There’s no doubt that sitting for long periods of time can contribute to existing back problems and even provoke back pain, on its own. But do standing desks help with back pain?
Yes and no.
There are several variables which must be considered and most of them start with you. The first of these is your general state of back health. The second, the curvature of your lower spine.
Because of our sedentary modern lifestyle, we’ve developed a more pronounced curve in the lower back. That curvy lower back may not make you a great candidate for the standing desk, as standing can make matters worse.
Labor saving devices, the automobile and television have all contributed to this effect, which has taken root over the last several generations. With this as our starting point, let’s look at some of the pluses and minuses of the standing desk.
Standing desks and their malcontents.
A standing desk is governed by the same ergonomic principles as a sitting one. If your head is inclined toward the screen and your upper back is hunched, much of the benefit is negated. But here’s the thing – that’s harder to do when you’re standing up.
Many find that standing desks promote heightened alertness. Because of the posture, our bodies are compelled to model in a standing position, we’re much more likely to remain more mentally acute – until a certain point in the day.
The effort entailed in standing for long periods of time can be tiring. After several hours of working in a standing position, we may be less effective. Our bodies are being asked to stay erect and alert and to model good posture for an extended period and that’s rather a lot to ask, especially if we have a pronounced lower back curve.
Sitting and posture.
Work that entails remaining in a sitting position for long periods is known to contribute not only to back problems, but to increased blood pressure and other health complications. Many who sit for long periods at work pay little attention to their posture, while seated. As mentioned above, inclining the head toward a computer screen and slouching can provoke back pain.
When sitting, it’s important to monitor the position of your body. Are your feet flat on the floor? Are you seated right at the back of the chair, as opposed to perching on the edge? Are your abdominal muscles tight and your shoulders pulled down and back?
As is the case with most things in life, balance is the key. Do standing desks help with back pain? They can, but there is no reason you can’t opt to work both options into your day. Tired of standing at work? Sit for awhile. Back hurting from sitting for too long? Stand up for awhile, stretch, go for a walk and then sit back down, with your posture in mind.
Both postures can support back health. The key is balance and awareness. Contact us to find out more.