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Old 01-29-2009, 10:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Arm/shoulder pain with mouse usage

For about 6-8 weeks now, I have been having some increasing discomfort in my upper arm/side of shoulder when using my computer mouse.

My arms are resting either on my armrests or on the desk. My mouse is next to my keyboard.

However, when I reach for the mouse and outstretch the arm, it aches?

My wrists are fine and typing is fine (although I do feel it slightly when I type).

Any ideas what this is? Any types of therapy I can do myself to strengthen or help reduce the discomfort?

A friend suggested a nice trackball so that my arm doesn't have to move.

Thanks,

Q
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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It could be in your neck. I aggravated a nerve in my neck and what started as a minor annoyance got to be so bad that I couldn't raise my left arm up onto the desk. A good Chiro fixed me up.
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:48 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Looks like youll have to have a few days away from LT lol whilst you rest it up, im sure a few days of rest should solve the problem, or maybe you slept on it funny
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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My wife had the same problem. She ended up going to physical therapy for a few weeks, but they gave her some simple exercises to do at home. Now when she feels it coming on, she does the exercises and in a few days the problem is gone. However, since she started doing yoga a year ago a couple times a week, she no longer has the problem.

When I get home tonight, I will find the exercise instruction sheet and scan it for you.
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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or buy a laptop...no more mouse pains
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Better idea...

Take your computer into the shop for a "routine tire rotation" and maybe you'll get the latest, greatest ergonomic computer out of the deal!
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Old 01-29-2009, 12:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I am a computer programmer, so this happens to me occasionally, but I think I know the cause. A few things to try:
1) get a more ergonomic mouse if you don't have one (logitech mx518 is a good gaming mouse that feels nice)
2) use a mouse pad with a wrist pad on it
3) (this was mostly my problem) stop moving your right arm back and fourth from the keyboard to the mouse so much. practice using more keyboard shortcuts such as alt+tab, windows+D, alt+f4, copy/paste, home/end. It will take the pain out of your shoulder if it's there.
4) make sure your armrests are as close to even with the desk as possible.

hope this helps.
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Old 01-29-2009, 12:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I switch back and forth between a mouse and a trackball.
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I had a similar problem last summer. Pain in the upper arm, started out small but eventually got so bad that I couldn't move my upper arm with the muscles there without excruciating pain (I could use my over arm to lift it with only minor pain). The x-ray showed nothing wrong; the doctor prescribed a decreasing dosage of steroids that fixed it for me. Not sure what the ultimate problem was, some sort of inflammation though the cause was unknown.
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:20 PM   #11 (permalink)
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i dont move my arm, i just use my wrist all the time. I just rest the part of the arm between the elbow and the wrist on my desk, and then move my wrist the quicker you move your mouse the further it travels accross the screen.
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:22 PM   #12 (permalink)
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You might want to check your table/desk height and your chair as well.

Personally, I use a Kensington trackball so it minimizes my repetitive motion.
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:43 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Find some way to use the mouse several inches lower than the desk, say, with a drawer.

In my first class on Windows, the instructor explained that the usual position for a mouse is bad for your arm, shoulder, etc. She had some sort of pad so that the mouse was at the same height as her thighs.
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:35 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:43 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Switch hands! I now mostly use the mouse with my left hand even though I am right handed.
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:00 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanG View Post
Switch hands! I now mostly use the mouse with my left hand even though I am right handed.
+1

Whenever one of the arms/shoulders/neck starts to hurt I switch hands. Works great.
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:44 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Stand up straight and relax your arms. Take a look at your hands. Do your palms face inwards or back? Developing an internally rotated humerus is very common among those with desk jobs. If your plams don't face totally inwards, then you have this common postural deviation to some degree. If so, there are some stretches that you can do that will greatly alleviate this.
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:04 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Look at the problem from a different angle: immobilisation is used for repairing broken bones - movement is used to repair muscle/ligament/joint injury.

Now apply that to a normal (non injury) situation and you can imagine that immobilisation is bad for muscle/ligament/joints... getting your posture right is critical as is moving when you are working. Don't have a specific layout that is best for you but if you keep your back straight - have your monitor just below eye level (laptop on a desk -isn't good) - put your keyboard flat on the desk (if it has little feet at the back fold them away - they are designed to make it mimic a typewriter which needed the sloping keys for mechanical reasons not ergonomic ones) - don't rest your arms on the chair but have your forearms more or less level.

Hope that helps
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Old 01-29-2009, 05:54 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanG View Post
Switch hands! I now mostly use the mouse with my left hand even though I am right handed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by over40 View Post
+1

Whenever one of the arms/shoulders/neck starts to hurt I switch hands. Works great.
turns out this is good for the brain, too. I have an article somewhere I've been meaning post.
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Old 01-29-2009, 05:57 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Trackball will help

front edge of keyboard should be higher than rear edge; look at your hands when they're relaxed: they curve downward

If something is going to be mouse-intensive, move it closer to center.

hope you feel better.
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