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Computer Mouse and Keyboard Injuries

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Millions of people depend on the computer for their livelihood, and as they know, two pieces of equipment that are used the most are the computer mouse and keyboard. It is ironic that, in this day and age, technical designers couldn't come up with a computer mouse and keyboard that is user-friendly. Instead, countless people are suffering from hand and wrist pain, specifically carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

Hand and wrist injuries such as CTS can prove costly, to the point of losing your job. It is estimated that more than five million Americans suffer from CTS.

Surgery is one solution, but to many people it is temporary. And surgery is not only expensive; it is also an invasive procedure. CTS is caused by repetitive movements and computer operators cannot avoid these actions, often having to repeat the same hand movements for several hours at a time. Repetitive stress injuries are common amongst computer users.

A report from the Journal of the American Medical Association raises concern that there are possible adverse effects of computer use, such as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

A study conducted in Denmark and reported by [ News in Science ] states that the more you click your mouse, the greater the chance of suffering from pain, swelling and other repetitive strain injuries in the hand, neck and shoulder. It goes on to say those who used computers for more than two-thirds of their work time had a higher risk of developing hand or wrist problems.

In another study, Danish researchers found that people who used the mouse for more than 30 hours per week "had as much as an eight-fold higher risk of developing forearm pain, double the risk of moderate to severe neck pain and triple the risk of right shoulder pain."

Injuries can be reduced with better workplace design, including an ergonomic keyboard that will allow your hands and wrists a more natural holding position. There are new computer mice in the marketplace that purportedly do away with hand and wrist injuries. But for many sufferers, CTS will recur. No matter what new computer mouse is available, the damage may already have been done.

CTS symptoms include:
• Pain
• Swelling
• Restricted mobility of the joint
• Weakness
• Numbness

If you have experienced these problems, see a doctor or physiotherapist for advice.

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