Tightness in your shoulder or a twinge of pain in your elbow? “When a person’s back becomes rounded, the shoulder blades roll forward, causing the shoulder joint to become stuck,” says Erik Korzen, a chiropractic physician and educator. “[This] leads to the lengthening of certain muscles and shortening of other muscles. [And] this muscular imbalance will eventually lead to abnormal joint position and lack of range of motion.”
Potential Causes: poor arm support, incorrect arm position, repetitive-use strain, keyboard is too high or too low, chair is too low
How to Fix It
1. Check Your Posture. Help keep your shoulders relaxed by choosing a chair with adequate back support and adjustable height and arm rests. “Ensure the arm rests and keyboard are placed at appropriate heights so that the shoulders are not shrugged while keying and the arms are not extended,” says D’Epagnier. You may need to place the keyboard on a tray or adjust the height of the chair.
2. Get the Right Angle. “Repetitive strain of the shoulder or elbow is usually related to poor mouse or keyboard placement,” says Korzen. To ensure that your keyboard isn’t too close or too far away, too high or too low, adjust your chair height, arm rests and keyboard position to ensure your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, says D’Epagnier.
3. Stretch It Out. Counteract shoulder tightness with an easy stretch you can do at your desk: the seated scapular retraction with external rotation, says Korzen. To do it, squeeze your shoulder blades together and draw them downward, holding and releasing 15 times.