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Back to Routine, Back to Ergonomics

With the change in routine through the summer months, it is time to rethink about how we are sitting and working all day to make sure our body can adjust to the new routines that are devoid of summer vacation and summer activities.

In our previous posts, we have discussed using proper ergonomics to help support your back and neck.  Today, we look at how to reduce shoulder pain and related injuries.

Sloppy shoulders – are you guilty? Take a second to freeze at your desk and notice how your body is positioned. If you are like most people, your shoulders are slumped or rounded and you are bending over your desk. Many people’s work stations consist of their computer or laptop, keyboards, phone and mobile devices, requiring them to switch back and forth between devices while still spending extended periods of time in a seated, slumped position.

Being in this position for an extended period causes strain to the upper body, particularly the shoulders and upper back. At first, you may feel achy or tired in these areas, but this goes away at night or during days off work so it doesn’t impact your work performance. However, over time you may start to notice that your aches and pains begin earlier in the day, your muscles feel tight, and this starts to hamper you even when you aren’t at work. This impacts your productivity, quality of life and can lead to more serious and long-lasting injuries.

Here are some great tips to help address these issues before they start to impact your daily function, or if they do exist, to stop them from worsening:

• Lower your keyboard so your shoulders are not elevated when typing.

• Adjust your posture so you are sitting up straight in your chair, with your shoulders pulled away from your ears and your feet are flat on the floor with your knees directly over them.

• Alter your position so that you are not reaching forward to your keyboard or mouse.

• Adjust your chair so that your arms reach your desk at a 90 degree angle.

• Take regular breaks to stretch or stand up to relieve tension in your upper body.

• Stick out your chest to bring your shoulders back and down. Do this several times per day and hold this position.

Want more strategies to address pain at work? Check out our free e-book “Cost Effective Ergonomic Solutions” to learn additional strategies for addressing shoulder and upper back pain, among others, while you are sitting at your desk.

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