Bodily aches and shoulder pain are not just reserved for manual-labor jobs. Causes of shoulder pain come in all different shapes. Office workers are susceptible to acute joint pain as well. However, if you have more of an office-based job, it can be easy to write off any shoulder pain as something non-work related. This leads to chronic pain, when the solution may literally be at the end of your fingertips. Shoulder pain can be caused by prolonged, repetitive, or awkward movements. If you are concerned you may be at risk of developing shoulder pain, or you are already experiencing it, read on to learn about and avoid the top five potential causes of shoulder pain in office workers.
Your grandmother’s advice about standing up straight may be ringing in your ears, but your posture has a big impact on your muscles. If you sit slumped over in your chair all day, you may be doing more than just looking shorter than usual. Poor posture, day after day, can really affect the muscles in your neck, shoulders, and back and lead to shoulder pain. If you feel yourself slouching, stand up for a quick stretch! When you sit back down, focus on drawing your shoulder blades closer together to correct your posture.
Mechanical Contact Stress
As most office work happens on a computer, you may underestimate the amount of time you spend on your keyboard. Mechanical contact stress is the force applied to a person’s body parts when they are in continual contact with a hard surface. This puts these body parts under intense pressure and can lead to problems with the muscles and tendons. Because typing is a major component of working in an office, employees often find themselves resting their wrists on their desks while you’re typing. Aside from the pressure on your wrists, if your desk happens to be at the wrong level you may be doing more damage to your shoulders than you think. Take occasional breaks from typing, or if that’s not possible focus on keeping your wrists and forearms raised while typing.
Sedentary Work Environment
The less you use your muscles, the weaker they get. A typical office job involves a large amount of sitting in the same position. When you find yourself in an inactive work environment, you may be doing damage to the muscles and tendons in your body. To combat muscle weakness in the office, make a point to get up every thirty minutes and stretch or take a walk around the office. There is a wide variety of wearable technology that can remind you to get up and move, which may be worth the investment if you are inactive at your 9 to 5.
Twisting or Craning Neck
If you are often going to meetings or viewing presentations, you’ll want to make a plan for finding a good seat. Twisting or craning your neck for extended periods of time can put severe stress on your neck and shoulder muscles. Try to arrive a bit earlier to meetings if possible, or have someone save you a good seat! You will also want to make sure your own work space is set up so your head can be level. That means you’ve positioned your desk, chair, and monitor at the perfect level so your eyes are parallel with your screen.
Cradling a Phone
Some office positions require their employees to be on the phone often. If this is your situation, there are ways you can still perform your job without straining or stressing your muscles. If your phone calls are typically quick, just make it a point to hold the phone to your ear with your hand as opposed to your shoulder. For employees who spend longer periods of time on the phone, technology again comes to the rescue! Instead of cradling a phone between your ear and shoulder, which puts stress on your neck, invest in a headset. Headsets allow you a hands-free option for communication, and there are many smaller headsets or earpieces that are less noticeable.
At the Pro Active Pain Clinic in Toronto, we specialize in precision shoulder pain management. Our clinic focuses on the treatment of chronic severe shoulder pain. We use the most advanced non-surgical treatment technology to give you the highest chance of relief. If you haven’t found a treatment method that works, we may be able to help you. Reach out for a free initial consultation with us and check out our website to learn more about our treatment procedures! We are covered by most private insurance companies, and we do direct billing through your private insurance.