Computers are useful devices that can be found in different environments including the workplace, homes and schools. With advances in technology and the increasing availability of the Internet, more people use computers to perform different activities.
However, shoulder pain is becoming one of the main complaints from people who use computers. The issue is not the actual use of computers or the usefulness of the device.
On the contrary, the main culprit regarding the onset of shoulder pain from computer use is poor posture.
#1 Culprit to Shoulder Pain from Computer Use
Proper posture is probably something that a significant number of people are aware of.
However, many people do not adhere to associated guidelines or put their knowledge about proper posture into good use.
When proper posture is ignored while using computers, people may begin to notice aches and pain around the shoulder area. Using computers can be so captivating and this can contribute to maintaining improper postures for prolonged periods of time.
Sometimes, people do not notice how poorly they are sitting while using a computer because they become heavily engrossed in the material on their computer screen.
Also, in some cases, a person may remain in the same unfavorable position for hours while using a computer and may only notice tangible signs of pain when an attempt is made to adjust positions or perform another activity.
What You can do About Shoulder Pain from Computer Use
Understanding the dangers of poor posture is one of the main ways to avoid shoulder pain, especially with reference to computer user which introduces its own special characteristics.
If people begin to notice shoulder pain from computer use, correcting their posture is a good first step to help alleviate the problem. However, if a habit of poor posture has been developed, it can take a lot of practice and conscious effort to break old habits and develop new ones that adhere to proper posture guidelines. As a person begins to slump back into a position of poor posture, immediate posture correction is necessary and should be maintained throughout the activity. This corrective approach should be continued until bad posture habits become yesterday’s news.
Other Factors that Lead to Shoulder Pain from Computer Use
Although poor posture can significantly generate shoulder pain during computer use, other factors can also contribute to shoulder pain. This includes improper equipment while using computers.
Proper equipment for computer use can include a sturdy chair and table at a height that is appropriate for the user. Adjustable equipment works best.
Smaller or portable computers may require special accessories that can be used to prop up the devices. For instance, tablet computers can have accompanying docking areas which can elevate devices and make their use even more comfortable. When these accessories and attachments are not used as intended, the shoulder joints and other parts of the body can become strained. When the shoulder joints are strained, pain and discomfort become the resulting condition.
With special regard to the safety of consumers and eliminating different types of pain including shoulder pain, product designers are becoming more focused on ergonomic product designs that can help ensure that computer users are protected from unnecessary body strains and pain.
Ergonomic factors also consider ease of use of the device. If computers and associated peripheral devices such as the mouse, keyboard and speakers are designed ergonomically, there will be fewer tendencies to over-exert any part of the body or generate unnatural movements with the shoulder, arms or fingers.
Hence, dealing with shoulder pain from computer use should not only focus on the posture of the user but also on the type of equipment including recommended accessories that are acquired for computer use. Ergonomic computing practices will help prevent shoulder pain from computer use and such practices can also help alleviate shoulder pain that has already developed.
Benefits of Posture on Shoulder Pain
Good posture for computer use and any other activity has two main benefits.
Firstly, good posture eliminates stress and strain on the joints and on other parts of the body. Although mankind may be considered to be a fairly flexible species, the human body was certainly not designed to be a pretzel. For an extremely high percentage of the human population, each joint in the body has a limited range of motions. Attempts to go beyond positions or postures that were intended for the human race can cause pain. Hence, a person sitting properly or using the right posture while using a computer is less likely to strain the shoulder joints and develop shoulder pain.
The second benefit of good posture , especially with regard to avoiding or eliminating shoulder pain from computer use is the ability to actually achieve the intended use of the shoulder, arms and other parts of the body. Apart from causing pain, poor posture while using computers can render the shoulder temporarily immobile or dysfunctional due to strain. In such cases, depending on how extended the strain on the shoulder has been, people can experience a simulation of a frozen shoulder or a locked rotator cuff. This can bring about shoulder pain that could range from mild pain lasting a few minutes or hours to severe pain which can require more advanced treatment procedures.
Also, habits can be difficult to break. For people facing the challenge of breaking bad habits associated with poor posture, repetitive strain on the shoulder area can compound the problem. Repetitive strain on the shoulder joint bones, muscles and ligaments can create continuous deterioration to such as extent that medical attention may be required. Taking appropriate steps to stop the source of the pain can help turn things around. Prevention is the best recommendation, but if shoulder pain has already developed, exercise or physical therapy routines can help ease the discomfort and eliminate the pain entirely.
Exercising a joint that is in pain can seem like an uphill battle. However, gradual and controlled movements are a good place to start. Avoiding too much force while exercising will help ensure that no additional damage is done to the shoulder. It can be quite tempting to want to keep the injured shoulder free from movement but this can actually make things worse. Instead, short exercise routines can be attempted in an effort to loosen up the shoulder and redirect it towards full healing. Other methods of avoiding shoulder pain from computer use can also involve stretching and taking short breaks while using the computer.
If you are looking from some exercises that you can do for your shoulder pain, I go through a bunch in my Shoulder Pain Solved program.
Rick Kaselj, MS