“I bought a standing desk because of my back pain, but it has been a few months since I purchased it, and I still have the pain and it's getting worse...."
This statement is something that I hear from many of my clients who are now working from home and spending more hours sitting in front of their workstations.
Standing desks have become an attractive solution for many experiencing back pain these days... Yes, it’s true that prolonged sitting can lead to back and neck pain. However, what most people do not realize is that prolonged standing can create equal discomfort and pain, and that standing desks are just another tool in the list of ergonomic solutions. In fact, standing desks require a lot more postural and ergonomic awareness than traditional workstations.
Ergonomics is all about balance – most importantly postural balance!
Having and maintaining correct posture (whether you are seated or standing) is essential to setting up one’s workstation. Usually, when you set up your standing desk, you should adjust the desk height so that your head, neck, and spine are aligned in a straight line. Your shoulders should be relaxed, hips straight ahead, and your spine should have a normal “S-shaped” curve. In this neutral position, you should be able to rest your wrists flat on the desk with your elbows at a 90-degree angle, and your computer monitor should be at or below eye level (depending on your need for prescriptive eyewear).
BUT THAT’S JUST A START.........
There are also other factors to consider:
You need to TAKE CARE OF YOUR FEET
Prolonged standing can make your feet and legs sore, which in turn can affect your other body joints.
It is important to have proper support for your feet to reduce muscle fatigue and improve general circulation.
This can be done by wearing proper athletic shoes that have cushioning, ensuring you have proper insoles, footbeds and/orthotics in your shoes or you may need to invest in an anti-fatigue mat.
You need to ENSURE CORRECT POSTURE
Maintaining any one position for a prolonged period of time (whether seated or standing) requires good postural alignment.
Postural balance allows for equal weight distribution and compressive load through the body.
Spinal and/or muscle imbalances are further aggravated through standing, and can be a reason for continued discomfort and pain.
If you are noticing consistent or nagging pain in either sitting, or standing or both, this is a sign to visit a regulated health professional to assess and treat the cause of your pain. Click here to book your Initial Assessment with Jason.
MOVEMENT IS KEY
Our bodies are made to move, so try to add breaks through the course of your work day and vary your standing and sitting positions. I recommend taking a quick break every 30 minutes and taking a small walk to get a drink or add in a few minutes of stretching.
Remember, Ergonomics is not a ONE SIZE FITS ALL approach. If you are struggling with your workstation, it is important to schedule an assessment, both to have your workplace ergonomics checked, but also getting an assessment of your postural health.
Honsberger Physio+ provides Virtual Ergnomic Assessments, In-person Ergonomic Assessments for at-home offices or at the workplace as well as Ergonomic Consulting for small, medium and large businesses.
To book an In-Person Ergonomic Assessment or to learn more about our Ergonomic Consulting and Corporate Wellness services please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the title 'ERGONOMIC ASSESSMENT INFO'.
After all, WORK SHOULDN't HURT!
Written by: JASON VARGHESE
Certified Athletic Therapist and Certified Kinesiologist
Director of Corporate Care
Managing Clinic Director - Aurora