Twist and mouse!

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Wrist alignment

How long can you hold your arm out in front of you? An hour? Two? Try it. It won’t be long before it starts to ache. You certainly wouldn’t want to have to hold it there for eight hours.

Yet that is exactly what we are doing at our desks when we reach out for our mouse all day.

Where is your mouse right now? Is it close enough that you can comfortably rest your hand on top of it with your elbow bent and by your side? If not, it’s too far away.

First, check that the leads behind your desk aren’t tangled. Once you’ve done this, if you still can’t get your mouse closer to your body, then you need to get a longer lead. There are USB extenders that will allow you to get the mouse where you need it to be. And they don’t cost a lot.

Reaching out for your mouse usually causes you to sit with one shoulder lower than the other, twisting your body to one side. Sitting like this for long hours every day is likely to lead to pain in your neck, shoulder, arm, and hand.

Here are your quick wins for mouse use:

  • Check that the leads behind your desk aren’t tangled.
  • Get a USB extender so that you can bring your mouse closer to your body.
  • If you are experiencing pain, alternate hands. This can take some time to get used to, but it’s a good way to share the workload between your two hands.
  • If you are working on a laptop, get a mouse. Don’t work solely with the touchpad as it puts more strain on your fingers and hands.
  • Mice come in all shapes and sizes. You have to try a few before you find the most comfortable one for you. (For example, if you have small hands, you might be more comfortable using a travel-size mouse.) Some ergonomic equipment sellers will let you or your employer try out a few models before purchasing.
  • If you find that your mousepad is limiting your range of movement, get rid of it. You don’t have to use a mousepad.
  • Keep the underside of your mouse clean to ensure smooth rolling. If you have gotten rid of your mousepad, you may need to clean it more often.
  • Remember, don’t let your mouse dictate how you sit. Get comfortable and bring your mouse to you.

Don’t twist and mouse!

Safe Hands will help you assess your current situation to uncover possible causes of discomfort or pain. We will suggest adjustments you can make to your behaviour and to all of your computer workspaces – at the office, at home and everywhere in between. Finally, we will talk to you about a range of factors that can contribute to the way you feel physically. Get in touch to find out more.