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Q: How can I prevent neck, back and shoulder pain at work?

Posted June 12, 2013 in Advice Column, Norwalk

A: Neck, upper back and shoulder pain are common occurrences in workplace and office-type settings. More times than not, these nagging aches and pains are a direct result of your posture or ergonomic work station set-up. Below is a list of simple steps to use to see if your workplace setting is correctly set up for you. Ensuring that these guidelines are followed can help keep you pain free, and injury free, in the workplace.

Sit in a chair that is comfortable and gives you adequate back support. Your feet should touch the floor, and you should have about a 90 degree bend at your knees and hips. It is a good idea to alternate your posture and place your feet on a small foot stool or old phone book throughout the day as well. Place your keyboard in a comfortable position so you are not reaching your arms. Your upper arms should be in line with your torso and relaxed. Forearms should be close to parallel to the ground. Keep your wrists in a neutral position when typing, and keep your mouse close to your keyboard to allow for easy transition. Position your computer monitor so that your main field of vision is about 10 degrees below eye level.

Place frequently-used items within arm’s reach to avoid overstretching.

Use a hands-free headset if you answer the phone frequently, or for prolonged periods. Get up to move around and stretch every 30 minutes. Maintaining a static posture for prolonged periods is not good for you.

If you are unable to reduce your pain with these simple ergonomic changes, our staff at Accelerated in Norwalk can assist you.

Information provided by Nicole Smith, MPT, Norwalk Physical Therapy, 800 Colonial Circle, Suite 100, Norwalk, 515-953-1310.

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