Computer mouse usage is one of the leading causes of work related RSI but a few simple steps can help enormously. It may be obvious but if using the mouse is aggravating your RSI symptoms then you could try using it less, use different mouse or switch to a different pointing device altogether.
Keyboard Shortcuts To Save Using the Mouse
Most windows applications incorporate Keyboard Shortcuts which can vastly cut down mouse usage or even eliminate it altogether. Some of these are general shortcuts that work across all applications but most software will have its own set of handy shortcuts
Don’t Rest Your Wrist on the Desk
This causes ‘dorsiflexion’ (bending the hand up at the wrist) which can be a major source of RSI. Try to keep your wrists off the desk (using a wrist guard or special mouse mat if necessary).
It is possible to control your mouse using the keys on the numeric portion of your keyboard. Go to Control Panel -> Accessibility Options to configure this feature.
Use a Wrist Rest/Guard
A simple device that may help is a mousemat with a built in wrist support.
I use one of these and it really helps the lazy wrist positioning that can cause RSI. There are many different variations on the theme but the basic concept is to keep your fingers more in line with your wrist and forearm.
Don’t Use a Wrist Rest/Guard !
Just to throw a spanner in the works, some research indicates that a wrist guard actually aggravates the Carpal Tunnel nerves so some people may have find that a wrist guard actually worsens their symptoms. Personally though I found using a wrist rest sorted out my RIS issues very effectively
Use The Other Hand
It may seem obvious but if one wrist is painful, you could always try switching hands. Of course you may just end up with two sore wrists but this may help. It takes a while to get used to using the mouse ‘wrong-handed’ but eventually you’ll get the hang of it. It may then be possible to alternate regularly to ease the strain on each wrist.
There are many alternatives to the standard mouse which may help your RSI Issues. These include the following:
Conventional mouse but more ‘ergonomically’ styled. To be honest I’m not convinced about this but you never know, it may work for you and they are relatively cheap !
A joystick type device helps keep the wrist in a more neutral position. This kind of device is more suited to the natural relaxed position for your wrists and hands.
A vertical mouse has a similar idea to the joystick device mentioned above and aims to keep your wrist in a more natural position.
Don’t Use a Mouse !
My wife ended up using one of these which helped her immensely. It replaces the mouse completely by using a clever rollerbar along the front of the keyboard and buttons to simulate the mouse buttons. An Excellent device!
Products That Might Help Your RSI