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

Posted June 26, 2013 in Altoona, Advice Column

A: Neck, upper back and shoulder pain is a common occurrence in many 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 a few 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 and tension by making these simple ergonomic changes, our staff at Accelerated in Altoona can assist you with your pain. Call us at 515-967-4580 to set-up a free injury screen.

Information provided by Amy Jensen, DPT, Accelerated Rehab, 3160 Eighth St. S.W., Suite 1, Altoona, 515-967-4580.

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