Seven (7) sins of the Computer Mouse

The original mouse design was made for standing, but today's usage is often sitting and therefore have created a number of health problems.

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Existing mouse products cause harm in many places:

1) Arthritis of fingers that may develop into trigger finger

2) Carpal Tunnel Injury that may include numbness and tingling

3) Tendonitis (mouse elbow, lateral epicondylitis) that may involve loss of movement function

4) Neck muscles Strain (mouse shoulder) that may be permanent

5) Chronic Headache may affect decision making (my own observation)

6) Spinal disposition from bad posture (my own observation)

7) Psychological Depression  (my own observation)


Let's discuss each of these possibilities with my own hypothesis: 

1) Arthritis of fingers that may develop into trigger finger 

Synovial membrane of each finger digit will lock and grind at a fixed angle when using the original mouse at sitting position. This is because when clicking a mouse button from fingertips, impact will force the joint capsule (including synovial membrane and fibrous capsule) surrounding the 1st and 2nd, and 2nd and 3rd finger digits joints to lock temporarily, grind and wear out prematurely through repetitive force during the fingertip jamming motion. 

2) Carpal Tunnel Injury that may include numbness and tingling

The original mouse design has a contacting surface with the user's palm, hence the term "palm support", let's refrain from talking about why blocking sweat glands in the palm is a bad idea for a moment and only discuss the consequences of median nerve suppression. 

Main stream medical experts and peripheral product makers will say pronation and size of mouse being the main causes of this issue.  

However, if you've followed my previous articles you'll know this is merely a shallow explanation which fails to examine the relationship between movements and constraints. 

Carpal Tunnel Injuries is not only the result of tendon damage and inflammation,  it is caused by the over-strain aka stretch & tear town, and the lack of ability to let it heal through natural rehabilitation. 

3) Tendonitis (mouse elbow, lateral epicondylitis) that may involve loss of movement function 

I couldn't find any solid explanations on why this happens other than it does happen. So based on my personal experience, I will talk about this in light of the QK theory:  

The original mouse and vertical mouse requires constant holding pressure using thumb, ring finger, and pinky for movements from side to side, but also forward and back. 

According to the experts, there are three ways to hold a mouse:

Palm Grip – the most popular hold where the hand and fingers are reasonably flat against the mouse.

Claw Grip – refers to the arch of the hand where the knuckles sit higher than the palm grip

Fingertip Grip – common amongst users with big hands, the fingers are in contact with the mouse rather than the palm which occurs with the other two grips.

If you've been using the RBT for sometime now, then you absolutely know how absurd this is.  

Holding the mouse with any of the above three ways will land you in the trigger finger club faster than a hot knife through butter. 

But hold on, we're talking tendonitis here.

When the mouse is being held in any of the three fixed ways, there is pressure, and there is constraint. With the pulling force of fingertip or first finger digit style clicking motion, the tendons are being exerted with force to create movement.  

The pressure is inside your hand. It is worse with pronation when this constraint / movement happens.  It is still there regardless of pronation when you need to constantly exert force to hold the mouse steady during each click. 

Feel for yourself. 

4) Neck muscles Strain (mouse shoulder) that may be permanent

I searched for answers on this one and the majority of experts state it's a matter of posture and height of  screen. 

Well, I disagree.  

Remember what I said about mouse palm support blocks the sweat glands in your palm? 

If you're on a computer for more than 5 hours a day. Your subconscious mind will tell you to take things easy. Slow down a bit. But you're on a job and couldn't just stop working.  So what do you do? 

You lift the elbow ever so slightly to avoid discomfort, fatigue, and pain from fingertip jamming. 

Smart move, everyone does it.  But, this has an adverse effect on your neck. 

To raise the elbow, you need to also raise the shoulder, which also stresses the neck.

Now, keep this up for 6-7 hours each day can really cause some consequences. Which, brings out my next observation:

5) Chronic Headache may affect decision making

Ever wondered where that headache comes from? 

"The most common type of headache is a tension headache, which feels like someone is pressing on or squeezing your head -- sometimes spreading to or from the neck. The cause is attributed to tightness in the muscles of the neck, jaw, scalp, and shoulders." (DigitalHealth.ORG)

To be fair, you really did this to yourself... 

6) Spinal disposition from bad posture (my own observation)

So what about bad posture? 

If you have to constantly lift one side of your shoulder, does it push your spinal cord slightly to the left (or right if you're left handed) ? 

We know the cervical spine (neck region) consists of seven bones (C1-C7 vertebrae), which are separated from one another by intervertebral discs.

But could this force of constant squeeze on one side of the neck muscles make your spine tilt slightly to the other side? 

And how does our body respond to something like this? We all have a natural defense mechanism that want to correct imbalance and potential harm. 

Which takes us to my final observation:

7) Psychological Depression  (my own observation) 

Our body requires balance.

This is true in many different areas, but for this topic, let's keep focusing on the neck. 

When one side of shoulder is lifted, we unconsciously do the same with the other. 

The result is the shrugging shoulder position. If you don't believe me, look at Charlie or someone that's sitting with their  back facing you. This doesn't mean some of us won't get creative and just completely leans towards the opposite side and looking sluggish (The guy with his own office). 

But for those who care about sitting posture, it's highly likely you'll end up shrugging your shoulders.

You may ask "how this is going to affect my mood" ?

Here's the answer:

In the hunter & gatherer days, we roam around earth and look for food. when you saw a field of ripe blue berries, you approach with caution. You're there, you pick the berries and put them into the basket. You must do this quickly because it's the wilderness, there might be....

Rooooooaaaaarrrrr~~~~  the sight of a siberian tiger. You look in front of you, there's Charlie.  

Shrugged shoulders, he's dropped his basket, off on his feet running fast.

You should start running too, but you're paralyzed... tingling sensation and numbness, weakness in the hands, you're stuck on a bad mouse.  


Shrugged shoulders = FEAR

Not knowing the source of fear creates confusion, frustration, and paralysis, and can lead to depression. 

                          Now You Know 

The question I don't want to ask you is this:  

Does your workplace scare you? 


The question I am asking you now: 

Who's stopping you from getting an RBT mouse today and start living? 


don't forget share this article with Charlie ! 


Rehabilitation is Real