When the nerve that runs from the arm to the fingers becomes compressed, pain and swelling can occur. Called carpal tunnel syndrome, the condition is a common problem for people working on computers for long periods. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome typically begin at the inside of the thumb and the middle and index fingers, the digits that usually control the mouse. Pain medication and destabilization are common forms of treatment. Exercise can reduce pain and help to prevent complications.
Stretch your fingers to loosen up the tendons and muscles and avoid cramps. Stretching warms up the fingers to prepare for work. Pull back each finger individually as far as you can without causing pain. Hold for a few seconds and release. Continue on each finger that holds and works the buttons on your mouse and then stretch all the fingers at once to stretch the palm of your hand, which also tends to tighten up when working with a mouse for long periods.
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Make a fist with your mouse hand to reverse the resistance and strengthen your fingers after doing your stretching exercises. Tighten your fist by squeezing your fingers into the palm of your hand and hold for five seconds. Release and repeat five times. Use a foam or rubber stress ball to achieve the same results.
Hold your arm up so that blood flows away from your fingers. Splay your fingers and rotate each finger individually. Make small circles with your thumb five times. Next rotate your index finger, then middle finger, ring and pinkie.
Do the exercises for a couple minutes every hour to give your mouse hand a break. To prevent carpal tunnel syndrome in your other hand, complete the exercises on both hands when you break.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, alternative therapies such as acupuncture have proven useless for combating carpal tunnel syndrome pain. The exception is yoga, which reduces the pain associated with the condition while increasing grip strength.
Exercises primarily are designed to prevent pain and swollen flare-ups in the hands and mouse fingers. Check with your doctor before starting the exercises if you are undergoing treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome to make sure that stretching and strengthening routines will not induce further pain and cause any other complication. Tendon gliding exercises that stretch and pull the tendon gradually can irritate or re-injure the tendon.