Curious about the source of your neck and shoulder pain? It could be mouse shoulder!
As an athlete or fitness enthusiast, aches, pains, and discomfort are no stranger. You train extremely hard, and as your body and muscles recover, there’s no doubt you incorporate your arsenal of recovery efforts including ice baths, Epsom salt soaks, foam rolling — and everyone’s favorite — rest days!
But, what if there was another source to your neck and shoulder pain beyond your workouts? What if sitting at a computer is what’s causing these symptoms? At Proven4, it’s integral to understand how everything affects how you train and work out, including your job! Explore more about what mouse shoulder is in today’s post.
What is Mouse Shoulder?
You’ve likely heard of frozen shoulder before, but does mouse shoulder ring a bell? Mouse shoulder is a newer condition that translates to a sore neck and shoulders as they relate to those who sit in front of a computer for long periods of time — a modern-day desk jockey! And while many jobs require this, things may have exacerbated if your work has moved from an office to your new remote work from home station. It can be harder to take breaks, or you may find yourself glued to the computer when you take them, spending even more time sitting in front of your computer.
What Does Mouse Shoulder Feel Like?
Mouse shoulder is most notably described as a deep ache or burning that starts on one side of the neck and spreads into the shoulder. Prolonged use of a computer over several weeks or months contributes to developing mouse shoulder, but it’s the repetitive nature of clicking a mouse that maintains chronic pain and your neck and shoulder in this repetitive strain state.
How Does Mouse Shoulder Develop?
Because there are numerous muscle attachments from the spine, base of the skull, and ribcage, when your arm is held away from your body and on the mouse, the muscles contract to support the weight of the extended arm. Without a little downtime from this position, in time, this can lead to pain and weakness.
Preventing Mouse Shoulder
The great news is, you can easily prevent and control mouse shoulder through desk ergonomics and a little mobility work.
- Work on maintaining better desk posture — sit up straight with your legs and arms at 90 degrees. Your elbows should be in towards your body and supported, usually by armchair rests and/or the desk.
- Implement being mousebidextrous — Use the mouse on both the left and right side, and switch it up regularly.
- Use a trackball instead of a mouse to reduce arm movement — the movement is more in your fingers and allows your arm and shoulder to stay relaxed.
Mobility Work & Beyond
When it comes to working at a desk, the most important thing you can do to prevent mouse shoulder is to move around. This means taking regular breaks — whether you’re walking to the mailbox or doing a quick set of push-ups, get your blood flowing!
Yoga – A quick internet search for shoulder mobility or computer users will yield great videos and tutorials you can implement. Try this one by Yoga With Adrienne, Yoga At Your Desk.
Massage – Whether you have a favorite massage therapist or do self-massage, this is a great thing to add to your repertoire when it comes to combating mouse shoulder. Magnesium lotion or a CBD massage oil works wonders for tight and sore muscles.
Strength Training – An excellent preventative measure for mouse shoulder is adding strength training to your workout. Strength training builds muscles to better support movement and encourages better posture. The movement alone may even be beneficial because it helps with blood flow and makes you more active. What kind of strength exercise can you add? Try dumbbells rows, reverse dumbbell flys, lat pulldowns, and supermans.
What’s at the Root Of Your Discomfort?
If you’re an active person who regularly works out, the source of a sore neck and shoulder could be a result of many things, so it’s important to take a step back and try to figure that out. Muscles get sore as they’re recovering and adapting to the stress they receive from exercise, but being extremely sore shouldn’t be chronic.
If you’re continually achy and you work at a computer every day, it may be related to mouse shoulder. And while movement can make it better, if other things aren’t addressed such as desk ergonomics, posture, and movement, you won’t be able to get to the bottom of it and mitigate the pain.
Do yourself a favor — consider changing what side the mouse is on and that your thighs are parallel to the ground, and perhaps these small things may alleviate discomfort in your neck and shoulders.
Need Additional Recovery? Proven4 Can Help!
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Make Proven4 a part of your recovery routine today!