Back in 1964, Douglas C. Engelbart created the wildly popular computer mouse. The design was simple, consisting of a wooden body complete with a circuit board and two metal wheels to interact with surfaces. If you use a computer, you’ve probably used a mouse with similar design before, but it’s probably not wooden. The reason for that is because sixteen years after the mouse was invented, Steve Kirsch invented the Optical mouse, which is quickly took off until recently. Regardless of the design or type, the mouse comes just as standard as your laptops keyboard but has been proven to be used three times as much.
Computer use and pain
While the invention of the mouse was revolutionary, its simplistic design proves problematic for its users. After constant years of use, it’s been proven that the design of the mouse doesn’t take the users into account. Constant studies over the years have been able to show that the traditional mouse forces your hand into an unhealthy position for prolonged periods of time.
When you move your hand in the same movement repeatedly from this position, it causes inflammation and peripheral nerve problems in your hand and wrist, which results in the user eventually being diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Cause of carpal tunnel syndrome
Most users that are diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, are commonly those who sit at their desk all day. The reason for this is because staying in a stationary position like this puts pressure on your wrist, causing the median nerve to swell up which can lead to numbness, tingling, pain and eventually weakness.
Unfortunately, people who are diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, are often also diagnosed with bad posture and wrist tendonitis. By positioning, traveling, scrolling, and clicking repeatedly, the muscles you need in order to use the mouse quickly become tired and extremely overworked, especially if your job requires you to do this for several hours a day, weekly.
The overuse of these muscles, overtime, causes pain at the top of your hand, wrist, and pain within your forearm and elbow. The problems don’t just stop there because it can also cause a formulation of nodules or ganglion cysts around your joints and tendons. Usually, this follows with burning, stiffness and eventually, restricted range of motion.
Scientists discovered the problems with the design of the traditional mouse only after enough users had been diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
The vertical mouse
They quickly began to investigate alternate designs that would allow for the new mouse to be comfortable but also healthier for the user. Over the course of several years, hundreds of designs were studied, One of the winners being the slightly expensive Vertical mouse. The Vertical mouse, invented by Jack Lo in 1994, is still relatively new despite its age. The design is known commonly as the “Handshake” design, because it keeps your hand held out as if you were shaking someone’s hand.
A lot of people looking for a new mouse, often find themselves trying to notice the difference between the Vertical mouse and the Traditional computer mouse. The main difference is the uncommon design. While you may be used to the traditional long and flat shape of the computer mouse, the Vertical mouse is controversially known for its much taller frame.
The buttons are located on the right directly beneath where your grip would be located, meaning you don’t need to strain to do any clicking.
The position is new, and needs adjusting to, but the functionality is the same. The shape of the of the Vertical mouse allows you, the user, to hold a more relaxed position that’s identical to holding your hand out for a handshake. In this position, your wrist no longer needs to be parallel to the desk, like it needs to be when it comes to the Traditional mouse. When your wrist is twisted for too long, it compresses the median nerve running along the corridor between the forearm and hand, known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
The Vertical mouse keeps your forearm and your wrist relaxed in a natural rest position, minimizing the consistent use of your muscle.
This means that even people who already have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or arthritis, can invest in the Vertical mouse and not have to worry about feeling that familiar pain. Because of its design, the bulk of your wrist is off the desk when it’s in use, limiting the amount of pressure to the area.
The best part of the Vertical mouse is that the “handshake” position allows you to use your forearm instead of your wrist.
I have been using the Evoluent vertical mouse for two years after I suffered from Tendonitis on my left hand. I can say that I no longer feel the pain I used to have (this is NOT a sponsored post). My arm is no longer twisted as shown in the image below :
Ergonomic computer mouse
Here are some advantages of the mouse from Evoluent :
It can be installed easily with major operating systems. It needs some adaptation at first but after few minutes you are good to go.
Find out how to treat carpal tunnel syndrome and what exercises are most suitable in our article here.
When you’re choosing a mouse for your computer, whether for health reasons or otherwise, it’s best to choose something that’s going to make you feel comfortable, and that happens to be the Vertical mouse. It’s better not to wait until you feel pain in your hand to make the change, specifically if you want to find the one that fits correctly. Once the pain from incorrect posture settles in, it quickly becomes harder to manage. If you decide to stick with what you have, instead of investing in a Vertical mouse, whether as a creature of habit or because of familiarity, make sure you take a break every few hours in order to avoid stress injuries from repetitive movements.
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