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Right mouse or left mouse? Mix it up to prevent injury

Mindful placement of mouse and keyboard can

Mindful placement of mouse and keyboard can help computer users avoid posture imbalances. Credit: Fotolia

For many people, sitting at a desk during the day means a lot of movement with a mouse.

But often, this means moving your right shoulder back — which can create an imbalance.

Dr. Robin Boshears, who owns 100 percent Chiropractic in Addison, Texas, often sees patients with shoulder and neck issues.

“They come in, and I say, ‘Do you work at a desk all day?’ ” she said.

She, herself, has had two shoulder surgeries.

“It definitely is an issue for me on a daily basis,” she said.

Using one side constantly can create issues with the rotator cuff, for example.

She suggests switching your mouse from side to side — so if you use your mouse on the right side, put it on the left and vice versa. Most computers have a setting that can make a mouse more left-hand friendly, she said.

“It takes a little bit to get used to, but if you’re going back and forth, you’re not creating an imbalance,” she said.

Keyboard placement is also important.

“We’re reaching forward, our arms are coming forward, our necks are moving forward,” she said.

Humans weren’t designed to be straining forward constantly, and most people are too far from their keyboard.

Ideally, a keyboard should be in a place where arms are at sides, with your elbow at a 90-degree angle while pressing the keys.

She said that you might not notice strain all the time and it is “a slow, progressive change.”

“You’re slowly losing strength, you’re slowly losing range of motion, all because we’re not in the correct position and posture that we should be,” she said.

She said these simple fixes, including elevating your screen to eye level, can benefit your health in the long run.