In a computer intensive world, ergonomic issues (especially with regards to the height of a chair) has become important. Ergonomics is a tricky art to do properly, especially when it comes to the armrest.
With the armrest, the whole purpose was to take stress off the shoulders.
This is needed in the short term but not in the long term because the arm rest shortens muscles and tissue in shoulder, neck and back. Muscles need to be stretched and relaxed.
The ergonomics that is being designed is to encourage the weight of this joint to drop on the armrest and nothing is done to encourage the shoulders to drop and to lengthen the tissues.
For example, from propping your arms on something one can develop ulnar nerve damage (Cubital tunnel syndrome) which is a relatively common injury in those that work at a desk job. This nerve runs to the elbow and outside of the hand to the pinky side of the wrist. So it’s something to watch out for if you get pain, numbness or tingling in the pinky side of the hand.
Resting the arms can be a real issue with problems arising in the elbow, arm or wrist.
Watch martial artists or a tai chi master, their shoulders are always dropped and they never hold tension in their shoulders.
When shoulders drop and are relaxed you will feel the difference of energy flow to the neck and back. Try it! These guys don’t lift their shoulders at all and they stays down as they reach overhead or across.
At Optimal Chiropractic we see patients with neck, shoulder and arm tension all the time.
With prolonged keyboard use these shortened muscles develop scar tissue from repetitive stress injuries. In order to stabilise this joint we have to break the scar tissue, mobilise the joint and I request our practice members to stop using the arm rest while at work. I also urge them to take breaks to stretch and put movement into the stagnate joints.
If you ever experience pain in the elbow, wrist or arm please do see your local Chiropractor.
If you are near Ballincollig we are always here to help. Call us on 021 487 8465