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Taking Care of That Not-So-Furry Mouse!

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Stop a moment to notice what you are doing with the mouse right now as you read. Are you gripping it for dear life? Do you actually need to be holding the mouse at all? As you move the mouse around, are you putting tension in your shoulders, arms, or hand? How about when you click—are you using the minimum amount of energy necessary, or are you pounding on it? Where is the mouse—are you having to reach to use it?

If you found that you were gripping the mouse and experiencing tension all over your upper body, you are not alone. Mouse use creates its own set of problems. Since we tend to hold our hands on a mouse for extended periods of time, tension is created. Sometimes the tension that we put in our hands while using the mouse can then carry over into other daily activities. Perhaps even while “relaxing” we may find that our hands are still in that tensed state that we created while working at the computer. When you are away from the computer, take a moment to stop and notice. Are your hands relaxed, or are they still tense and stiffened? That tension is likely to extend clear up into your shoulders and back, creating aches or pain there as well.

Ways to Improve Your Use of the Mouse

The next time you are actively working at your computer, take inventory of how you are using the mouse. Here are a few things to think about:

  • How firmly must your hold the mouse in order to move it around? Would it be possible to use less tension and still accomplish your work? How much less?
  • When you click the mouse, how much pressure are you exerting on the clicker? How little effort would it take to make that click?
  • When you are not actually using the mouse (e.g. when you’re stopping to read an article), could you take your hand off the mouse altogether and release the tension in your hand?
  • How close to your body is the mouse? To avoid reaching, try to keep the mouse as close to your body as possible. (Some companies make a swinging “mouse arm” that will help you position the mouse in a better place.)
  • After you leave the computer, how is your hand? Are you still carrying around some tension that accumulated while you were working? Can you release that tension as soon as you are aware of it?

Did these exercises make you aware of some new things about your hands that you had not noticed before? Tell us your experience in the comments below.

Join us next time when we will look at issues relating to cell phone use.

Also read:

What is the Use of Technology Doing to Your Body?

Ready, Set, Type!

How Are You Sitting While Using Your Computer?

Keep Your Head Balanced for More Ease While Working

 A Forgotten Source of Support

How Do You Use Your Hands at the Computer?

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.
 Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
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