Pain can be caused by repetitive motion. One of the most repetitive actions, for example, is using a mouse to operate our computers. Even if these little, precise movements appear insignificant, they could be causing injury to your fingers, hands, arm, elbow, neck, and shoulder.

Many people believe that repetitive strain injury (RSI) can only be caused by heavy loads and power equipment used in manual labor, however, any repetitive movement can cause discomfort, swelling, and numbness.

These symptoms may indicate that you have one of these frequent computer-exacerbated injuries.

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome is a significant hand and wrist ailment. The carpal tunnel is a small conduit through which swelling in the hand and wrist can compress the median nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome is frequent in office workers and may necessitate surgical intervention to restore nerve damage in the affected area;
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, however it affects nerves in the elbow rather than the wrist;
  • Tendonitis is another RSI. It is an inflammation of the tendons in your wrist and hand. Tendonitis may appear to be a minor condition, but it can be a severe, repeated strain injury. It can be severe enough that physical therapy for the affected upper body part is required;
  • The most prevalent cause of wrist pain from mouse use is muscular fatigue. Many people are astonished at how difficult it can be to continue using their hands when their muscles become too weary from frequent movement. This condition might be mistaken for carpal tunnel syndrome, so if you don't feel better after a few days of rest, contact your doctor for a physical check.

Can Repetitive Strain Injury Be Inherited?

Although most RSIs are not heritable, genetic factors such as autoimmune illnesses and musculoskeletal abnormalities might aggravate a repetitive motion disorder such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Consult with your doctor about your medical history to see if you are at risk for a repetitive strain injury.

Most repetitive strain injuries are caused by activities that you engage in on a regular basis. For example, lateral epicondylitis, sometimes known as tennis elbow, is a type of RSI that affects the tendons that allow your wrist to flex away from your palm. Tennis elbow, as the name implies, is frequent among tennis players.

However, medial epicondylitis is more common among golfers and baseball players and damages the nerves that bend the wrist toward the elbow.

What Can You Do to Avoid Mouse Wrist Pain?

You may avoid problems with your hands and wrists. If you spend a lot of time on the computer, consider ergonomics. It is far easier to avoid a repetitive strain injury than it is to treat it.

  • Purchase an ergonomic mouse. Many companies develop computer mice expressly to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. You can control your computer with a joystick or a mouse that fits the shape of your hands;
  • Stretching exercises should be done before work and during the day. Pain from repetition can be avoided with proper stretching, especially if you work for lengthy periods of time;
  • Wearing hand braces at night can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive strain injuries by preventing pressure on the median nerve while you sleep;
  • Examine the positioning of your equipment and the surroundings in which you work. For example, bending your wrist causes increasing strain over time, which can develop to carpal tunnel syndrome;
  • If your office makes it difficult to maintain good posture, talk to your boss about replacing your computer keyboard and mouse, as well as your desk.

The Bottom Line

Using a computer mouse on a regular basis can quickly lead to muscle tiredness. Proper equipment, good posture, and stretching are all excellent strategies to alleviate pain.

If you have demonstrable symptoms of an RSI, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, the first step is to rest the affected body part before seeking medical counsel.