Shoulder / Upper Back Pain

Shoulder pain and upper back pain are common side effects of stress and Repetitive Strain Injuries.  Here are a few resources to help treat and even avoid it.

Avoid Shoulder and Neck Pain at Work- Move Your Mouse

Shoulder & Neck Pain at the End of the Day?

Sitting at a desk all day using your mouse doesn’t seem like it's hard work.  But if you’re like many with a desk job, you often come home with neck and shoulder pain.  That tired, achy, stressed-out feeling may not all be coming from the mental stress.  Just as with any other activity there are muscles, tendons, and ligaments involved with sitting in a non-neutral position as you use your mouse. Those most often affected are the shoulder and neck.  The main problems are misalignment, stretching, or holding your body in one set position, which stresses the affected body parts. Maintaining a stretch as you use your mouse is a common occurrence. Follow the three simple tips below and you’ll most likely begin to see a difference in your neck and shoulder pain. 

If the height of your desk doesn’t match the correct height at which you are sitting you could be raising your shoulders constantly as you work.  As desk that is too high will cause you to raise your shoulders to prop on the desk.  This results in strain and pain.  Also a desk that is too low can have you stretching and reaching and constantly looking down as you work.  Again, shoulder and neck pain are a result.

4 Mousing Tips 

  1. Check Your Desk.  If the height of your desk doesn’t fit you specifically, you could be raising your shoulders constantly as you work.  Adesk that is too high will cause you to raise your shoulders to prop on the desk.  This results in strain and pain.  Also a desk that is too low can have you stretching and reaching and constantly looking down as you work.  Again, shoulder and neck pain are a result.  Also, consider an armrest with movement to ease the strain on your shoulder when working at your desk or a highback executive chair to ease neck and shoulder strain.

  2. Neutral Positioning.  Make sure when you sit at your desk, your neck and shoulder muscles aren’t in use.  You want the neck and shoulder to be in a neutral position, neither leaning forward or backward nor raised.  They should be at rest.
  3. Mouse Placement.  As you’re using your mouse, pay close attention to its placement and the position of your upper body. It is not uncommon to find that your mouse is too far away from your body and your keyboard.  This causes you to raise your shoulder and place it in a stressful position when using your mouse and to stretch and reach too much.  This stretching and reaching activates neck, shoulder, and upper back muscles. Additionally, if you keep your hand on your mouse for extended periods as you work, the aches and pains are worse. So, try placing your mouse closer to your keyboard.  You can either move your mouse closer to your keyboard or you can opt for a keyboard with a touchpad.  The touchpad replaces the mouse so you’re no longer stretching and straining the muscles.  
  4. Switch to a Left-Handed keyboard.  Switching to a left-handed keyboard reduces those awkward positions.  With a left-handed keyboard, the numeric keypad is on the left side of the keyboard.  This allows you to place your mouse closer to the keyboard, thus preventing those awkward pain-causing positions. Don’t need a numeric keypad?  Consider using a keyboard that replaces it with a touchpad.  Using a touchpad instead of a mouse also eliminates those awkward positions when working with mouse and keyboard