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Mouse Shoulder

Written by: Dr. Lisa Bodratti, PT, DPT

Do you sit at a computer for long hours and have pain from your neck to your hand? You could be dealing with a case of “Mouse Shoulder.”

Mouse Shoulder is a term to describe a repetitive stress injury of your (usually dominant) shoulder from sitting at a desk and using a mouse/computer for work. Over the course of hours, days and months, the muscles of your neck and shoulder become strained from having to perform the same movements over and over again. If your arm is not supported by the arm of your chair or an external arm support, these symptoms tend to be more exaggerated. Your muscles become overstretched and irritated from having to hold the weight of your arm up all day long.

Typically, Mouse Shoulder symptoms include:

  • Pain through one side of your neck, shoulder and arm

  • Possible numbness or tingling through your neck, shoulder or arm

  • Stiffness through one side of your neck, shoulder and arm

What can be done to help your symptoms?

  • Make sure your chair and desk set-up are appropriate (feet on the floor, lower back supported in your chair, elbows at 90 degrees, arms supported and monitor straight in front of you).

  • Avoid stretching!

    • Your muscles are already stretched out more than they care to be from having to hold your arm up all day long. Stretching your neck or shoulder muscles will not help to reduce your symptoms. Avoid the urge to stretch.

  • Strengthen your shoulder blade muscles throughout your day. Try doing these exercises 2x throughout your day, for 10-20 reps each.

    • Shrugs - raise your shoulders up towards your ears, hold for a few seconds, then relax

    • Shoulder blade squeezes - squeeze your shoulder blades backwards, toward your spine, hold for a few seconds, then relax

    • Shoulder external rotation - with your arms by your sides and elbows bent to 90 degrees, rotate your hands and wrists outwards (keeping your elbows by your sides), squeezing your shoulder blades together, hold for a few seconds, then relax.

  • Change position frequently throughout the day - “your next position is your best position.” Set a reminder to take a short walk once every hour. Try using a sit-to-stand desk if you have access to one.

  • Try to use the mouse with your opposite hand to give your affected arm a break.

The great news is that the therapists at The Green Room are here to help if you are feeling stuck! Do not hesitate to call us for an appointment so that we can help you get out of pain. Our biggest goal is getting you back to the things that you love! Schedule an appointment or free consultation by calling us at 518-326-3771 (Troy), 518-280-2185 (Clifton Park), or filling out a request here:

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