Thursday, September 13, 2007

How to avoid mouse arm

Tips for avoiding Mouse Arm ...

"All of a sudden your arm feels heavy as lead and starts to tingle. You tend to drop objects more frequently than you used to. If you're a frequent computer user, mouse arm may be the culprit.

"Mouse arm is a modern form of classical tennis elbow," says Jan Bernholt, an orthopaedist from Duesseldorf. Small movements that are constantly repeated can lead to ailments in the upper and low arm. An ergonomic workspace can help prevent this.

Mouse arm is a manifestation of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), and can be caused not only by working with a mouse but also through other actions that overload the hand and arm area. "Your arm feels funny, the muscles cramp or you feel a pull or prickling in the arm," says Professor Hardo Sorgatz from the Institute for Psychology at the Technical University of Darmstadt.

The monotonous stress first causes small tears and strains in the fibres, although these then regenerate quickly, Sorgatz explains. If the work situation is not improved, however, tendonitis, permanent loss of strength and chronic pain when moving - or even remaining still - can follow. At that point it is crucial that a new movement patterns be introduced.

"And the brain needs to learn that those movements are not marked by pain," Sorgatz notes.

Anyone who sits tensed up in front of the PC, repeating the same motion again and again, is not using a broad range of motion.

"Frequent breaks are important, at least every two hours," Bernholt, says. "The essential thing is movement at your workspace," says Gregor Mertens from the Institute for the Promotion of Occupational Health (BGF) in Cologne. "That means standing up once in a while when working or breaking up all the sitting by visiting with colleagues or going to the printer."    (Continued via theage.com.au)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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