Friday, November 4, 2011

Tips for a sore "mouse muscle"

I want to talk a bit about the physical aspect ofwriting---since we rarely think of writing as physical unless we have a problem. I’ve complained about arm and hand strains before to a massage therapist. I still don’t know what it’s properly called, but I call it the mouse muscle, and it seems to be right around the elbow. A while back, it got incredibly sore and I had to use the mouse with my left hand (I’m right--handed), which feels very unnatural. I’ve also been known to have a flare up of carpel tunnel every now and again.

I confess, before I had carpel tunnel, I didn’t really understand how debilitating these repetitive motion injuries could be. For me, thankfully, relief came from massage therapy, arm braces and Advil –the arm braces were very helpful because when I sleep I rest my head on my hand, which I’m sure doesn’t help.

I think that it is technically a type of tendonitis that gives an ache to the mouse muscle, which is kind of like tennis elbow (which I’ve learned has very little to do with playing tennis).

I’m in that “ounceof prevention = pound of cure” club, so here’s some tips I’ve gathered on how to take care of your hands. (oh, and my lawyer wants me to insert a disclaimer –i.e. I’m not a medical doctor, if you try this stuff and die, don’t sue me, yada, yada, yada…)

Use of the proper technique when using your mouse can help. Here are some useful diagrams at this occupational health website:

For me personally, massage therapy has helped a lot---particuarly with my mousemuscle. Parafin wax treatments have helped my hands and wrists.

Also, ake time to stop and stretch. Ask your doctor / nurse / massage therapist to show you some useful stretches to help. A good yoga routine could be helpful as well.

I’ve found it helps me to perform a workout that involves the muscles in a different range of motion (kayaking, for example).

Check the height of your office chair. I’ve found if mine off, it will knock everything else out of kilter.

Here's some more info:

Good exercises--

What to do if it hurts:

Anyone else have any methods that help you'd like to add?

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