For a number of years I have suffered with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Its probably inevitable given the amount of time I have spent either playing the piano and recorder, typing and using a mouse over the last couple of decades and I have always just accepted it and got on with my typing. However for my birthday this year I got a trackball and found this alleviated the pain and swelling slightly. Taking this one step further I then heard about the 3M Ergonomic mouse and have been trialling one for the last few days.
Initially I found that the ergonomic mouse alleviated any pain as my hand was in a really comfortable position, the scroll feature was excellent as it was one button click and then you can simply move the joystick backwards and forwards to scroll. This was great for reading long documents and white papers (which I do quite a bit of) however when it came to browsing websites this became quite cumbersome and for selecting information, clicking and dragging it is increasingly difficult to maintain accuracy with the ergonomic mouse.
So I found myself switching back to the trackball which is fantastic for accuracy, a good position for your hand and really easy to use. The downside of the trackball is that the additional buttons are programmed as forward and back functions. Even if you install the logitech software and reprogram these buttons they are not ideally placed to use for scrolling. Inevitably I returned to the traditional mouse for general web-surfing and scrolling while switching back to either the trackball for more accurate work such as design jobs and the ergonomic mouse for hefty reading and scrolling.
Carpal tunnel is made worse by prolonged periods of keeping your hand in the same position and using a repeated motion, therefore my system of switching between three different devices was ultimately the best for relieving my symptoms as I was constantly changing position and actions. Actually it became quite natural to reach for the most suitable device for the job I was doing so I think I can conclude that multiple input devices used for a variety of tasks are the way forward.
I think I must add though that the lack of accuracy and cumbersome nature of the ergonomic mouse has since led to it being unplugged and relegated in favour of my traditional mouse and trackball in unison depending on the task. Until, that is the scientists develop something even better.