With the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have had to take up a new method of working. This may mean that you’re figuring out how to set up a comfortable and ergonomic workspace within your home. One difficult are is, surprisingly, a computer mouse. It might seem minor, but it’s important to use understand what proper use and potential issues might look like in order to avoid injury in your new workplace…
Computer Mouse: Prevent Issues
At first glance, a computer mouse may not seem like it’ll be a source of issues. However, consider that people will use their mouse 3 times as much as their keyboards. Keyboard use alone can cause injuries such as carpal tunnel. Combine them with a mouse, and it can quickly result in problems.
The main issue is that a mouse and keyboard require good posture and flat, even surfaces to be used safely. Many people don’t do this when working at their offices, and it can hard to practice when working from home. Over time, this can lead to pain, discomfort, and potential nerve and muscle problems.
There’s two main hazards which can occur from using a computer mouse incorrectly. First, a mouse requires you to make small, exact movements over and over again. This can cause pains and aches all over the hand, wrist, and arm. Eventually, you may notice numbness/tingling and feelings of stiffness, due to restricted blood flow and nerve damage.
Second, most people tend to have cramped workstations, especially at home. As a result, they must place their mouse in an awkward position for it to have space, and usually need to lean forwards and stretch their arm out to reach it. This puts a lot of strain on your arm, shoulder, and back, which can result in chronic pain.
Steps to take
Finding a good mix between using your keyboard and computer mouse at the same time can be tricky. Depending on the space you have to work with, it may take some experimenting to find a setup which works. It might be good to see if you can move to a more-open space and set it up as a dedicated work area.
When using your mouse, make sure you use a comfortable grip and take breaks to stretch. Giving your hand and wrist a chance to rest is important for keeping them healthy. It may also be good to get wrist pads, which provide extra support and keep your hand level.