Shoulder mechanics seem to be one of those topics that people don’t talk about much, but any time I mention the issues I have with my shoulders (too much time at the computer each day) I’m by no means the only one affected. I’ve been doing Pilates for years, which has helped, but that’s only a couple of hours a week, which leaves lots of time during the rest of the week to undo the good work.
I spent a bit of time sitting at my desk, figuring out in which position my shoulders and wrists would be happiest. I talked to the people at ErgoCanada (they’re very helpful and very knowledgeable and I recommend talking to them if you’re based in Canada) and ended up with a split keyboard that can be placed in a number of configurations, the Kinesis Corporation Freestyle2 (Amazon US link). The first few days using it were a little weird, while I got used to having to use the recommended hand for each letter, and getting used to the placement of the backspace and delete keys. I played around with the configurations, starting with the splayed configuration, but at the moment I use the straight configuration with some 10cm between the two halves. The spacing I use varies a little depending on what I’m doing, if it’s mostly writing or a lot of mouse work. The keyboard is quiet, with a good feel; the keys are light but stable. There’s also a bunch of accessories to tilt the keyboard in various ways, or enable a wider gap between the halves, but I haven’t seen the need for those yet. One day I may get the Mac version to go with my laptop; since it splits into two pieces it does pack a lot smaller for travel than a regular keyboard.
As well as using the keyboard, I’ve tried to get into the habit of doing small simple shoulder rolls on a regular basis, to keep the ball aligned better in the socket. There are lots of web sites that explain versions of how to do these but most seem to be aimed at bodybuilders; this page from the Yoga journal is more gentle than most.
These two things, put together, seem to be helping. Either or both would be worth thinking about if you have shoulder or arm issues and spend hours at a computer each day.