Voice complaints of stiff shoulders

I think there are people who say that this year's classes will be held online from morning to evening, as they did last year.

I often hear people say that their stiff shoulders worsened when they were facing the computer all the time. Even in your twenties, stiff shoulders can occur.

What is stiff shoulder?

Stiff shoulders pertain to a feeling of tension, stiffness, pain, etc. coming from the neckline or base of the neck to the shoulders or back.

It can be severe and can be accompanied by headaches and nausea. There are many muscles related to stiff shoulders, but the main muscle involved is the trapezius muscle, which stretches from the back of the neck to the shoulders and back.

Causes of stiff shoulders

1. Performing desk work in the same posture

If you use your computer for a long time without changing your posture, your muscles will continue to be tense and you will experience stiff shoulders. If you do not have good posture, you will develop stiff shoulders.

2. Eye strain

Eye strain may occur due to long-term use of computers and smartphones, wearing of improper eyeglasses, the effects of blue light and ultraviolet rays, and disturbance of the autonomic nerves due to stress and lack of sleep. If this continues, general fatigue including stiff shoulders may occur on top of the eye symptoms.

3. Muscle fatigue and poor circulation may occur due to lack of exercise

If you do not move your body on a regular basis, your muscles will not be used as they should be, and this results in muscle tension and easy fatigability.

To prevent stiff shoulders

1. Move your body to improve blood circulation

Proper movement of the body improves blood circulation in the muscles. Walking, cycling, radio calisthenics, yoga, stretching, etc. are recommended.

2. Pay attention to your posture and how long you work without taking breaks

Adjust your position so that the distance between your computer screen and your eyes is 40 cm or more and your eyes are in line with the bottom. Place the keyboard such that your elbows are angled at 90 to 100 degrees when your hands rest on the keyboard. Keep your smartphone or tablet at a reasonable distance as well.

How to deal with stiff shoulders

1. Stretch habitually

It's good to rotate your shoulders, open your shoulders and pull them back, and stretch the muscles around your shoulder blades at any time between doing desk work. Please also refer to the stretch videos of Kyushu University.

2. Improve blood circulation through effective bathing

Make time to relax not only in the shower but also in lukewarm water once in a while. Adding bath salts may help you relax both physically and mentally. Using a shower spray to spray hot water on stiff shoulders, alternating sides every 2 to 3 minutes, may also be helpful. This should be finished with a hot shower.

3. Get a moderately stimulating massage

Loosen your shoulders with an appropriate massage. However, a painful massage can cause extra fatigue and minor injuries to the muscles. If you do it yourself, keep the pressure light. If you want a massage that requires more pressure, you need to have this done by a doctor or someone licensed in giving 'anma' or 'shiatsu' massages.

4. Get a medical examination at the hospital

If you have shoulder stiffness that interferes with your daily life, or symptoms such as pain when you are not using your shoulders or numbness in your hands, see a doctor at the hospital.

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