Spending long hours sitting at a desk may not seem like a workout, but it can put immense strain on your body. In order to keep your body upright, your neck, back and shoulder muscles have to bear your body weight. Over a long period of time, and coupled with awkward positioning, you can develop a repetitive strain injury. These often occur in the shoulder, where muscle tension can gather. If you experience shoulder pain while sitting at your desk, physical therapy exercises can help ease your discomfort.
3 ways physical therapy can ease your shoulder pain from sitting at your desk
Shoulder pain and tension can be worsened if the shoulders are overused or consistently used in awkward positions. Poor angling of a computer screen, as well as poor desk and chair height, can strain the shoulders over time. A bent posture while working can also lead to shoulder pain. For example, if the neck juts forward while working at a desk, the shoulders are forced to carry additional weight. The following are ways physical therapy can help relieve this strain and make working at a desk more comfortable over time:
- Soft tissue mobilization — Shoulder pain while sitting at a desk can be linked to neck muscle tightness and poor posture. Physical therapists can use soft tissue mobilization techniques to manually release shoulder tension in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. They can apply varied pressure to the surrounding tissue, which can encourage blood flow, reduce inflammation and increase the shoulder joint’s mobility over time.
- Targeted exercises — Neck and shoulder exercises can increase shoulder strength, restore weakened muscles, and increase mobility. With increased strength, the shoulders can better support the neck, head and upper limbs while sitting at a desk. If a patient’s shoulders are especially sore and painful, physical therapists can manually guide their neck and shoulders through passive exercises. They can also guide patients in active exercises, like range-of-motion exercises, that engage the muscles and joints. With greater mobility and strength, the shoulders can become less painful after sitting at a desk for long periods of time.
- Ergonomic education — Improper body mechanics and alignment can cause pain linked to sitting at a desk throughout the workday. Physical therapists can help educate employees on certain postures and hand positions that limit overuse injuries. They can also educate patients on desk and keyboard heights that maximize comfort over time.
Back in Motion can help ease your shoulder pain while sitting at a desk
Sitting at a desk for hours at a time can place immense strain on your shoulders and lead to injury. Our physical therapists at Back in Motion can help you decrease inflammation in your shoulder and limit your shoulder pain after a long workday. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.