Best Ergonomic Mouse for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome &
Signs, Symptoms And Self Help
Pain, numbness, tingling or pins and needles in your hand and fingers… These are all typical signs of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).
In the UK, the NHS reckons around three percent of men and five percent of women will have carpal tunnel syndrome at some point in their lives. And while it can affect you at any age, it’s most common in people aged between 30 and 60 years old (in fact, the older you are, the more likely you are to have carpal tunnel syndrome.
Choosing the best ergonomic mouse and for carpal tunnel syndrome
As you are probably aware there are many ergonomic computer mice and keyboards on the market and choosing the correct hardware can be hard work. Here are a few pointers to think of:
- Whatever ergonomic computer mouse you choose you should try to choose one that allows for right and left hand use. This will allow you to pre-empt discomfort with a change of hand which allows the hand to recover. Remember there is not one perect posture! The next posture is the best posture, so making regular postural changes from right to left hand will reduce the risk of causing or exacerbating your current symptoms.
- The best ergonomic ergonomic mouse for carpal tunnel syndrome should allow the hand to complete natural movements. Fixing the hand in one position and relying on the shoulder is not advised as we discussed in our Homunculus and Ergonomic Mouse Design post. Remember the hand is designed to move! Natural movement should help you recover from your symptoms. The DXT Ergonomic Mouse is designed for right and left handed use and ensures the hand can complete natural movements.
- An ergonomic computer keyboard should allow for range of postures to be adopted. Movement is again the key metric to help avoid injury and discomfort. A split keyboard will allow you to adopt more of a neutral wrist posture when typing.
- You will see from DXT Mouse video below how the hand carries out natural movements while allowing the user to use both right and left hand. Both of these design features will help reduce carpal tunnel syndrome.
But what is carpal tunnel syndrome exactly?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve (the nerve that controls movement and feeling in your hand). Nobody really knows why this happens in most cases, but if you have a family history of carpal tunnel syndrome, if you’ve injured your wrist, if your work involves strenuous, repetitive hand movements or if you have a related medical condition, your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome may be higher than average.
Range of symptoms
As well as pain, numbness and a tingling sensation, other symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include the following:
- Difficulty gripping objects or a weak grip in general.
- Numbness or tingling in the thumb as well as the next two or three fingers of one or both hands
- Numbness or tingling of the palm of the hand
- Pain extending to the elbow
- Pain in one or both wrists
- Using a computer mouse
- Co-ordination problems in one or both hands
- Weakness in one or both hands
- Wasting of the muscle under the thumb (advanced or long-term cases)
Getting a diagnosis
If you suspect you may have CTS, it’s important to see your doctor. Don’t attempt to diagnose it yourself. Why? Because there are several medical problems that have similar symptoms as well as conditions that may lead to CTS – any of which may need further investigation – such as:
- Underactive thyroid
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Alcohol abuse
- Bone fractures and arthritis of the wrist
- Cyst or tumor in the the wrist
- Fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause (about 50 percent of pregnant women develop CTS)
If you’re diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, there may be several treatment options available to you, including:
Physiotherapy sessions with a chartered physiotherapist can be beneficial for most people with CTS, especially in moderate cases. There are several things a physiotherapist can do to help relieve the symptoms of CTS, including:
• Joint/nerve mobilisation and tissue stretching
• Nerve and tendon gliding exercises
• Posture correction
• Strength and endurance exercises
• Motor and hand dexterity exercises
• Ultrasound Therapy
• Specific massage
A physiotherapist or ergonomist will also give you advice on how to adjust your work space and computer equipment that may help, such as the DXT ergonomic computer mouse as it allows you to spread the workload throughout both arms.
TENS: Short for transcutaneous electricall muscle stimulation, TENS machines have been shown to relieve CTS pain, and may be useful for those who prefer a drug-free approach to pain relief.
Medication: Medicines used in the treatment of CTS include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Corticosteroid injections in the wrist may also be used to help reduce inflammation.
Wrist splints: In mild to moderate cases, wrist splints may be worn at night to help prevent the wrist from bending and putting more pressure on the median nerve.
Surgery: Carpal tunnel release is a surgical procedure that cuts into a ligament to relieve pressure on the median nerve. Surgery is successful most of the time, but it’s usually only recommended for severe cases where symptoms have lasted for six months or more and other treatments have been unsuccessful.
Help yourself: rearrange your work space
To prevent CTS, it’s important to work in a supportive, ergonomic environment. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Keep your forearm, wrist and hand in a neutral position when using a keyboard or ergonomic computer mouse
- Make sure your workstation is set up so that your forearms are parallel to the floor and elbows bent at a 90-degree angle
- Do not hold the computer mouse unless you are using it, and keep it close to your keyboard (no more than 16-18 inches away)
- And don’t forget to take a break from computer work every hour
- Extend your wrist slightly
- Rotate your hand into a relaxed position (30-60 degrees)
- Keep your fingers curled and relaxed
- Keep your thumb straight and relaxed