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Shoulder Pain

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As I reached around from the front seat to the back seat to hand my son his dropped sippy cup one more time, I felt the familiar strain on my rotator cuff. The first thing I thought was, We need to teach him that the word "uh-oh!!" is meant for accidents and is not a happy exclamation. My second thought was, I need to be more careful with how I strain myself. Sometimes, it seems easier to just act in the moment (reaching awkwardly for a cup so your toddler will quit repeating Uh-oh! Uh-oh!) or go with the flow (continuing to work in an uncomfortable work station). However, in the long run, taking a few minutes to turn properly yo reach the cup or to rethink your work set-up will only take a a few minutes, but will prolong the health of your shoulder. Besides sports and children-rearing injuries, bad work station ergonomics are the main culprit for aching shoulders.

Here are a few tips for avoiding shoulder strain or even injury at work:

Tip # 1

Check your shoulder position. Most people raise their shoulders as they work as a result of propping your forearms on a desk that is too high. Sitting for hours with neck and shoulder muscles raised in one position contributes heavily to aches and pains. To keep shoulders relaxed as you work, consider an adjustable ergonomic desk and chair.

Tip # 2

Organize and clean out your work area. Clutter under your desk can cause you to sit too far away from your work surface, which results in extended reaching to access work items. Prolonged reaching places stress on muscles and tendons, causing aches and pains.

Tip # 3

Check the armrests of your chair and make sure they allow you to sit in a neutral position. Armrests that are too high or too low places strain on the neck and shoulders. Again, you need adjustability.

Like I said earlier, it's easy to make bad choices in the moment. I am trying to force myself to pull over to deal with toddler issues in the car instead of killing my shoulders while driving (which is not exactly safe either). Similarly, I am checking how I sit when I work so that I am not unknowingly adding problems to my already aging body. We've gotta do what we can to stay healthy and productive.