Avoiding Neck Pain, Shoulder Pain and Arm Pain at Work

Avoiding Neck Pain, Shoulder Pain and Arm Pain at Work

Mar 28, 2012
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HELPING TO REDUCE NECK ARM AND SHOULDER PAIN AT WORK
In response to a question we received on Facebook here are our 5 top tips for avoiding neck pain, shoulder pain and arm pain whilst at work.
1. Ensure your workstation is set up correctly.
You should be sat directly in front of your computer rather than at an angle and have your arms comfortably to your side. Your forearms should be horizontal and your eyes should be just above the level of the top of your monitor. Keep your shoulders relaxed and make sure your mouse is not too far away from you. Make sure your seat is at the right height and you have a small gap behind your knees between the knee and chair.  Put your buttocks right back in the seat so that when you sit up you have a good lumbar curve.  Keep your back against the back of the seat but don’t lean back on it.  Ensure your feet are flat on the floor.
Look at this diagram to ensure you have the right position.
Guidance can also be found on the HSE website (self-assessment guides) at http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/services/safety/computer-workstations-self-assessments-dse-risk-assessments.cfm
2.            Get the mouse right.
There are several ways you can use your mouse to minimise strain on your arm and forearm.  Try using the other hand or alternate your left and right hand.  Position the mouse closer to the keyboard to avoid having to turn your arm out to reach it.  Slow down the mouse and reduce the number of clicks required by adjusting the settings in the control panel of your computer.  Try using keystrokes instead of the mouse for certain actions (this can be done by looking in the tools menu).
Use different mouse devices and rotate them so you change them regularly.
3.            Get the right hardware.
There are various ergonomic designs of mouse and keyboard on the market so think about having a trip to a computer shop to try some out.  Talk to your employer if you think you may benefit from a different type of device – you never know they might even buy one for you!
4.            Take regular breaks from the screen.
Every 15 to 20 minutes you should look away from the screen to avoid your eyes getting dry and strained.  Try looking to a different part of the office and blinking repeatedly for a few seconds (though its best to avoid looking at a colleague whilst doing this as they may get the wrong idea!)
5.            Stretch
Stretch your forearms regularly by holding your arms out in front of you and pulling your hand towards you first palm up, then palm down. 
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds each.
Clasp your hands together and push them away from you whilst pushing your spine backwards.  This will give a good stretch across your back.  Complement this by pushing left, right, up and down also.
Stretch your head in each direction and allow the weight of the head to stretch the muscles of the opposite side.
Keep an eye on the website for upcoming guidance on stretching.
Follow these tips to help avoid pain and discomfort in your neck, shoulders and arms whilst at work.

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