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Old 04.03.2011, 17:37
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Mouse hand problems

Hi,

I've been suffering from issues with my right lower arm for almost 2 years. It's almost certainly from working too much with a computer. It happens with my left arm too but it's not as bad. I'm left handed but use the mouse with my right hand. I've started alternating between a pen tablet on my left hand and a mouse on my right.

When it occurs
Holding phone to ear for more than a few minutes
Carrying heavy bags
Working with a computer

What it feels like
Sore, weak wrist (more uncomfortable than painful)
Numb fingers, hand, wrist and lower arm
Tingling sensation in lower arm (like warm pins and needles)
Random tingling spots on the upper arm and sometimes shoulder

What I've tried so far
GP - suggested it's from incorrectly using weight machines in the gym. I took a month off and didn't notice any improvement. I'm really careful not to lift anything more than the 2nd or 3rd lightest setting.
Neurologist - he didn't find anything wrong
Rheumatologist - gave me lot's of magnesium and x-rayed me. magnesium didnt help at all.
Currently doing physio. Says my muscles are very stiff, doing neck, arm exercises.
Improving posture, stretching more.

I'm getting concerned that ill never find a proper diagnosis of what i have. I could probably arrange taking time off work without a computer but i'd be annoyed if this didnt solve the solution.

Has anyone experienced something similar or have any suggestions/solutions ?

I hope my explanation is clear.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 04.03.2011, 17:56
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Re: Mouse hand problems

Aye I had similar, too much weight being carried around too and from work and constant PC use.

Try changing the mouse to a trackball and reduce the weight you carry around.
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Old 04.03.2011, 18:03
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Re: Mouse hand problems

Well, if you've seen a doc and a physio, I'd think they'd have given a diagnosis?

Sounds classically like "carpal tunnel syndrome" to me though, happens to many of us from using keyboard and mouse, folks who play instruments - basically anything where you're manipulating your fingers while your wrist is cocked at a funny angle, particularly if it is a repetitious effort.

So, the answer is to get a better mouse, some of the ones designed for "gamers" are larger and fit more comfortably in the hand with less wrist cocking and a "looser" grip.

Also, either an ergonomic keyboard or a wrist rest for at your desk as it will help. Holding your hands at a "proper" angle as is shown to piano students will help - wrist up, fingers down - most of us are "lazy" and rest our wrists along the desk, this is the bad.

Check the position of your chair to your desk as well as the monitor to your viewing angle. The more "straight ahead" you can view your monitor, the better. The more you can sit up straight and have your arms come naturally to the desk also the better. The main goal with these suggestions is to limit the areas where you can pinch some nerves in joint areas - make sure your head / neck are comfortable, same goes for shoulder, elbow and wrist.

The tingling and numb can come from pinches anywhere along those lines and what you're experiencing is most often caused by repetitive stress caused by improper posture (not just how you sit but how everything is positioned).

Good luck!
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Old 04.03.2011, 18:10
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Re: Mouse hand problems

Use as many keyboard shortcuts as possible. This will reduce the repetition with the mouse.
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Old 04.03.2011, 18:17
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Re: Mouse hand problems

So you are sure that this problem is coming from too much time spent with the mouse? Oh!

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Old 04.03.2011, 18:54
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Re: Mouse hand problems

Try neural therapy, helped me. Don't know anything about this doctor, but it is a place to start.

http://www.akupunktur-tcm-luzern.ch/...ltherapie.html
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Old 04.03.2011, 19:01
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Re: Mouse hand problems

I agree with Peg A. Your symptoms sound very much like carpal tunnel syndrome. However I am not a doctor so what I say doesn't hold much weight.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpal_tunnel_syndrome

The link is just for info. It could be something else entirely. Diagnosis by Internet is a dangerous thing. I'd go see the doctor again, but this time mention carpal tunnel syndrome if only to allow the doctor to eliminate it as the cause of your symptoms.
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Old 04.03.2011, 19:32
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Re: Mouse hand problems

I had something similar, but it went away without any idea what it really was. Some theories were pinched nerve, circulation, toxins in the bloodstream, stress or obesity.

I basically disciplined my diet, stretch exercises to free circulation to the area along the main nerve's pathway, and dealt with stress.

The stretch exercise was to stand at arm's length from a wall, raise arm with palms up until parallel to the floor, and fingers pointing down as far as possible. Using a wall can help you point your fingers down more, and stretch out the inside of your wrist. This is a stretch exercise a physio-therapist friend suggested.
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Old 04.03.2011, 20:42
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Re: Mouse hand problems

First of all, let me sympathise. This can be a truly painful condition, to the point of being kept awake at night.

I have two suggestions, which you are free to ignore.

1) Consider buying an ergonomic mouse. I went for an Evoluent --- http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_...oluent&x=0&y=0 . A bit pricey, but my hand pains vanished almost instantly when I started using one, and returned when I tried a conventional mouse again.

These days, I barely suffer from the condition but this may be because I am doing less clicking than I was then i.e. I was using a graphics app in my job that was almost 100% mouse-driven.

You should also look at your posture, and chair height etc. These things can have a big impact, in the same way that wearing the wrong shoes can give a runner neck and back problems.

2) If you're employed, tell your HR Dept, in writing, that you are having trouble. They should offer to fund this sort of gadget, and other solutions e.g. physio. More important, if they do nothing to help, and your condition develops into something worse that prevents you from working, you may be able to negotiate some sort of recompense. I'm not a litigous type, but if the problem has developed in the course of your work, it is only fair that they accept some responsibility. But it's no good doing that after it's got out of control. Do it now, and keep a record.
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Old 05.03.2011, 07:36
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Re: Mouse hand problems

I'm more or less having the same problem. In my case it's not only the mouse hand, I've also abused keyboard shortcuts, which causes pain in both hands

You can do some excercises as described here: http://rsi.unl.edu/

I've also bought a trackball and a tried to improve my working habits.
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Old 05.03.2011, 08:44
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Re: Mouse hand problems

Please go and get yourself checked out by a neurosurgeon or a specialist that can refer you for an MRI scan...

I suffered with exactly the same symptoms as you for 2-3 years if not longer. I just kept on thinking it would go away until I started to get a serious pain around the neck and shoulder area. I went for physio, but it just got worse. Then one morning I woke up pain free, but this was the worst bit as it meant that I had more or less completely lost the feeling down one arm.

Anyway to get to the point - I was referred to a neurosurgeon, had an MRI or 2 and it was clear for all to see that I had 2 herniated disks in my neck which were pressing on a nerve but very dangerously close to my spinal cord. I had 2 options - ignore and wrap myself in cotton wool for the rest of my life or but my faith in the hands of the surgeons, with all the risks involved. I opted for the later and am happy that I took the plunge as I can lead a normal life again. I would also add that because I ignored this for so long I have cronic arthrose in my neck and upper back and just have to suffer with the pain and 6 monthly trips to the acupuncturist for the rest of my life. I could be a lot worse....

Anyway, good luck with whatever you do.
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Old 05.03.2011, 08:58
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Re: Mouse hand problems

Thank you Liverbird, it sounds like i should try getting an MRI scan done.

I've only been to 2 physio sessions so far but im not convinced it's going to totally get rid of my problem.

Was the surgery complicated ? How long did it take recover ?

I find it so hard to communicate with doctors in CH, it's not just the language barrier.

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Please go and get yourself checked out by a neurosurgeon or a specialist that can refer you for an MRI scan...

I suffered with exactly the same symptoms as you for 2-3 years if not longer. I just kept on thinking it would go away until I started to get a serious pain around the neck and shoulder area. I went for physio, but it just got worse. Then one morning I woke up pain free, but this was the worst bit as it meant that I had more or less completely lost the feeling down one arm.

Anyway to get to the point - I was referred to a neurosurgeon, had an MRI or 2 and it was clear for all to see that I had 2 herniated disks in my neck which were pressing on a nerve but very dangerously close to my spinal cord. I had 2 options - ignore and wrap myself in cotton wool for the rest of my life or but my faith in the hands of the surgeons, with all the risks involved. I opted for the later and am happy that I took the plunge as I can lead a normal life again. I would also add that because I ignored this for so long I have cronic arthrose in my neck and upper back and just have to suffer with the pain and 6 monthly trips to the acupuncturist for the rest of my life. I could be a lot worse....

Anyway, good luck with whatever you do.
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Old 05.03.2011, 09:01
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Re: Mouse hand problems

Get a good ergonomic mouse pad that you can rest your wrist on. Ive gotten my company to pay for one everywhere ive worked, its really great.
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Old 05.03.2011, 09:50
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Re: Mouse hand problems

Carpel tunnel syndrome does not affect all the fingers - from memory, not the thumb or first finger. However, there are other syndromes with similar symptoms that can affect the rest of the hand. These can also include the painful or dull feelings that radiate further up the arm ( think: tennis elbow) and into the upper back and neck region. As suggested by others, look seriously at your posture at the computer - from the height and angle of your chair, back support etc, down to the angle of your elbows, wrists and fingers at the keyboard and mouse.

There are surgical procedures that can relieve the problems ( but may not), but that needs recovery time and leaves quite long scars. Less drastic, whilst working on the angles, could be to wear a wrist support that helps to keep your wrist at a neutral angle. If you are waking at night due to an increased uncomfortableness in your finger/wrist area, consider wearing the support at nighttime as well. (Curving wrists overwhen sleeping, with fingers curled in as well, can sometimes cause added discomfort.
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Old 05.03.2011, 09:50
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Re: Mouse hand problems

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Thank you Liverbird, it sounds like i should try getting an MRI scan done.

I've only been to 2 physio sessions so far but im not convinced it's going to totally get rid of my problem.

Was the surgery complicated ? How long did it take recover ?

I find it so hard to communicate with doctors in CH, it's not just the language barrier.
The surgery was complicated as they had to operate from the front of my neck and as I said the disks were very close to my spinal cord. One slip and the consequences do not bear thinking about. I was in hospital for 5 days and it took about 3-4 months for me to recover fully. I wasn't working at the time but if I remember correctly I would have been signed off work to 1 full month post op and back 50% for the next 1-2 months.

Hopefully you will get your problem resolved before it comes to going under the knife.

One word of advice DO NOT be tempted to go to a Chiropractor. I didn't, but had I, I would probably not be sat at my computer typing today.

I would also recommend that if your German is not too good you insist on having a Dr who you can communicate with in English. Mine spoke perfect English and always went through everything in detail.

Good look. Gill
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Old 05.03.2011, 11:02
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Re: Mouse hand problems

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I agree with Peg A. Your symptoms sound very much like carpal tunnel syndrome. However I am not a doctor so what I say doesn't hold much weight.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpal_tunnel_syndrome

The link is just for info. It could be something else entirely. Diagnosis by Internet is a dangerous thing. I'd go see the doctor again, but this time mention carpal tunnel syndrome if only to allow the doctor to eliminate it as the cause of your symptoms.
I had my left wrist operated on for CTS (have some in the right, but not as bad).

That was ten years ago, hasn't returned (at least, not to the degree that it's a problem, and only from time to time).

Strangely, I use my mouse on the right, but since I play guitar, my left wrist got it worse. I have also since decreased the angle of the control levers on my motorcycles such that when braking or clutching my hand remains in-line with my forearm, which seems to have helped as well.

Anyway, talk to your doctor, he will then send you to a specialist who measures nerve-propagation times, and can determine if there is a problem, and where.

Tom
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Old 05.03.2011, 11:12
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Re: Mouse hand problems

I had something similar a few years back, it was coming from a pinched nerve in my neck. I think there are lots of good answers already, something like what Peg A suggested helped me. Also, if you have something like a corner desk, multiple monitors, or multiple keyboards, be sure everything is at the same height, even a small difference can cause problems over time.

Everyone is different, but for me the best remedies were stretching/ massage therapy and self awareness. After some very painful outbreaks I knew I should take occasional breaks - but even then I would ignore it. More importantly, I could feel when the nerve was just starting to get pinched - then I forced myself to step away a few minutes, do some shoulder rolls, and loosen up.

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Check the position of your chair to your desk as well as the monitor to your viewing angle. The more "straight ahead" you can view your monitor, the better. The more you can sit up straight and have your arms come naturally to the desk also the better. The main goal with these suggestions is to limit the areas where you can pinch some nerves in joint areas - make sure your head / neck are comfortable, same goes for shoulder, elbow and wrist.

The tingling and numb can come from pinches anywhere along those lines and what you're experiencing is most often caused by repetitive stress caused by improper posture (not just how you sit but how everything is positioned).

Good luck!
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Old 05.03.2011, 11:23
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Re: Mouse hand problems

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I had something similar a few years back, it was coming from a pinched nerve in my neck. I think there are lots of good answers already, something like what Peg A suggested helped me. Also, if you have something like a corner desk, multiple monitors, or multiple keyboards, be sure everything is at the same height, even a small difference can cause problems over time.

Everyone is different, but for me the best remedies were stretching/ massage therapy and self awareness. After some very painful outbreaks I knew I should take occasional breaks - but even then I would ignore it. More importantly, I could feel when the nerve was just starting to get pinched - then I forced myself to step away a few minutes, do some shoulder rolls, and loosen up.

Yes, that is probably what I also had. Before you opt for surgery, or find a doctor willing to perform surgery, please look into physiotherapy. I know someone who recently opted for nerve surgery. The surgeon made a mistake, and he was confined to bed and wheelchair for a year and a half. There are serious risks with nerve surgery.

Last edited by Phos; 05.03.2011 at 12:22.
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Old 05.03.2011, 12:20
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Re: Mouse hand problems

I suffered from extreme carpal tunnel, from computer use, in both wrists. I had to wear braces 24/7. Two doctors recommended surgery but I knew people who'd had the surgery and were actually worse for it. I ended up going to a chiropractor and for me it was posture and nerve related. Lots of times people who work at computers extensively will "turtle" - their head and chin goes forward and often their shoulders will round forward as well. This was causing a pinched nerve for me.

I'm happy to say that after correcting my posture - and I had to be diligent about it - I no longer have carpal tunnel or need to wear braces on my arms. I think it's definitely worth it to check out alternatives to surgery before going that route.
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Old 05.03.2011, 12:53
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Re: Mouse hand problems

As others have come to say for themselves, a lot of my suggestions have to do with personal experience.

For me, having played musical instruments for years (flute mostly, sax and french horn each as needed - each with their own hand / wrist issues) and then going on to do fine manipulations making, repairing and adjusting eyewear and then using the big grinding machines, my wrists were a bit of a mess.

The worst though came when I was scrubbing a lab sink that had become encrusted with lens polish before an inspection - I wound up with my pinky and ring fingers on my right hand continually numb and when I brought the problem to my doctor's attention (she happened to be a "doctor of osteopathy" so look at things "differently" than some other schools may) she suggested wearing a brace.

6 months later, some anti inflammatory (I think "just" ibuprofen) meds coupled with the brace - as well as limiting the time spent doing heavy repetitious things with that hand, which meant no more grinding machines for that period - and the feeling slowly came back. Now I have to watch it still though, but that's a smart move for everyone... take a break, make sure the chance for pinches are minimized as much as you can, things like that.


I'll also echo the others (shame on me for not saying so before) - absolutely speak to your doctor about it and if you are not comfortable with the level of communication with your doctor, call around and find one you are more comfortable with. With so many "foreigners" here, some of them certainly are doctors, you may luck out and find a doc who reminds you of your doc back home.
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