Influence of mouse position on muscular activity in the neck, shoulder and arm in computer users

Appl Ergon. 1998 Dec;29(6):439-43. doi: 10.1016/s0003-6870(98)00008-8.


Anecdotal reports of shoulder and arm discomfort related to computer mouse use are common. The aim of this study of ten subjects was to examine the influence of mouse position, relative to the keyboard, on shoulder and arm muscular activity and working posture. Surface electromyography and the Rapid Upper Limb Assessment were used to determine the differences in muscle activity and posture during an editing task in each of three mouse positions. Significantly less anterior (p = 0.01) and middle (p = 0.03) deltoid electromyographic activity was demonstrated when the computer mouse was positioned adjacent to a keyboard without a numeric pad when compared to performance of an identical task with the mouse adjacent to a standard keyboard. Electromyographic activity in trapezius muscle did not differ between mouse positions. Working posture of right handed mouse users is improved by removal of the numeric keypad.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm / physiology*
  • Computer Peripherals*
  • Electromyography
  • Ergonomics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / prevention & control
  • Posture