Burning pain between your shoulder blades?
Pain under one shoulder blade when you look down?
Periodic neck stiffness while sitting?
All of these are signs that your workstation may be contributing to your problem. Shoulder blade pain from sitting too long (working or lounging) is extremely common in today’s world.
In this article, I’ll share three extremely effective ways to improve your workstation and decrease your shoulder blade pain.
Tip #1: Get a keyboard
Forward neck posture and forward rounded shoulder posture are the most common body mechanics that cause shoulder blade pain. Having a laptop on the dinner table, in your lap, or on the coffee table, will place your in one or both of these postures.
Looking down places pressure on spinal discs in the neck which refer to the shoulder blade region (Cloward’s Sign). Rounded shoulder posture places tension on the shoulder blade muscles creating trigger points. Being in either of these postures too long places pressure on the cervical discs, upper trapezius, middle trapezius, and rhomboid muscles. Overused muscles can ache and burn, while cervical discs can create burning referred pain.
Luckily moving your monitor height up to eye level will help with one neck aspect of the problem. Sitting a little “taller” can help the other.
To move the computer monitor upward, you’ll need a Bluetooth keyboard. Once connected, find some old books and place your laptop at eye level. Next “sit taller” because you’re proud you took matters into your own hands. Your shoulder blade may feel normal on its own in a few days.
Tip #2: Walk more on your breaks
Recovery from shoulder blade pain comes down to simple mathematics. Consider balancing your checkbook. You make deposits and withdrawals all the time.
Sitting too long is a withdrawal. Improving your posture is a deposit. When you are trying to recover from an ache or pain, all you need to do is have more in your bank account at the end of the day. A cumulative effect will come over time.
Where we get into trouble is when we write checks that our bodies can’t cash. Taking walks builds your body’s bank account like you just hit the penny slots. Imagine every step you take you deposit a penny in your bank account. While a penny may not seem like a lot, the boys of “Office Space” would agree it builds up quickly over time.
On your breaks, put your phone down and take a walk. Even 5-minute walks add up.
Are you in meetings all day? If you don’t need to be on your computer for them, consider turning off your camera and contributing on your walk.
No fancy chair or desk is more powerful than simply getting up and walking.
Tip #3: Lean forward
Say we can’t get the monitor to eye level, one modification we can make is to change your spinal hinge point.
As mentioned in tip #1, many people suffer from shoulder blade pain due to forward neck posture. Leaning forward straightens your neck automatically as it sends the spinal hinge point downward to other parts of the spine and even to the hips. While this may not be the best option for people suffering from lower back pain, it is an option for people with only shoulder blade pain.
While we all know stress can be a factor in shoulder blade pain, body mechanics are extremely important modifiable variables. You are in control of the situation and have the power to feel normal again.
Go take a walk today. You’ll build your bank account and blow off some stress at the same time!
If these tips don’t work for you, come see us at Revamped Active Chiropractic. We can help you find relief, fast!
Guest Author: Sebastian Gonzales DC, DACBSP®