Long hours at the computer workstation often cause pain in the elbows, neck and shoulders, but you can practice against so-called mouse arm exercises. This condition mainly affects the biceps, with the main causes being poor posture and movement imbalance. Fortunately, common signs and symptoms can be effectively prevented with targeted practices. So, if you are also one of those who suffer from it, here are some health tips and proven pain relief methods that can help you recover from it faster.
Table of Contents
- Why you should use exercises against mouse arm as sports medicine
- Other tips for health and balance at work
Why you should use exercises against mouse arm as sports medicine
Since in such cases the arm hurts with every movement and this is due to the constant clicking, scrolling and moving of the computer mouse, certain movements or physiotherapy can help as a preventive measure. Otherwise, such regular, small movements could be enough to trigger elbow pain later on. Such pain accumulates and can then lead to mouse arm.
This causes other symptoms such as neck pain, shoulder pain, tingling in the hands or even loss of strength. From a medical perspective, this is a condition that occurs at the proximal (closer to the center of the body) tendon insertion of the long head of the biceps muscle. The biceps muscle is involved in both elbow and shoulder flexion. As the name suggests, PC gamers or professionals are more likely to suffer this injury from using the computer mouse.
Medical background of the pain condition.
Due to abuse and imbalance, the fiber orientation of the tendon becomes dysfunctional. This dysfunction is called tendinopathy, but it is different from tendinitis, leading to the common misnomer of the condition. In addition, mouse arm is not a recognized occupational disease because the symptoms are very nonspecific and similar to those of other conditions. These include conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow or golf elbow. They also result from monotonous and one-sided movements. The pain manifests itself in the tendon tissue of the elbow, also called insertional tendinopathy of the vascular muscles.
In tennis elbow (epicondylitis humeri radialis), the outer side of the elbow is affected, while in golf elbow (epicondylitis humeri medialis), the inner side suffers. Mouse arm, however, cannot be accurately assigned to either type of epicondylitis because the symptoms are more varied and are not limited to the elbow area. On the other hand, the age at which the condition usually occurs is similar. Most often, the symptoms occur in people between 45 and 60 years.
What exercises can prevent mouse elbow and relieve the pain
You have many options for preventing mouse arm or loosening the aching muscles. All exercises focus on movement. You can mobilize muscles and joints that you cannot move during work or can only move on one side.
Stretching exercises (described for the right arm).
- First, extend your right arm so that the inside of your elbow and your right palm are facing up.
- Then use your left hand to grasp the fingers of your right hand.
- Now use your left hand to press down on the fingers of your right hand so that you hyperextend your right wrist. Keep your arm straight while doing this.
- After that, you should be able to feel a stretch in your forearm.
- Extend your right arm as before.
- This time, place your left hand on the back of your right hand from below.
- Press the fingers of your right hand up so that this time you are bending your wrist.
- You should now feel a stretch in the inside of your elbow.
Loosen the arm muscles
Sitting for long periods of time and monotonous mouse clicks only move your muscles on one side. Therefore, you should loosen your arms regularly during working hours.
- You can not only circle your arms, but also your wrists, elbows, shoulders and neck.
Tighten muscles specifically:
Most of the discomfort occurs in the elbow. So this exercise promotes blood flow to this muscle region.
- Make a fist with your hand and tense your muscles for a few seconds.
- Release again and spread your fingers.
- Repeat this process three to five times.
Other measures that should replace mouse arm exercises
There are many individual measures you can take to prevent mouse arm. However, one preventive measure alone is not always enough to prevent muscle strain. Therefore, you should try different preventive measures in combination.
- Change sitting position: Mouse arm is often caused by incorrect sitting positions at work. Therefore, proper ergonomics at the workplace is quite important and can prevent tensions like mouse arm. Especially when working in a home office, make sure you are in the best possible sitting position and are well equipped.
- Working while standing: Height-adjustable standing desks can be adjusted in height accordingly, allowing you to avoid unhealthy sitting and working positions.
- Change computer mouse: Special, ergonomic computer mice are designed to enable a more natural hand and arm posture. Such a mouse costs on average between 30 and 50 euros or more.
- Reduce mouse clicks: You can also replace many mouse commands with keyboard shortcuts. This will make your movements less monotonous and reduce the strain on your mouse hand. In addition to self-administration measures, there are also drug therapies for mouse arm. Depending on consultation with your doctor, these may include painkillers, cortisone injections or physiotherapy.
Other tips for health and balance at work
Working from home for long periods without much exercise is particularly unhealthy for the body. In addition, family life often takes place at the same time and separating work and family life is becoming increasingly difficult. This puts a strain on the whole body. Listlessness, tension, sleep disorders or concentration problems can be the result of overwork and stress. Therefore, it is important that you balance the stress at work . There are several ways to do this:
- Structure and organization: plan your workday in advance and take short or longer breaks. During the short breaks, you can get up from your desk chair and do some movement and stretching exercises. For example, you can use circular motions to relax your shoulders. Also open a window in between for fresh air, which can have a positive effect on tense muscles.
- Drink enough: When people feel stressed in everyday life, they often forget to drink enough fluids. So again, use your breaks to drink as well. Water or, alternatively, an unsweetened tea is healthiest.
- Sports and exercise: Try to exercise regularly to keep your body fit and blood flowing to your muscles. In addition, daily activities and exercise can also prevent mouse arm. Sports also help to get rid of stress and clear your mind.