Mouse arm (RSI) Causes, symptoms and treatment

Do you work a lot at the computer or do you regularly play one-sided sports such as tennis or golf? Then there is a good chance that sooner or later you will suffer from overloading of the certain muscles. Complaints due to prolonged same movements are also called RSI. One of the most well-known RSI complaints is a mouse arm. How does a mouse arm develop, what symptoms can you experience and how do you prevent a mouse arm? In this blog we give explanations and tips if you suffer from a mouse arm. So that you can quickly work and exercise again without complaints! 

Did you know that almost 35% of all people who work sitting at a computer sooner or later suffer from a mouse arm?

What is a mouse arm? 

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a collective term for muscle and joint complaints on the hands, wrists, arms, shoulders and /or neck. Due to repeated strain on muscles and joints – such as working behind a computer – these are overloaded at some point. RSI occurs in many professional groups, such as painters, butchers, cleaners and packers. All professions where the same posture is maintained for a long time or the same movement is often made. With a mouse arm, you may feel pain or discomfort in the shoulder, forearm, wrist or hand. 

A mouse arm is so called because the pain usually occurs from working with a computer mouse. It is an easier name for conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) or De Quervain syndrome. Often there is also inflammation in the muscles or tendons of a mouse arm. The tissue becomes irritated, which causes it to swell and can feel painful.  Sometimes a mouse arm is the result of a pinched nerve. Fortunately, there is good news because chiropractic helps excellently with a mouse arm and other forms of RSI such as a tennis arm, golf arm or WhatsApp finger. 

Causes of a mouse arm 

Overexertion of muscles and tendons is the main cause of a mouse arm, often by working for a long time in front of a computer. The workplace is usually not or not properly ergonomically adjusted, which can cause complaints. Maybe you sit too high (or too low), use a mouse that’s too small/wrong, or you’re sitting in the same position for hours. Sitting for long periods (plus 3 hours) is not too good for your spinal health, it puts a lot of pressure on certain vertebrae and nerves. If these areas are under pressure for a longer period of time, this can cause damage. It is important to be aware of certain habits and working attitude to prevent complaints.

Other causes of a mouse arm: 

  • one-sided sports such as tennis, golf or kayaking 
  • repeated and heavy lifting 
  • lack of exercise / overweight 
  • children or heavy bag always carry with one arm 

Symptoms mouse arm 

A mouse arm does not arise overnight. Often the body already gives warnings to indicate that something is wrong. Unfortunately, these signals are often ignored in practice, for example by taking painkillers. In the case of a mouse arm and RSI, ignoring the (pain) signals only makes the symptoms worse. Your body will ‘scream’ louder and louder and the pain will increase or expand further. Of course you don’t want that. Learn to recognize the signals your body gives to prevent worse. 

The development of mouse arm consists of the following stages:

  • First phase

You feel pain, a dull feeling, cramps or fatigue on the neck, shoulders, arms, wrists or fingers. As soon as you take a rest, the complaints disappear fairly quickly. At this stage, a mouse arm can still be prevented, provided you take action. Take a good look at your posture, workplace and visit a chiropractor. 

  • Second phase 

If you ignore the complaints from the first phase, the complaints will increase. Your body will give more clear signals in the form of pain or discomfort. Complaints you now have not only while working / exercising, but also outside. You may get a burning pain or tingling sensation in joints and muscles. Sometimes there was even a loss of strength in arms and hands. 

  • Third phase 

At this stage, unfortunately, a lot of damage has already been done to the muscles and joints. The pain is constantly present, no matter what you do. Some symptoms of the third stage are: severe tingling, loss of coordination ability, swelling, loss of strength and sleep problems due to the pain. The longer you wait to take action, the longer the recovery will take. 

Tips to avoid a mouse arm 

We understand that sometimes it is unavoidable that you sit at the computer for a long time or make many of the same movements. Especially if this is part of your job. You can look for another job that is less taxing, but this is not always an option. Not everyone is equally sensitive to a mouse arm. This way you can quickly suffer from it, while other people can continue much longer without problems. A mouse arm is often also related to work pressure and stress. 

How do you prevent mouse arm? Here are some useful tips: 

  • Make use of a good wrist rest / mouse pad. 
  • Use your mouse with your other hand. 
  • Use an ergonomic mouse. 
  • Alternate your work and take regular rest breaks. 
  • Adjust your desk, computer screen and keyboard properly. 
  • Get plenty of exercise.

Chiropractic and a mouse arm 

Do you suffer from a mouse arm or other RSI complaints? Then a visit to a chiropractor is a good idea. At Avant Garde chiropractic we investigate where the cause of your complaints lie and solve them in a natural way. One of our experienced chiropractors checks the muscles and joints for blockages during an initial consultation. Not only in the painful area, but also outside it. We then share our findings and discuss the best solution together. 

With chiropractic we improve posture, remove blockages and let the muscles relax again. In addition, we also give advice on working posture, exercises and possible adjustments that help with an accelerated recovery of a mouse arm. Do you have complaints that resemble a mouse arm? Are you done with those annoying tingling in your hands or pain in your arm? Then make an appointment now for an initial consultation.

You do not need a referral from the doctor for this. We have already helped many people with a mouse arm, you are in the right place with us!

Maak een afspraak