Did you know that ignoring your shoulder pains can lead to more severe health problems such as severe headaches and muscle disorders? Shoulder pain is a very common problem at any workplace that in a study, 15% of men and 25% of women claim they experience shoulder pains every week.
The strain of your daily hustle can negatively affect your shoulder joints because of long and repetitive movements at work. Our shoulder area consists of various muscles, joints, bones, and tendons. The shoulder joint supports us with mobility and balance as we do different arm movements and physical activities.
Many people who render long hours at work suffer from back shoulder pains since the back muscles tend to tighten up and get weaker over time. Some of its most common causes are awkward postures, consistent pressure of force, and long static positions.
It’s also best to avoid carrying heavy loads and putting too much strain on your shoulders. Chronic shoulder pain and injuries originate from sedentary work environments, so it’s highly essential to practice proper exercises and habits to avoid them.
In this article, we round up the top 7 effective ways to combat shoulder pain at the office to help you achieve better health and wellness. You can easily incorporate these tips into your daily routine for more significant results. Check them out!
Ditch Sedentary Sitting For Longer Periods
Sedentary sitting or being inactive for an extended time by sitting is a big factor which contributes to your shoulder pain and stiffness. It’s not healthy for your body, especially with your blood flow and joints’ mobility.
To counteract this, we recommend that you simply find ways to keep moving in between your work. It’s ideal to take a 5-minute break for each hour that you spend sitting. For instance, you can take a walk around your office for some short errands or even take a restroom break now and then.
Skipping the elevator and going for the stairs during lunchtime can also be helpful to get that 5-minute break. You may also incorporate stretch exercises to maximize the relaxing time. Overall, it’s all about getting used to getting breaks from sitting to avoid more pressure to your shoulders.
Adopt Correct Sitting Posture
After a long day at work, you may have this unnoticed habit of slouching, which tends to worsen your posture and strain your shoulder even more. Make it a point to be aware of how you sit at work by checking these simple guidelines:
First, place your feet flat on the ground or a footrest. Then, make sure that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Find good support for your lower back through a comfortable chair and rest your elbows close to your body, so it’s well-supported.
After this, check the alignment of your hands and wrists if they are in line with your forearms. You should also maintain your relaxed shoulders to avoid muscle stress.
Align Mouse, Keyboard, and Monitor Height
If you find yourself often reaching forward to access your mouse and keyboard, it’s time to change that habit to combat your back shoulder pain. Ergonomics, which aims to maintain a healthy working environment, is all about having comfortable adjustments in your working space.
The key to achieve this is by relaxing your shoulders, positioning your wrists in a straight direction to the keyboard, and having support in your palms. Make sure that your tabs on your keyboard are flat to maintain the proper alignment of your wrists.
Your monitor’s height should also be positioned straight to your eye view to avoid neck strain, which eventually leads to shoulder pain. To check if you have the right monitor positioning, the first text on your screen should be at your eye level or a little lower.
You can also use a monitor stand to effortlessly adjust your monitor’s height according to your sitting position.
Learn To Stretch
Shoulder stretching is one of the best ways to relieve back muscle pain since it aids tightness and muscle tension in your shoulders. According to a report of the Wellness Council of America, stretching in the office reduces your chances of getting musculoskeletal disorders.
Stretching also promotes productivity and lessens your stress during work. As endorsed by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, take note of these simple shoulder stretches you can achieve even when you’re just seated:
Tilt your head to the right towards your shoulders while facing straight. Then, hold that stretch for 3-5 seconds to feel the tension release from your neck and shoulders. Do this on the opposite side and horizontally as well.
Shoulder Roll and Shrug
Imagine drawing circles through your shoulders in a forward then backward motion to release tension. For the shrug, push your shoulders upward towards your ears, hold it for 5 seconds, then release.
Put your hands on the back of your neck and push your chest out to stretch your upper back. You will feel your shoulder blades move towards each other to release your shoulder pains.
Buy A Standing Desk
Gaining good posture is the key to relieve all your shoulder pain problems. In line with this, getting yourself a standing desk converter is very beneficial to maintain a proper spine position while you’re working.
You will also avoid slouching with this tool and avoid further strains on your shoulder. As mentioned earlier, standing is always a good practice to prevent shoulder pains, given your lack of movement when you’re seated all day.
Don’t worry because you can always alternate your usage of a standing desk and your typical office chair to balance out your muscle activities.
Shuffle Up Your Furniture and Work Tools
Your work setup should be adjusted to suit all your needs without straining your body. Switching up your desk station or work tools can help balance the stress your muscles receive daily. Look into creating a feng shui environment to give you better energy.
One example of switching up your work station is to face your desk outside a window instead of a wall, if applicable. You can also change up your work tools like placing your computer tower on the opposite side of your desk from time to time to keep the balance perfect. Through it, both of your shoulders would get a fair amount of movement without overworking them.
You should also always check the other tools which usually hassle you when it comes to accessing them. Make sure that all your essential work items are within your reach so that your arms and shoulders are always relaxed amidst your heavy workload.
Maintain Your Health, Daily Exercise, and Physical Checkups
Always remember that your overall health will reflect on your body pains, specifically in your shoulders. Therefore, doing regular exercise and eating nutritious food will significantly improve your shoulder pain.
It’s best to work on your flexibility and upper back strength to make up for your lack of movement when you sit at work all day. If you continuously feel pain on your back and shoulders, we highly recommend that you get it checked with your doctor to avoid worse effects on your health.
Moreover, shoulder pains are usually related to your neck and upper back. It’s helpful to take care of your neck and upper back by doing specific exercises, yoga, or stretches. Don’t dismiss these pains and call for professional help when needed.
Shoulder pains are common and easy to treat with the right approaches. Just be patient in practicing these tips, and you will surely attain relief sooner than later.
We often take for granted the functions of our shoulders, so getting a massage, therapy, and exercise is truly a must, especially if you’re working and seated most of the time.
We should also highlight the importance of ergonomics to enhance the quality of our work and body mobility. Always make time to improve your work station and increase your movements to avoid shoulder pains and other health concerns.
What are the other habits do you practice to avoid shoulder pain? We would love to hear from you in the comment section below.
You may also like these articles from Desk Advisor:
- What is the sitting disease and how to fight it?
- Sitting is the new smoking
- Are you constantly tired from studying?
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