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A Medical-Ergonomic Program for Symptomatic Keyboard/Mouse Users

Bleecker, Margit L. MD, PhD; Celio, Mark A. MA; Barnes, Sheryl K. MAc, OTR/L

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2011 - Volume 53 - Issue 5 - p 562–568
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31821719af
Original Articles

Objective: To describe the range of ergonomic stressors and effective interventions in otherwise healthy patients diagnosed with upper extremity disorders associated with occupational keyboard/mouse use.

Methods: From patients treated in our Medical-Ergonomic Program, we report demographic data, symptoms, signs, diagnoses and associated ergonomic stressors and response to medical/ergonomic interventions.

Results: Fifty-six patients had a mean age (range) of 40 (23–61) years with 20 patients younger than 35 years. The most prevalent diagnoses were myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) of shoulder/neck associated with poor posture, MPS of forearm extensors followed by thoracic outlet syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome. Common ergonomic stressors were typing/mousing technique, keyboard height, inadequate seating, and lack of breaks. Improvement occurred in 89% following medical/ergonomic intervention.

Conclusion: Ergonomic education/intervention must be combined with the medical treatment of work-related upper extremity disorders associated with keyboard/mouse use.

From the Center for Occupational and Environmental Neurology, Baltimore, Md.

Address correspondence to: Margit L. Bleecker, MD, PhD, Center for Occupational and Environmental Neurology, 2 Hamill Road, Suite 225, Baltimore, MD 21210 (coen@msn.com).

©2011The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine