Nowadays most people work on a computer all day long during their entire career. We often think of the bad consequences for our eyes but we don’t necessarily think about the consequences on our body. Computer or mouse elbow (aka lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow) is a pain on the outer of the elbow and results from the overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm and around the elbow joint.
Typing, coding, using a mouse all day long are common in today’s world and will probably lead you to severe arm pain such as tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and related conditions. We have put together 11 useful and essential tips to prevent computer elbow.
As you are overusing your arm you are most likely going to face this condition at some point in your life. So, if you don’t already suffer, don’t worry! There are proven ways to prevent you from suffering in the future. We strongly advise you to follow these tips in order to avoid discomfort, pain, and severe injury.
1- Organize Your Work Station
The first thing you need to consider is to set up your work station in a proper way.
First, you need to clear your desk. All you really need is your computer, keyboard and mouse. Eventually you can keep a pen and a notepad. If your work with a stationery computer, not a laptop, make sure your head and screen are in line. You might want to lift your screen a little bit. You can use a computer stand or a ream of paper.
If you use a laptop you might want to add an external keyboard and lift your laptop with a stand or a ream of paper.
Your arms, shoulder and legs must be in line. Your back and shoulders must be straight. Maintain your legs and arms at 90 degrees. Your feet should be flat on the floor. Do not cross your legs, it’s really bad for blood circulation. Basically it’s how you should sit at your desk.
Now that you have organized your work station, you need to take frequent breaks.
2- Take Frequent Breaks
It’s really important to take breaks throughout your day. I advise you to work for 45 minutes to an hour. You then take a 5 to 10-minute breaks to get up, walk, stretch your wrists, arms, legs, shoulders and neck. Your body will thank you.
Hence you will be more productive. I use a timer app called Pomodoro Timer available on the App Store or ClearFocus available on Google Play. I set 2 Pomodoros of 25 minutes each and then I take a break of 5-10 minutes.
I focus on my work while sitting properly. You can also sit on a chair at your desk for 50 minutes, stop working for 10 minutes and then lift your desk and stand up for another round of 50 minutes. Standing desks are really trending.
3- Use a Stand Up Desk
I personally don’t like to stand all day but it’s good for your legs and posture. So my desk allows me to have the best of both worlds. We are talking about computer elbow but when you stand, you tend to be more active and flexible.
If you don’t have a stand up desk, you can use a computer stand specifically designed to work on your feet.
4- Opt For an Ergonomic Mouse
What about your mouse? At work we are usually given a standard mouse but the use of an ergonomic mouse can greatly help you. Here are 2 models we really like and use every day. They will allow you to click and navigate in a more comfortable way for you.
This ergonomic mouse allows you to move the cursor without moving your arm. You can purchase it directly on Amazon.
This mouse has been specifically designed to encourage vertical alignment and a more ergonomic operating position. It’s also available on Amazon in 3 different sizes: small, medium and large.
5- Use More Keyboard Shortcuts
Using more shortcuts with your keyboard can help you. Clicking can cause pain in your hand and wrist. So try to use more shortcuts like copy, paste, cut, select all.
Here is a complete list you can use. You can access to the infographic here. Try and see if you feel more comfortable.
6- Why Not Use a Graphic Tablet?
Graphic tablets are a great alternative to a mouse. It takes some time to get used to it but once you master the use of a graphic tablet, you will never go back to your regular mouse, trust me.
A graphic tablet allows you to draw, select objects and any type of function and programs with a pencil. Graphic tablets are mainly for designers but if you are not a designer, you can use a graphic tablet. If you have a colleague who uses one, why not try?
Your hand, wrist and arm will be more relaxed and your elbow will be less sollicitated.
7- Rest Your Arms And Shoulders
You don’t have to have your hand on your mouse or your desk. Oftentimes you need to read an email, article, report or get a phone call. While you don’t need to use your computer actively, just rest your arms on the arm rest of your chair or swing your arms and roll your shoulders.
Don’t forget your body. You need your body, not only your head. Remember: if you neglect your body, you won’t be able to work as efficiently as you do now.
8- Wear a Compression Elbow Sleeve
- enhanced blood flow,
- oxygen delivery,
- cooling effect.
We advise you to try WIMI Compression Elbow Sleeves.
9- Stretch Your Wrists And Arms
While you are reading or relaxing during breaks, stretch your wrists and arms. There are a few stretches you can do.
Here is one suggested stretch is to put your arms in front of you in a prayer position, and to move your arms up and down while keeping that pose. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times 3-5 times per day. You should only feel a slight pull and not feel any pain when stretching this way.
This will help to improve the flexibility in your arm.
10- Improve Blood Flow
While sitting keep your blood flowing:
- Forget tight clothes and skinny jeans, they are too restrictive,
- Contract your legs and rotate your ankles,
- Don’t drink too much coffee, instead drink more water,
- Dont’t cross your legs at all costs,
- Taking aspirin can help you but first, as your healthcare provider.
11- Just Relax!
Stress is not your friend and it can cause tensions in your body. If you apply these tips above, you should keep clear of any arm pain such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
You will gain in productivity, you will be more positive and you won’t jeopardize your health. Working on a computer is not physical but it can become a physical pain so prevention is paramount.
Do you have any other tips you would like to share with us? Please share your tips and comment below. 😉
Product images sourced from Amazon.com.