A pilot randomised control trial of the effectiveness of a biofeedback mouse in reducing self-reported pain among office workers

Ergonomics. 2013;56(1):59-68. doi: 10.1080/00140139.2012.733735. Epub 2012 Nov 12.


A pilot study examined the effectiveness of a biofeedback mouse in reducing upper extremity pain and discomfort in office workers; in addition, relative mouse use (RMU), satisfaction and the feasibility of running a randomised controlled trial (RCT) in a workplace setting were evaluated. The mouse would gently vibrate if the hand was idle for more than 12 s. The feedback reminded users to rest the arm in neutral, supported postures. Analysis showed a statistically significant reduction in shoulder pain and discomfort for the intervention group at T2 (38.7% lower than controls). Statistically significant differences in RMU time between groups were seen post intervention (-7% at T1 and +15% at T2 for the intervention group). Fifty-five percent of the intervention group was willing to continue using the mouse. It appears feasible to perform an RCT for this type of intervention in a workplace setting. Further study including more participants is suggested.

Practitioner summary: The study findings support the feasibility of conducting randomised control trials in office settings to evaluate ergonomics interventions. The intervention resulted in reduced pain and discomfort in the shoulder. The intervention could be a relevant tool in the reduction of upper extremity musculoskeletal disorder. Further research will better explain the study's preliminary findings.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biofeedback, Psychology / instrumentation*
  • Computer Peripherals*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Office Automation
  • Pilot Projects
  • Shoulder Pain / prevention & control*