Don’t give mouse arm, RSI and CTS a chance

Do you sometimes suffer from pain in your hands, wrists, arms, neck or shoulders? Then you may be suffering from mouse arm, RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) or CTS (carpal tunnel syndrome). If you don’t tackle the problem correctly, it can become so severe that you lose your ability to work. Five tips for preventing this from happening.

1 Work in the correct way

Not only computer users can get mouse arm. Anyone who constantly makes the same motion in the same position can experience it, from cashiers to surgeons. Here are a few tips for healthy working.

  • Take a break every so often to move around. Five minutes each hour for example. And it’s a good idea to go for a walk during lunch break.
  • Alternate your computer time whenever possible with other tasks such as making telephone calls or having meetings.
  • Avoid stress, excessive workload, negative emotions and irritations.

2 Setup your workspace properly

It’s not simple to set up an ergonomic workspace. It takes a lot of awareness of your body. What’s more, if you are already suffering from pain, it is difficult to tell what feels good. In that case you should certainly ask for professional advice, from the Department of Prevention and Protection at work, for example. This is how you should arrange your chair and table for computer work:

  • Adjust the height of your armrest so that your shoulders are relaxed and your elbows are resting on them.
  • Adjust the height of your chair so that the armrests are level with the desktop.
  • Adjust the height of the computer screen. When you’re looking straight ahead, you should be looking at the upper edge of the screen.
  • Do your knees form a 90 degree angle or a bit more? If not, use a foot rest.

3 Assume the correct working posture

Aside from the ergonomic setup of your workspace, a good working posture is also important. The basics:

  • Support your arms. Use a chair with armrests. Put your arms on your desktop while you work.
  • Work with two hands. It’s also best to type with two hands.
  • Sit straight in front of your task. You put the greatest burden on your back if you have to twist and bend or stretch at the same time.
  • Working close-up is better than far away. Do you need to make a note in your agenda? Then place your agenda in front of you first.
  • Work at the proper height. Computer screens are often placed too low for a healthy position. Using a laptop for long periods of time without aids such as a laptop support, an extra screen or a separate keyboard is not a good idea.

4 Keep your muscles and mind flexible by exercising

Both your body and mind can benefit from a few relaxation exercises.

  • Loosen up your pelvis by tilting it forward and backwards while you sit.
  • Roll your back into a curve by bringing your nose towards your navel.
  • Loosen up your shoulders by raising them up to your ears and lowering them again.
  • Hang your hands next to your body and shake them out.
  • ake some distance from your situation by closing your eyes and visualising your office, then the building you’re in, then the city, and keep going until you see the Earth as a tiny dot in the universe. You can do the same exercise by imagining the passage of time.
  • Close your eyes and visualise a pleasurable moment or place from your memory. Picture every detail, feel the wind on your face, hear the rushing of the waves.

5 Use aids

At JM Bruneau you’ll find a range of aids to help you to work ergonomically: