The RSI syndrome is often referred to as a mouse arm or secretary's disease - these names already indicate what's behind the disease. Right now, if you are reading this text, you probably do a very one-sided movement: The hand encloses the mouse, only the index finger curves, presses the left mouse button, click, relaxes briefly, bends, clicks, and always so continue. For many people who work daily in front of the screen, that goes a thousand times. Pain in hand, arm, shoulder and neck can be a consequence of monotonous work with the computer mouse. Cause is almost always a bad attitude combined with stress, because the PC prescribed by itself no breaks. But you can do something to prevent RSI syndrome.
Wrong posture as a trigger of the mouse arm
Pain will eventually come when the mouse is too far away from the body, for example when the arm is stretched too much. This is also the case when you seemingly relaxed in the chair leaning back on the Internet surfing. This is namely the shoulder-arm muscles permanently loaded. The further you lean back, the more your elbow and wrist are strained.
Many do not let the mouse go, so they can click again as quickly as possible. Often people do not take initial mild pain, tingling or numbness seriously, although it can cause permanent damage. Thus, the chronic over or abuse in the long run leads to RSI syndrome.
RSI syndrome increasingly common
Work scientists expect to see a significant increase in complaints in the future, known as RSI, the abbreviation for Repetitive Strain Injury. In addition to the mouse arm in the broadest sense, these include all skeletal and muscular diseases as well as visual disturbances caused by monitors. More than 60 percent of people who spend more than three hours a day on the PC complain about complaints.
Symptoms: more than pain in the arm
RSI symptoms are often irreversible micro-lesions and tissue changes that can affect muscles, tendons, nerves, or joints. The symptoms can occur in the arm, hands and fingers, neck or shoulders, and may manifest as disorders such as mild pain, weakness and tension, to tendonitis or overbone.
The most common symptoms of the mouse arm include:
- Numbness, tingling or feeling cold
- limited mobility of the joints (stiffening)
In the early stages, the symptoms are often noticeable only during prolonged exercise and disappear when protected. Advanced, extreme cases of RSI hardly allow sick people to hold a full cup of coffee painless.
The keyboard also causes cramps
But not only the mouse causes problems. Even typing data from the keyboard can cause RSI symptoms. After all, it is particularly experienced to bring up to 80, 000 attacks per day - but they all use fingers. The average surfer is content with the index fingers, one or the other finger is occasionally added - and even here occurs a rather one-sided burden.
The mostly board-shaped keyboard almost always forces the writer to sit incorrectly. Automatically, the shoulders contract, the shoulder-neck area cramps. The tendons in the wrists are often over-distracted and this causes too much friction - inflammation is the result.
Breaks and exercise prevent
Computers are, without everyone being so aware of it, a psychological burden, because they basically ask to keep going. Again and again, there are actions, commands, questions, while playing it is about to reach the next level - all this is done often enough without pauses, until the pain comes.
What can you do about it yourself? First and foremost, it is important to improve your posture. The mouse should be pulled closer to the body, you should also not hold it permanently. The arm should lie relaxed and be pampered in between with stretching exercises. Many actions that you can perform with the mouse, can also be done with keyboard shortcuts (German abbreviations). The most important shortcuts can be found in the tips below.
Breaks are the nuts and bolts, best with relaxation exercises. One can outsmart oneself to exercise breaks by placing various office devices such as printers as far away from the desk as possible to get up more often. Other actions such as phoning or reading can be done standing.
The right keyboard and mouse
There are ergonomic, two-part keyboards, which reduce the tension in the shoulder-neck area. These keyboards are missing the right keypads, a number pad that most computer users will not use anyway, leaving more room for the mouse.
The feet under the keyboard should be folded so that it lies as flat as possible, because so the wrists are not bent too far up. And: the ten-finger system is a proven method against one-sided stress less fingers.
The mouse can also be replaced by an ergonomic alternative. For example, there are vertical mice or pen tablets, which allow a completely different hand position.
Ergonomic workplaces at home
Not only in the office, but also at home, you should pay attention to ergonomically designed workstations. The maxim of ergonomics is: "Ergonomics should make it possible to prevent an impairment of human beings, especially by eliminating all influences that may reduce their ability or cause physical impairment."
However, the so practical laptops or notebooks are not one of them: They are completely unsuitable for regular use in the workplace. With a few exceptions, they do not meet the legal requirements for ergonomic requirements. Particularly damaging is the fixed connection between monitor and keyboard, as it leads to forced postures.
Treatment of a mouse arm
First and foremost, you should protect a mouse arm. Depending on the strength and duration of the pain, the therapy for RSI syndrome is also medications (analgesics or anti-inflammatory agents) or methods of physical medicine, such as heat and cold treatments or massages. Infrared lamps or medical exercise baths can also help with muscle relaxation and pain relief.
The treatment of a mouse arm should not only include the relief of acute pain. The therapy also includes the education about work organization, ergonomics, stress management and the function of pain memory. Exercises for muscle relaxation, stretching and strengthening should be learned and deepened in a long-term training. Psychotherapy can also complement the treatment.
The goal is to improve the working attitude and behavior in computer work in the long term.
RSI syndrome: healing possible?
If the disease is detected early and treated, the prospect of healing is usually good. However, if the disease has become chronic, treatment is often difficult and permanent impairment can not always be ruled out.
Therefore, it is advisable to prevent the emergence of the symptoms by taking appropriate measures and to consult a doctor at the first onset of complaints.
Tap instead of clicking - common keyboard shortcuts
Here are some common keyboard shortcuts to save a few mouse clicks:
- Bold letters: CTRL + SHIFT + F
- Italics of letters: CTRL + SHIFT + K
- Underline letters: CTRL + SHIFT + U
- Copy the selected text or object: CTRL + C
- Cut the selected text or object: STRGL + X
- Insert text or object: CTRL + V
- Undo the last command: CTRL + Z
- Repeat the last command: CTRL + Y
You can also display a list of all keyboard shortcuts in the Help menu (F1 key).