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Thread: Best solution for wrist/arm pain from using mouse

  1. #1

    Best solution for wrist/arm pain from using mouse

    I have been doing more work than usual at my computer over the last month and noticed pain beginning to develop in various parts of my hand and arm all the way into my shoulder. I guess this is what is referred to as repetitive stress injury which can lead to other potential problems as well.

    I have done my own research and found a couple possible solutions. I have started using a Wacom Bamboo tablet to do my work but even after playing around with the settings I have found it hard to get used to. I heard about the ergonomic mouse from 3M seen here

    I think I'm going to order one of these 3M mouses and give it a try although I read it does not have a scroll wheel.

    Has anyone else experienced pain from using a standard mouse and what worked for you? Any other suggestions are welcome.
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  2. #2
    Yeah, last year I was starting to develop serious pains as you described, it's good that you have caught it and started taking action. It's that tiny one finger mouse clicking that starts it, seems like nothing but that muscle is going all the way up your arm. Simple things can affect it, desk height, where your hand contacts the desk, is your arm positioned in an ever so slightly compromised pose because of something you have just become accustomed to over time.

    Just by making changes you can slowly turn it around, my issues have pretty much disappeared.

  3. #3
    I guess putting the mouse at the correct reach and height is supposed to help. I also read that mousing from the elbow more instead of the wrist is also supposed to help but I find making accurate/small movements using the elbow to be more difficult.
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  4. #4
    Actually working from your shoulder would be better. Uses more muscles. I switch between using a stylus and ergonomic mouse while I work. It helps vary up the repetition.
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  5. #5
    Registered User Slartibartfast's Avatar
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    Jun 2012
    Running + training at the gym cured me :-)

  6. #6
    Profesor Pixel Poo Mr Rid's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    Los Angeles
    Many years ago I had carpal pain in my right hand, so I switched to using my left hand for some days, and the problem went away for good.

    I can NOT find a decent mouse, and I dont care for tablets. I have no idea why most mice all have the same overly narrow shape that forces your hand to scrunch in an unnatural position. The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse was the most comfortable by far(!), which is simply like a half sphere shape and is like cupping a ball. Very natural feeling. And it worked on even my gloss-black desk, without a mousepad.
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    I dont know what took so long for someone to come up with such a simple design. But the problem with that model for me is the bottom surface that touches the mousepad is a full ring around the underside instead of a few pads, so the greater surface area increases friction and the cursor would jitter slightly when making fine strokes. How long have they been making mice(?), and they still cant get these simple, obvious things right.
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  7. #7
    I use to have wrist pains then I use a good thick leather wristband and a mouse pad with a soft wrist rest to elevate my hand. Helps a ton with easing the tension placed on the tendons. No more pain.

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates - "I Drank What??"

  8. #8
    Robert Ireland bobakabob's Avatar
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    Feb 2003
    Nottingham UK
    Try a vertical mouse - at work I use a cheap Accuratis from Amazon. Comfortable and it prevents the unnatural twisting of your forearm. Also worth using your Wacom stylus whenever you can, you'll get used to it. Switching the mouse to my left hand helped when pain was bad but the worst thing you can do is try to work through it. It's likely to be an inflamed nerve and repetitive strain requires a lot of time to heal. Ibuprofen is good for temporary relief but they're not good to take over time. A combination of posture and overwork is likely to be the cause.

    Aim to sit up straight with small pillow support for your lower back and mouse in easy reach with top of monitor at eye level. If posture is bad and you're straining forwards you can damage your neck, back and / or shoulder and received pain in the arm and wrist is the result. Also too much clicking of the mouse can damage muscle sheaths over time which don't heal properly and cause nerve damage. In my case I developed a trapped nerve in my neck last year and the referred pain in my right arm was agonising. Very scary at its worst but mostly avoidable and it with good diet exercise and rest it will go in time. Good luck!
    Last edited by bobakabob; 01-19-2015 at 01:34 AM.
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  9. #9
    Registered User KurtF's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
    Northern California
    For me I turned to something simple. I moved the mouse to my left hand. It does take a while to get used to, but it changes the muscles and relieves the constant strain on your right hand (or vice versa).

  10. #10
    Registered User
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    Aug 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by Slartibartfast View Post
    Running + training at the gym cured me :-)
    Best advice. People just don't exercise enough.

  11. #11

    Wacom / Mouse switching
    Good Keyboard

    for repetitive tasks AHK is the solution, a must (!)

    Exercise helps too, but can't compete with proper Massage by far
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    note, rounded rubber hammer is a bit better if you skip the heat-up-hammer part...
    personally i skip the part heating up the hammer, but you can do this if you want to...

    a Buck Hammer could be good >
    Last edited by erikals; 01-19-2015 at 09:12 PM.
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  12. #12
    Engineer/Entrepreneur Sekhar's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    I stopped using mouse some ten years back because it was hurting and have been using a Wacom Intuos tablet since. It's been fantastic for me all these years and not a single issue with pain. I strongly suggest trying out a better tablet than a Bamboo, ideally an Intuos. I had tried Bamboo many years back and returned it because it was awful.

  13. #13
    Member toeknee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Hi Nicolas, I would have to agree with Sekhar. I switched to a Wacom tablet in the late nineties and I never have issues with my hands. The common work day is eight hours of 3D, Photoshop, video editing illustrator work and so on. Then I work at home from about 10PM to around 3:00 AM doing animation and composting and I never have any hint of discomfort. I know that many people have a hard time switching to a tablet. For example my wife is a graphic designer and she is only mouse. I bought a good tablet but she will have nothing to do with it. She works about half the hours per day that I do and she is always complaining about hand fatigue. I also feel that the pen is more efficient in movement. This means that I can work faster. This part might be bull **** but it does feel faster. Good luck.
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  14. #14
    Engineer/Entrepreneur Sekhar's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    About Intuos, Wacom seems to have renamed their tablets, and the old "Intuos" is now "Intuos Pro." Be sure to try this and not the regular "Intuos" tablets. Also, the new Intuos Pro tablets now have touch sensitivity so you can use your fingers for pinch/zoom and tablet is old, so I don't know how that works.

  15. #15
    Super Member spherical's Avatar
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    Dec 2004
    San Juan Island
    I gave up on standard mouse types years ago. Takes too much desk space, unnatural twist to forearm and fur getting caught up in the ball. Have gone through a series of trackballs, as the tech evolved. Always chose the style that uses one's thumb on the ball. My SO has one that the ball is centered, with buttons to either side. Can't stand using if for long. Of course, my hands are large, so that has something to do with it.

    Anyhoos, the upshot of all this is that I made an angled support for the trackball, rotating it to the right by about 15 degrees, that allows my forearm to remain untwisted. It and the keyboard are on a pull-out drawer that I made, using heavy duty drawer slides, before there were any on the market that were worth anything. Its surface has an extension out past the right-hand slide to hold the trackball. This keeps the two slides in close on both sides at the extents of the keyboard, where the central pressure is. Very stable. Now, of course, I'll have to make a new surface that will have a matching extension on the left side to hold the SpaceMouse Pro; which is essentially a different style of trackball.

    We have Intuos Pros as well. I use it on my lap. My SO has it on her desk above her KB drawer. I find this to be too far to comfortably reach for extended periods and don't have as much fine control, because of the unnatural position.
    Last edited by spherical; 01-20-2015 at 03:48 PM.
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