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Shoulder Posture and Shoulder Pain

Working life has changed the way we use our bodies.

Certain muscles in the body are ideal for repetitive work, like the heart, which never stops even for a moment, or the muscles of the eye that cause you to blink.

Others muscles are simply not designed for repetitive work.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

Most of our voluntary muscles that involve joint movement, are not designed for repetitive work.

And so, when we sit for hours at the computer doing the same things like typing, or using the mouse, we expose ourselves to a type of injury known as a Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).


Also playing an important role, is our posture. Once again, our bodies were not designed to sit in unnatural positions for long periods of time.

Several parts of our body, like the eyes, wrists, forearms, and back are affected.

We are going to focus on the damage caused to the shoulders.

Rounded Shoulders

One of the more common shoulder related postural problems is called "Rounded Shoulders".

This occurs when you bend forward, and lift your shoulders up and 'Hunch them'. This causes your shoulders to assume a forward lean.

When this happens, the chest is hollowed out, and their capacity for holding air is reduced. The natural curve of the spine is increased, and pain in the neck, shoulders, and back is common.

Postures that require the arms to be stretched out in front for long periods of time, are particularly detrimental.

Improving shoulder posture at the computer

To avoid having to slump forward while working at the computer, you can do a few simple things that will help immensely.

First get a chair that supports your lower back, and allows you to rest on it in a perpendicular posture.

Don't keep your keyboard and mouse far away from you so that you have to stretch to reach them. This will limit the amount of forward stretch, and help avoid bad shoulder posture.

Another important point, is the height of the computer screen.

You can achieve subtle but effective change by ensuring that the computer screen is not so low that you have to tilt your head to see it.

This is not difficult, and all it needs is a thick dictionary, or telephone directory to achieve the desired adjustment.

This forces you to keep a straight chin, raising up the chest, and 'setting' your shoulders back. It's quite amazing, how something so simple can help. But it does.

Another trick, is to adjust the armrests in such a manner that your arms can rest comfortably on them parallel to the floor.

While typing, you mustn't rest all your weight on your forearms, since this can cramp the blood flow, and cause friction on the tendons that are moving back and forth on your forearm as you type.

Having correct keyboard height, and support for your forearms will allow you to relax back your shoulders into their natural position, and help prevent further postural deficiencies.

Once again, each person is unique, and needs special counseling from a professional physio. Make sure that you get the best advice, by engaging the services of one.

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