthy angle. Using this mouse reduces the pressure and stress on the tendons and nerves as movements are made.
- Ambidextrous mouse – this type of ergonomic mouse works both for right-handed and left-handed people. It ensures that the arms, hands, and wrists are all appropriately angled to avoid stress and fatigue.
- Size-adjustable ergonomic mouse – this type is ideal for computers used by multiple individuals. This can be adjusted for different sizes of hands to make sure that each user will experience comfort and safety when working or playing pc games.
Tips On Buying An Ergonomic Mouse
Of course, there can be a lot of ergonomic mice available in the market nowadays. All of them are offering great features for promotion purposes. However, you need to choose the best one to make sure you can make the most of it.
Various factors need to be considered before purchasing a new ergonomic mouse. They may include but not limited to the following:
#1 Quality always comes first.
The build quality of an ergonomic mouse is one of the top factors to evaluate because this will determine how long can it be used. Not every low-cost mouse is a great choice just because you can save money. It must have excellent quality. Before purchasing, make sure to check the quality of the materials, the fit of the mouse, and other specifications. Getting an ergonomic mouse with poor quality can put you at risk of acquiring health issues in the future.
#2 The buttons should be easily accessible.
The buttons on the mouse should be positioned in a way that they can be easily accessed. Some computer mice are designed with buttons awkwardly placed, so make sure to check that. Do not purchase a mouse that you still need to stretch to reach its buttons. The more you stretch, the more you become at risk to damage and injuries. Always select the mouse that perfectly fits your hands.
#3 The wrist must be put in a comfortable and natural position.
A common problem why a mouse does not work well is when the wrist is positioned awkwardly. It should be in a natural position for some health purposes. An ergonomic mouse should be able to decrease the ulnar deviation to prevent tendinitis from developing.
#4 Tracking Capability
A mouse that has high quality and capability to track decreases the need to repeat various movements for several times. The way it tracks and points must be smooth, precise, and seamless.
#5 Power Source Capacity
The power supply for the ergonomic mouse is another consideration to check when buying one. You can select between wired and wireless mouse, evaluating all the features they can offer. If you prefer to use a wireless mouse, you need to check the battery specs and which is the most convenient for you to use.
Dealing with our jobs can be sometimes overwhelming due to some issues such as acquiring carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injury. However, it’s great to know that there are innovations today, such as an ergonomic mouse, standing desks, and others that can still bring comfort and convenience to our workplace. We need to be aware of how to choose the best ones that will work for us.