Pain in the elbow while working at the computer?
Do you suffer from mouse elbow or computer elbow? You might, if you have pain on the outside of your elbow. Get relief now and stop the pain from returning!
Pain in the elbow is one of the more frequent complaints of patients working at the computer next to the carpal tunnel syndrome. Unfortunately, the many hours of lack of exercise has big consequences for our tendons, muscles and joints. If you feel the first ailments within the elbow, it is worth finding the cause of the pain and preventing it before the problem becomes chronic.
Pain in the elbow while working at the computer – what really hurts us?
Pain in the elbow during work at the computer in most patients is a result of the disease in the extensor tendons and less often in the wrist and finger flexors that attach to the elbow. Some time ago it was discovered that these are not inflammatory changes. The cause of pain is the degeneration of collagen fibers and the formation of pathological blood vessels and nerves. If the changes include wrist extenders on the side of the joint, we are talking about the tennis elbow. The disease on the opposite side of the wrist flexor tendons is called the golfer’s elbow.
Pain in the elbow may also result from irritation of the nerves running around the elbow. From the inside, the ulnar nerve follows, which is easily compressed. On the outer side, the radial nerve is less likely to have problems.
The less common causes of elbow pain are changes in one of the three joints present here and bursitis.
„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. „
Pain in the elbow while working on a computer – why is this happening?
- As you type on the keyboard, your finger moves repeatedly. Raise your finger and then press it to the key …. and thousands of times. And what do our fingers and elbow share? It turns out that a lot. When the finger is lifted, the muscles of the extensor muscles are activated, while the flexors muscles work while the key is pressed. Both muscle groups have their origin just around the elbow. Repeated movements may consequently lead to degenerative changes at the site of the tendon attachment to the bone. In this situation, we feel the pain of the elbow when we move our fingers or wrist.
- Man is created for constant movement, alternating bending and straightening the elbow. Our joints should work to the full extent, because only then comes to their proper nutrition. At a time when all human activities were physical, there was no problem. Working on the computer means that our elbow is in many hours in the same bent position. It is a very unnatural behavior for our joints, muscles and tendons. Elbow structures are ischemic and prone to damage.
- The long hours of flexion of the elbow also has a negative effect on the nerves running in its vicinity. The ulnar nerve is particularly exposed, which runs in this area in a special groove. At the moment when we bend the elbow, our nerve must freely slip through the groove. For various reasons, there may be a situation where its movement is disturbed. This is often the case for anatomical reasons, consisting in the incorrect construction of the groove, for which we have no influence. As long as you make various movements with your elbow during the day, the problem may not occur. At the moment when we keep our elbow many hours in the flexion, and the nerve movement in the groove is limited, irritation may occur. Expertly, we’re talking about the ulnar groove syndrome.
- Working on a standard mouse causes that our forearm is rotated and is in the pronation position. This is not a comfortable situation for our forearm, which is in constant tension. In addition, this setting causes that we have to keep the mouse slightly still. An alternative is the vertical mouse, otherwise known as vertical.
- Some standard mice are too large in relation to the patient’s structure, which causes the wrist to be in an upright position. In other words, it is slightly tilted up. This position affects the greater activation of the finger extensors that attach to the lateral side of the elbow.
Pain in the elbow during work on the computer – symptoms.
In the initial stage, elbow pain can happen once in a while, it can also intensify with working hours. In a situation where the disease is advanced, pain may appear already in the first hour of work, as well as during daily activities. In the late stage, the pain may also occur at rest.
In the case of tendon disease in the initial stage, the pain involves one small point. Usually we are able to indicate the place of pain with one finger. As the disease develops, the symptoms may radiate downwards, we may also have the impression that the entire forearm is tense and painful.
In case the problem is an irritated nerve, from the very beginning you can feel the pain radiating down even to the fingers of your hands. Symptoms have a sharp character and can appear when we put our elbow on the desk or can build up when the forearm is in a bent position for a long time. Additionally, we can feel the weakness of the hand.
Evaluation of workplace ergonomics. An attempt to change the mouse, seat settings and other elements that may affect the occurrence of damage. Also important are breaks at work and simple exercises and techniques of automation at work. If you plan to visit a physiotherapist, it is worth taking a photo of our workstation and hand position on the mouse beforehand.
In some cases, especially at the time of severe pain, a special tennis-band is helpful.