Are Your Shoulders Up When You Type?

I was Question Markat a cafe, meeting a fellow mother for a coffee pre-Cheeky Monkeys playgroup and that’s when I saw it –

A late-20’s, possibly early-30’s young woman with a blonde ponytail, typing on her laptop with her shoulders around her ears. For the entire time. Every time I looked over at her, there she was, hunched over her computer, her shoulders practically in contact with her earlobes. And all I could think of was:

Neck pain.

Shoulder pain.

Chronic headaches.

And those large, stubborn knots that most likely some massage therapist, someday, would be trying very hard to get rid of.

So my question of the month is actually two-fold, one for you and one for me. For you, the question is:

Hunched ShouldersDo you hunch, pull, or lift your shoulders up when you’re sitting at a desk? (or when stressed)?

How to Check

Take a deep breath.

As you exhale, let go of your shoulders.

If they drop, even a little bit you do.

The problem with this hunching is that over time your muscles become tight and hard and you may not be able to let go of your shoulders, to let them drop down.

The stretch in the last QOM (from July), would help release the top of the shoulder as well.

What To Do

If you found you could drop your shoulders, you probably have a habit of doing this without realising. You’ll need to change that habit. Here’s how:

Take a rubber band.

Put it on your wrist.

Every time you see the rubber band, check your shoulders. Let them drop.

Eventually you’ll notice when your shoulders are up, and then eventually it will bother you if they are.

Of course, if they’re too stubborn you may need some help from us, but at least this way you’ll be changing the habit to reduce future tension build-up.

Now, for my second question

Should I have said something to this person?

I sat there for about 5 minutes, all the problems that this posture will almost certainly cause her circling in my head.

I didn’t say anything. I thought, she probably wouldn’t be receptive, it probably would sound like I was trying to sell her something, it might be a bit presumptuous of me, after all, she doesn’t know me.

My question to you is, if it were you sitting there, would you have liked me (a stranger) pointing out your potentially harmful posture? Or would you have, like I imagined, not appreciated your work being interrupted by someone you didn’t know?

I would appreciate your thoughts in either the comments below or back to me by email. I hate the idea that by doing nothing I may have contributed to her eventual discomfort, but if it really wouldn’t have been appropriate (as I ended up telling myself) then it probably wouldn’t have been helpful anyway.

Lastly, if this strikes a chord and you have neck & shoulder pain from sitting at a desk, we have a free minicourse to help you get started getting rid of your neck & shoulder pain.

Click here to sign up and start helping your neck & shoulder pain today

If you’d like to start having better posture, download our free desk posture printable here:

Click here for the Desk Posture Printable Checklist