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Today’s technological innovation has brought us to a world of boundless opportunities. We benefit from countless new inventions and trends in our lifestyle and workplace.
However, we also experience some issues despite all these. Our health, for example, may be put at risk while trying to excel in some areas while keeping up with the emerging trends today.
Many jobs today focus on spending too much time on our computers including office workers and students. You might have already heard about standing desks and ergonomic chairs, which are being used in some offices today to help mitigate problems caused by too much sitting.
Another significant breakthrough is the introduction of the ergonomic mouse. It helps in promoting safety and health in the workplace. Specifically, it has proven benefits to people suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) and Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is known for affecting people whose work line 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. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs 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.
When you start to feel tingling, finger numbness, and a burning feeling in your palm, you might be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome (or CTS). These are the common symptoms of CTS. Some other people who suffer from this affliction also report that their fingers and hands feel swollen.
A person experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms 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.
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. A cyst or tumour can also cause CTS and fluid retention during the menopausal stage of pregnancy.
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 RSI, the repeated movements or the 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.
Various injuries are attributed to RSI, such as golfer’s and tennis elbow, trigger finger, carpal tunnel, and chronic pain syndrome.
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 in performing usual operations such as chopping veggies, opening the doors, and others.
Various factors can cause RSI. Some of these are as follows:
- Repeated and too prolonged 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.
Studies showed that women are thrice more at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome than men. 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 concerned. Carpal tunnel syndrome is found to be more common only in adults.
Carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injury affect people in a single industry or job only. They are also experienced in other work lines 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. For instance, take the job of those who are using vibrating tools or 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 lifestyle factors can also increase the risk of CTS and RSI. These include high salt intake, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and upper body mass index.
As previously mentioned, the line of work that requires repetitive wrist movement is the one that can lead to acquiring CTS and RSI. Included in the list are keyboarding jobs (i.e. everybody who works on a computer), construction works, assembly-line jobs, and the manufacturing industry.
Individuals employed in these lines of occupation may be at high risk of developing either RSI and CTS.
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.
Compared to the traditional computer mouse, an ergonomic mouse is more comfortable to use since it fits a more natural hand position (typically in the more natural vertical position) while being used.
The following are the benefits of using the ergonomic mouse:
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.
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 an ergonomic mouse, you will have a more comfortable experience since you can keep the forearm and hand to make the necessary movements.
The right ergonomic mouse can help your wrists and hands to imitate their natural positions instead of forcing them to use them in other positions differently.
When 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 shaped and sized in a manner that will let your wrist and hand rest in its natural position.
Ergonomic mice come with different designs and sizes. There are several types of ergonomic mouse, such as:
Of course, there are 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:
An ergonomic mouse’s build quality is one of the top factors to evaluate because this will determine how long it can 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 mouse’s fit, and other specifications. Getting an ergonomic mouse with poor quality can put you at risk of acquiring health issues.
The buttons on the mouse should be positioned in a way that they can be easily accessed. Some computer mice are designed with buttons that are 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 pull, the more you become at risk of damage and injuries. Always select the mouse that perfectly fits your hands.
A mouse might not work well 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 tendonitis from developing.
A mouse needs to be high quality and capable of tracking repetitive various movements. The way it follows and points must be smooth, precise, and seamless.
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 that are convenient.
Dealing with our jobs can sometimes be overwhelming due to potential health problems such as acquiring carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injury.
However, it’s great to know that today’s helpful innovations, such as an ergonomic mouse, standing desks, and others that can bring comfort and convenience to our workplace. We need to be aware of how to choose the best ones that will work for us.
When you become more interested in your overall health, you start looking for better options and tools to make your busy life easier to manage and more comfortable. If you have been working at your office for years feeling glued to your chair, there’s a high chance you have experienced some sort of aches and pains such as back and neck pain, wrist pain, sciatica discomfort and so on. You might have thought that it merely comes with the job, but that doesn't have to be the case.
You should feel as comfortable as possible during office hours. Remember, if you feel uncomfortable with the mouse you are using at the moment, we urge you to invest in an ergonomic one.