You may not realize it, but you use your shoulders a lot, and when you have shoulder pain it can make even the most menial tasks difficult to complete. Your shoulder is made up of several joints that connect to tendons and muscles, enabling you to have so much range-of-motion in your arm.

Prolonged, repetitive movements often cause chronic shoulder pain. This is sometimes called a repetitive strain injury (RSI) or cumulative trauma disorder. These types of injuries are most often sustained while completing tasks at work. Whether you sit behind a desk all day, work as a barista, or work at a loading dock, you are probably straining the muscles and tendons of your shoulders while working. 

What causes shoulder pain?

Shoulder pain is something that rarely occurs all at once. Usually it develops over time, so it could be difficult to determine what the cause is. Though those that do manual labor are at risk for sustaining a shoulder injury, they are not the only ones that could be subject to chronic shoulder pain. Sitting at a desk all day can also give you a high risk of developing shoulder pain. Common causes of work-related shoulder pain are:

  • Poor posture
  • Pressure on your shoulder
  • Working with your arms above shoulder level
  • Typing at a keyboard
  • Keeping your body in one position for an extended amount of time
  • Using power tools
  • Driving over bumpy roads
  • Extreme weather exposure

How do you prevent chronic shoulder pain?

If you’re an office worker, there are some steps that you can take to minimize neck and shoulder pain. Creating an ergonomically friendly work environment will greatly reduce your risk of sustaining a shoulder injury.

Sit up!

Developing better posture is a great way to avoid shoulder pain. Keep your shoulders relaxed, and your feet planted. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground, your elbows should be supported and close to your body, and your wrists and hands should be in line with your forearms. Using a lumbar support, or a pillow, is a great way to make sure that your lower back is supported while sitting for long periods of time.


Rearranging your work space is an easy way to avoid shoulder pain, so make sure that your desk is level with your elbows while you’re sitting. Your computer monitor needs to be at eye level, and about an arm’s length away. Keep your keyboard and monitor directly in front of you in order to avoid twisting your neck while working. Keep frequently used tools and supplies close enough that you don’t have to reach, bend, or twist to get to them. If you’re frequently on the phone, consider investing in a headset, or at least avoid cradling the phone in your neck while multitasking.

Take a break

It’s easy to fall back into bad posture after sitting in the same position for hours at a time. Take a 30-second break every 30 minutes. Shake out your arms and hands, and relax your eyes, head, and neck. Every two to three hours take a 10-minute break. Use this as an opportunity to leave your desk. Walking around the office for a few minutes is a great way to get the blood flowing again.

Visit Advanced Wellness & Rehab

At Advanced Wellness & Rehab, we can discover the cause of your shoulder pain and develop a treatment plan specifically for you. For shoulder pain, we offer chiropractic care, massage therapy, and also spinal decompression as treatment options. Call us today for your free consultation.