This blog looks at the how a mouse can give you shoulder pain and how to correct it.
The effects of working at a desk and using a mouse can have a huge impact on the shoulder complex. It can cause pain and discomfort and we look at how to correct this and prevent further issues.

Causes of Shoulder Pain.

Work related shoulder pain is becoming more and more common. This is due to the increasing number of professions based at desks and using computers repeatedly throughout their working day.

A common repetitive strain injury (RSI) associated with occupations involving computer use is mouse shoulder. This condition refers to the pain felt after long periods of sitting at a desk with your arm in an outreached position in order to use your mouse. In order to move a mouse your wrist, hand and fingers have to perform small focused movements, which may lead to fatigue therefore causing bigger muscles up in the shoulder region to compensate, in turn creating tension. This leads to altered posture of the shoulder girdle ultimately causing pain that can be felt in the shoulder region, neck and upper back.

Muscles involved in this condition include the rhomboids, levator scapulae, scalenes and the sternocleidomastoid. These muscles become over stretched and in a lengthened position, which over time can cause pain to be felt.

Symptoms of this condition include:
• Pain in one shoulder (the shoulder that uses the mouse)
• Tightness and pain in the neck, upper back and around the shoulder blades
• Reduced movement in the neck and shoulder
• Headaches
• Dull ache or burning sensation in the shoulder
• Numbness or tingling down the arm in to the fingers

Tips for Improvement.

There are a few simple exercises that can be done to help improve the symptoms of this condition. These can be performed whilst sitting at a desk so are simple, effective and time effective.

1. Posture setting

Improving posture can help improve the symptoms of mouse shoulder as your muscles will be sat in a more comfortable and less stretched position.

Exercise 1- Chin Nods
  • Sit in a neutral and comfortable position
    Pull chin as if you are nodding at someone but only with a small degree of movement (you should feel the muscles deep in your neck working)
    Hold for 20 seconds relax and repeat 3 times
Exercise 2- Shoulder Setting.
  • Sit in a neutral and comfortable position
    Check you cannot lower your shoulders any further than when you are sat in your ‘neutral’ position
    Lift your shoulders up as far as they can go in order to check your end range of motion
    Then lower in to a comfortable and a mid range position
    Hold this position for as long as possible
    Every 10-15 minutes check you can lower your shoulders to make sure they are sat in a mid range position (if not reset yourself and hold again)

2. Soft tissue release

Soft tissue release otherwise known, as massage can be a useful treatment to release tension created from long periods of working at a desk. A therapist will work in to the upper back, shoulders and neck to release areas of tension that could be causing pain. Once this tension has been realised your symptoms may feel reduced and pain eased around the shoulder and neck.

If you are experiencing these symptoms then BOOK IN to see a Summit Clinician or alternatively give the exercises a go at your desk – try making small changes for long term results.

Thanks for reading,

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