Are you a Desk Jockey? How are your Joints?

desk jockey

The orthopedic surgeons at OSS and the physical therapists at Seattle Orthopedic Center (SOC) see a fair amount of orthopedic injuries from all walks of life ranging from body-related complaints – some from accidents, some from surgery and some from extreme sports.  And yet, some of the most common injuries come from sitting at your desk all day. 

“Desk Jockey”

Commonly dubbed a “Desk Jockey” means that most of your days is spent sitting at your desk, on the phone, pushing paper, and using your computer, laptop or tablet.

When compared to more physical occupations, a Desk Jockey wouldn’t seem like someone experiencing a joint injury but more like a paper cut or stapler accident.  All the work you do on your computer, there are several ways to incur both a neck and shoulder injury caused by repetitive motion. 

All the mouse click you make in a day, improper monitor positioning, chair height and keyboard position may cause neck and shoulder pain that can become acute, causing a severe amount of fatigue.  Although most of these injuries may not become chronic in nature, for some, the shoulder pain and neck pain persists.

OSS offers these tips while working at your desk to help alleviate neck and shoulder pain:

  • Simple Ergonomics – Set up your workstation so that your keyboard, mouse, monitor, and chair are in the optimal position for your body.
  • Move – Take breaks; stop working for a moment, get up and move.  Change positions into your day to help relieve the tension and reduce strain in your neck, back, shoulders, hips and knees.
  • Stretch – If you spend several hours a day typing, there are common finger and wrist muscles that get used over and over again. This repetitive motion can cause strain and lead to repetitive stress injuries.
  • Sleep – A good night’s rest is a great chance to give your back and neck some support and relief for as long as you’re lucky enough to remain horizontal. Sleep also plays an important restorative role in healing injuries and keeping the body healthy.

According to Nicole Marble, PT, “As physical and occupational therapists, we help patients achieve structural balance through education, therapeutic exercise, neuromuscular re-education, and manual therapies that mobilize soft tissues and joints. This will decrease pain and maximize function whether our patients sit for prolonged periods or participate in high level sports and activities.

Here at SOC/OSS our physical therapists are able to offer personalized care with 45-minute one-on-one treatment sessions. We also work closely with the orthopedic surgeons to create and maintain a physical therapy program that is designed to get you back to what you love. “

If you are suffering from joint pain and injury, contact OSS to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians at (206) 633-8100.

Your Handbag could be the Cause of Shoulder Pain, a Stiff Neck and Back Pain

The holiday rush to get all your shopping done means being pretty efficient of how you want them packed and carried out of a store. Enter your handbag, big, bulky and up to the task. Unfortunately, that bag, if filled to capacity, will probably give you a sore shoulder, stiff neck and quite possibly back pain.The frenzy of the holiday season and your busy lifestyle warrants that you talk on your cell phone in one hand and carry that big, bulky purse on the other hand is actually intensifying a big problem; you are unevenly distributing weight on one side of your body.

What Can Be Done to Minimize the Damage?

Instead of carrying your bag on the same side, switch back and forth, or carry the bag in front of you. Understandably, it doesn’t look glamorous, but at the end of heavy shopping day, you can prevent your shoulders from aching. The prolonged effect of constantly carrying a heavy bag is like a strenuous workout; you overtax the muscles and induce joint pain if your bag is too heavy. By maintaining the correct form of carrying your bag and keeping the bulk of your purse toward the center of your body, it will help alleviate shoulder and neck pain.

Just remember these helpful tips:

1) A bigger bag doesn’t mean you have to fill it. Keep things to a minimum – a weight of no more than 5-8lbs is recommended.

2) Swap shoulders – this takes some getting used to but it is possible.

3) The wider the shoulder strap, the better the dispersal of weight.

4) Think about the material of the jacket you are wearing; slippery fabric will cause you to hunch your shoulder even more.

5) Watch your posture: are you leaning to one side to help balance the weight?

6) Stretch your neck and shoulder muscles.

According to Dr. Shapiro, “To protect your shoulders from an overuse injury like bursitis, don’t carry a heavy load of bags on one arm. It is best to switch shoulders or carry an even load of bags to distribute the weight safely.” If you are experiencing neck, hand, shoulder or back pain, call Orthopedic Specialists and make an appointment with one of our expert, orthopedic doctors at (206) 633-8100.