Computer related back and shoulder pain

Written by christien aguinaldo
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Computer related back and shoulder pain
Incorrect posture while you're seated and working on a computer can cause back and shoulder pain. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Computers are a necessity in today's world for work and leisure. As more people spend long hours in front of the computer, certain health problems have become widespread. Awkward postures while sitting, using the mouse for extended hours and constant use of the keyboard can cause hand, arm, shoulder, neck and back problems. People who spend long hours working on computers can benefit from a suitable desk and chair and using proper posture to reduce the risk of injuries to various parts of the body, such as the back and shoulders, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.


Pain in the back and shoulders occurs primarily due to slumping of the back as the day progresses and tiredness sets in. Due to the slumping, the body takes on a C-shape. This awkward posture puts strain on your muscles and tendons leading to aches and pains in your back and shoulders.


Symptoms of back and shoulder pain due to overuse or improper positioning can occur over a period of time. These aches and pains can happen in your shoulders and back, also known as postural fatigue, or there can be constant pain in the soft tissues like your tendons and muscles, also referred to as repetitive strain injury.


Taking regular breaks every hour can prevent your back and shoulders from getting stiff. An adjustable chair that provides support to the lumbar region of your back is advisable. While sitting, rest your feet on the floor or use a footrest.

Adjust the height of the chair if your feet do not reach the floor. You can also use a chair with adjustable armrests, which offers support to the forearms and keeps the elbows close to the waist. Keeping your keyboard and monitor at the correct height can prevent strain on the shoulders and back. If the desk is 1 to 2 inches above your thighs, the keyboard height is just right for comfortable use; keeping the top part of the screen at eye level is the correct height for your monitor.

If the chair is positioned close to the workstation, you do not have to stretch to reach the keyboard and mouse. This prevents slumping and strain on your muscles. By sitting back and resting against the backrest, your body does not slump or lean forward.

When you experience pain in your neck and shoulders on the side that you use your mouse, it is probably due to the position of your arm when using the mouse. Usually, when the muscles experience fatigue, they begin to ache.

Stretching Exercises

There are several stretching exercises you can do throughout the day to prevent back and shoulder pain from occurring due to extended use of the computer.

You can stand up and stretch your arms over your head to ease the discomfort in the back and shoulders. If performed every hour, it can prevent soreness of the back and shoulders.

Alleviate pain in your shoulders by pushing them up toward your ears. Hold the position for a few seconds before allowing your shoulders to return to their normal position.

You can also stand up and place your hands on your hips. Stretch your spine to let it return to the normal curvature and ease the strain on your back.

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