mysterious shoulder pain

Several weeks ago, I started noticing a bit of pain/soreness in my right shoulder. Nothing too severe or bothersome or troubling, but noticeable now and then. A niggling discomfort. But I wasn’t sure what it was caused by. I hadn’t run into anything, hadn’t fallen on it, hadn’t gotten into a punch-up…

I figured that since it was something that started in the last few months, it was probably work-related, especially considering that about a third of my waking hours have been spent at work this year (rough estimate – don’t hold me to it).

One of my first suspicions was my bag, which is sort of like a satchel or whatever they call them, so it’s always on just one shoulder. I used to use a backpack during uni, so I thought this change might be the cause of the shoulder pain. I made an effort to wear my bag on my left shoulder more, but this didn’t seem to help.

Since I studied ergonomics in BCT (business communication & technologies) in high school, and since I spend a lot of time standing in front of computers, I thought it could be an ergonomics problem. But looking at the design of things at work, it didn’t seem likely, because the counters, keyboards, etc are all at a pretty good height for minimising strain. Besides, I would expect my left shoulder or neck/back to hurt as well if it was an ergonomics issue.

So what else could it be? To be honest, I don’t think I ever spent a great deal of time pondering this one. I sort of just accepted it and got on with things. And don’t answers and solutions have a tendency of making themselves apparent once they are no longer sought?

And the answer? The telephone.

I take a lot of phone calls at work. A lot of these calls require me to write something down – names, numbers, orders, payments – and when I’m writing, I always hold the phone between my right ear and (you guessed it) my right shoulder. Sometimes I hold it there even when I’m not writing or doing anything. It’s become a habit.