The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Point, Click … Ow!

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Here we go again. I should have known when I resorted to the last resort. I’ve deal with carpal tunnel syndrome time and time and time again. I’ve tried wrist braces, creams, ointments , and every remedy I can find at CVS. Friday, I broke out the Capzasin. Every time that happens, I pretend that I won’t have the same reaction — a tingling that eventually turns into a burning sensation that I end of trying to get rid of any way possible. So, by the time I got home on Friday, I was washing it off with dish detergent, and then laundry detergent.

After about five or six washings I got some relief. Then I resorted to a remedy I looked up online, poured milk over my arm, and massaged it in like it was soap. That worked, and I was able to sleep without feeling like my arm was on fire. But that only solved one problem.

There was still my right arm, which often hurts from the wrist down to the elbow, along with occasional numbness and tingling in the fingers. I’ve tried different remedies. When it comes to wrist braces I alternate between the CarpalMate and the Smart Glove. In the ointment department I’ve had the best luck with Tiger Balm, though I’ve also tried one homeopathic remedy called Topricin, though I can’t tell how well it’s working most of the time.

So I did an Amazon search for “carpal tunnel” in hopes of finding another ointment remedy, but I saw a mouse or two among the results. Then it occurred to me: it’s my “mousing arm” that’s giving me trouble. So maybe I need a better mouse. I’ve got it narrowed down to a few, and I’ll probably buy at least two — one for home and one for work.

I’m already using the Logitech Optical Marble Mouse at work (which everyone who’s used my computer hates) and the Logitech Trackman Wheel Optical. But neither has given me much relief So, it’s time to upgrade. Here are my choices. If anyone’s used any of these, or has any thoughts on them, I’m all ears.

The first that caught my eye was the 3M Ergonomic Mouse.

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It looks rather joystick-like, but it’s not really. You move the cursor by sliding the mouse around the desk or other mousing surface. It’s a decent price on Amazon, but some of the reviews suggest that the movement accuracy isn’t all that great. Still, the vertical grip of this mouse was an eye-opener. I’m sure I knew such mice existed, but ‘d never considered buying one.

Speaking of vertical mice, I scrolled down a bit and the Evoluent Vertical Mouse caught my eye.

This one looks promising.

It’s a little bit pricier than the 3M mouse, but given the amount of time I spend at the computer I’m not above plunking down a reasonable amount of money on something that’s going to help me not end up in pain afterwards.

Next was another interesting looking mouse, the Zero Tension Mouse.

This one seems like a combination of the first two, and even appears to be a bit more ergonomic.

Like the previous one a bit pricier than the 3M mouse, but if it means less pain, I’ll pay it, since I’m unlikely to spend less time on the computer given my line of work and that I’m not planning to give up blogging or writing any time soon.

From here, it got even more interesting, when I came across a model similar to the other three, but with a different approach. That’s the Wowpen mouse.

Funny thing, I never learned how to hold a pen properly. When I was in grade school, and suffering through handwriting lessons, my mom put those triangular rubber grips on all my pencils. To no avail. Today, I have the handwriting of a deranged axe murderer. But it looks interesting.

And the price? Not bad. Comparable to the 3M mouse, and with a bit more of a sleek design. However, reading reviews of the three above didn’t give me the best impression of the Wow-Pen Eco. In fact, Extreme Tech reviewed all three and gave it a dishonorable mention. In general, negative reviewers knock it’s size as being too small for anyone with large hands. The scrollwheel placement also came in for criticism. However, the company recently came out with the Wow-Pen Joy.

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It’s so new I haven’t been able to find any real reviews of it, but just looking at the pictures it seems to lack a bit selling point of the 3M and Zero Tension mice: a place for the hand to rest, off the desk. CNET’s review of the Evoluent mouse cited that as a drawback, because the hand slips off the mouse and drags along the desk, which I guess means it takes more effort to move. Unfortunately, it’s only available online, so I can’t stroll into the nearest computer shop to check one out.

In the meantime, there’s one that I’m may get, whether I get one of the above or not: the Logisys Optical Finger Mouse.

I admit, I’m intrigued by this one, just because it’s so unusual. But it looks pretty functional too.

It’s small enough to carry anywhere, and easy to use in cramped spaces, where there may not be enough room to use a regular mouse. Plus, you can use it on just about any surface, including your leg, if you need to. That can save your wrist if you’re tired of working on a desk. And the price is more than reasonable. (I can pony up a bit more for a wireless version if I want.) Besides, I don’t currently have a mouse that I travel with or that stays in my backpack.

So, which ones look interesting? Which, if any, have you used?

2 Comments

  1. Personally, I’m a _huge_ fan of Wacom tablets (Here’s their page on RSI and ergonomics).

  2. I’m using an Evoluent for one of my computers at work and am very happy with it. It’s helped quite a bit with the elbow problems as well, not just the wrist/hand issues.

    On the other computer I’m using a RollerMouse which isn’t as good, but that’s the Windows box which I use as rarely as possible so it doesn’t matter that much.

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