To Stand or Not to Stand? Here’s Our Answer

A man works at a standing desk.
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Standing desks have taken the workplace by storm with promises of weight loss, improved posture and better focus. But wait - while sitting for extended periods of time is proven to cause long-term health problems, along with aches and pains, standing for an extended time can also cause negative side effects such as foot and ankle pain. So does this mean you should throw away your standing desk? Not necessarily. These unique work stations can actually help reduce shoulder, arm and back pain, assuming you incorporate the right body mechanics.

Here are three ways you can get the most out of your standing (and sitting) desk:

1. Practice proper sitting and standing posture.

We tend to naturally hunch over or hyper-arch our lower back when we sit or stand for a long time. While this is probably due to poor body mechanics, bad posture can also be caused by an unsupportive office chair. Link to our videos below to learn how you should sit and stand for optimal spine safety.

Here’s how to choose the best office chair for your back.

Click here to learn your “sink stance.”

And finally, find out how to sit comfortably with the right spine support.

2. Wear shoes that support your back.

Proper footwear is important for everyday health, especially if you plan on using a standing desk during the day. Make sure your shoes have cushioning and arch supports so you can maintain your balance and keep your feet pain-free. If you like to wear heels to work, bring a pair of comfortable flats to wear when you’re at your desk. Standing in heels for several hours a day can hurt your feet and ankles, as well as cause severe aches and pains in your spine.

3. Get up and MOVE.

It doesn’t matter if you sit, stand or lie on the couch when you’re working; if you don’t allow your body to stretch and move frequently, then you are bound to have back pain. Take a break every 30 minutes or so and go for a walk outside or around your office, refill your water jug and stretch your muscles. This will help get your blood flowing and give you a boost of energy.

Back pain can happen to anyone at anytime. However, you can help reduce muscle aches and prevent future injuries by following these simple tips. Be sure to practice proper body mechanics when you’re sitting or standing, wear shoes that support your spine, and remember to move and stretch frequently throughout the day. Also, make sure that you’re eating a balanced diet, drinking enough water and getting enough sleep at night – doing so will keep your spine happy and healthy for years to come!

If you’ve had back pain for longer than two weeks, call Dr. Patel at the Spine Health Institute. He and his multidisciplinary team can diagnose and treat a variety of spinal conditions, and help get you back to your routine in no time.

References:
http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/03/17/470713717/stand-to-work-if-you-like-but-dont-brag-about-its-benefits

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-truth-behind-standing-desks-2016092310264

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26693809

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