Stop Your Computer Work From Damaging Your Shoulders

Stop Your Computer Work From Damaging Your Shoulders

Dennis Snider

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Working all day at a computer station, or even just using your computer at home, can be a quick route to causing serious neck and shoulder pain.

Thankfully there are things you can do to mitigate this effect. These include improving your posture, reshaping your office or home workspace, and taking action to reduce stress on your body. Using ergonomic systems and design you can eliminate much of the cause of shoulder and neck pain.

Proper Posture
Having awareness of your posture when sitting is crucial. Make sure that when you are sitting, your feet are comfortably firm and flat on the floor or footrest, with your thighs parallel with the ground. You should have good support for your lower back and your elbows, which should be close in to your body, with relaxed shoulders and hands and wrists kept in line with your forearms. It’s easy to start the day with this posture, but equally easy to let it slide as the day wears on. Experts suggest that tai chi or yoga could help you learn to maintain your posture.

Ergonomics
If your desk is too high above your elbows, it will tire your shoulders. If it can’t be adjusted, think about attaching a special tray for your keyboard and mouse to lower their level. Computer monitors should be roughly an arm’s length from the user, with the top edge of the screen a little below eye level. Both monitor and keyboard should be in line with the center of your body to stop the stress on nerves and muscles caused by having to keep twisting to look at them. Keep everything you need to use frequently close by, so you don’t have to keep stretching out and twisting to access them.

Proper Phone Usage
If you have to use the phone a lot, think about getting a headset, or at least don’t fall into the habit of resting the phone between your ear and shoulder, twisting your neck. Keep the phone next to your weaker hand, so you can use your dominant hand to undertake tasks while talking, lowering the temptation to cradle the phone.

Mouse Usage
Think about moving your mouse across your desk; this can stop your usual mouse hand being subjected to repetitive strain.

Frequent Breaks
Try and plan your day so you are never doing the same thing for too long; breaking up your routines means that different muscle groups will get a workout and as such the risk of strain is reduced.
Regular breaks can also help; some experts suggest a 30-second break every 30 minutes as a minimum, during which you should shake out your arms and hands and spend a little time focusing somewhere else other than your workstation to reset your vision and neck muscles. Go for a short walk every couple of hours, even if it’s only to the bathroom, and think about taking a longer walk around a local park or other attraction during your lunch break.

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