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Implementing Long-Term Solutions

Implementing Long-Term Solutions

After implementing one or more of the short-term treatments to find fast relief from shoulder pain, it is equally important to consider the cause of pain and make the necessary changes to avoid serious injury.

 

  1. Take a Break: Continue to take breaks from the straining activity of sitting for several hours at a time. A few minutes every hour to stretch can help maintain a pain-free working environment. It also gives the opportunity to return to proper sitting posture as you develop new habits.  
  2. Exercise and Strength-Building: Regular aerobic exercise has been shown to relieve stress and relax muscles. It has also been found that certain strength-building exercises, such as weight lifting, strengthens the shoulder muscles and increases endurance so they are not as susceptible to pain. 
  3. Restore Proper Sitting Posture: Correcting any posture issues is the most important change necessary to relieve shoulder, neck, and back pain. This includes adjusting the chair, the keyboard and mouse placement, and the computer screen or monitor. The ultimate goal is to maintain a neutral typing posture while using your computer more productively.

 

 

More on Ergonomic Adjustments

Your chair is the basis for proper support and good posture. It is important that it be adjusted to fit you specifically. 

  • Start by evaluating the back rest. The chair needs to properly support the curvature of your lower back. Sometimes a rolled towel or additional lumbar support may be necessary. 
  • Next, adjust the height of the chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor and the back of your knees do not touch the edge of the chair seat or pan. 
  • Lastly, the armrests should be placed low enough that the user can relax both arms and shoulders while using a keyboard or mouse.

 

A significant contributor to shoulder pain is the improper height and placement of your computer keyboard and mouse. 

 

  • If a keyboard is too high, the user tenses the shoulder muscles and keeps them raised causing strain and overuse. For the best positioning, use an adjustable tray that places the keyboard one or two inches above your legs, just below your elbow height. 
  • To keep your hands in a relaxed position, slightly angle the keyboard downward away from you. 
  • A computer mouse should be placed as close as possible to the side of the keyboard, at the same height and angle. 
  • Consider using a mini keyboard or other keyboard that does not have the number pad allowing you to bring the mouse closer, lowering the possible strain caused by reaching for your mouse.
  • Users who require a number pad can find a separate keypad that provides the flexibility of placing the keypad in the most comfortable position during heavy use.
  • Your monitor should be at eye level in order to have full visibility without bending your neck or shoulders. You may need to elevate your screen above the top of your desk or work surface.

 

The shoulder is a powerful joint, carefully supported by muscles and other soft tissue, but poor posture and overuse can cause strain and discomfort. Protect yourself from possible injury by giving your body the rest it needs, and by maintaining good posture while at your computer.