This is a common question I get asked from patients, especially those suffering with back and/or neck pain.
The common misconception is that anyone with back pain would benefit from using a standing desk.
But this is NOT always true.
If you’re wondering how that’s possible, keep reading because this article is tailor-made for you!
Let’s go over a few specific questions we need to ask ourselves before deciding if a standing desk is right for you.
Question 1: What percentage of your day is currently spend sitting vs. standing?
The first thing to understand about the human body is that it wants and needs “balance” to thrive and operate at its ideal level.
With every force we place on the body, there is an equal force that can also be applied in the opposite direction.
For example, if you never do anything to be active and instead choose to sit around all day then you will need more of the opposite force (aka. movement/exercise/etc.) to regain that balance and be healthy.
On the other hand, if you are continuously moving and active throughout the entire day there will be a point when you need to apply the opposite force (aka. rest) to allow our body time to recover.
Where this becomes especially important when considering a standing desk is to understand the specific directional forces that we apply to the body.
Let’s consider what I mean by directional forces in relation to someone suffering with low back pain…
When you consider your typical day does your back spend more time in a position of flexion (rounded/forward bending), extension (upright/backward bending), or rotation to one side or the other?
If we consider the need for balanced movements and forces throughout the day on your low back then we can begin to understand whether a standing desk would be helpful or not.
If most of your day is already spent up and moving around or standing on your feet then perhaps taking some time to sit when on the computer would be beneficial.
On the other hand, if most of your day is spent sitting, then a standing desk would be a nice way to get upright and balance out all the flexion being applied to your back.
Question 2: Is there a specific type of standing desk you should get?
If you’re going to buy a standing desk, make sure you spend a little extra for one that’s motorized and easily adjustable.
A standing desk that has the option to be both in a low and high position will allow for you to either sit or stand depending on how they are feeling.
The key for you is more motion throughout the day!
The benefit for a desk that goes up AND down is that you can adjust your body more throughout the day, which will help you achieve the overall balance in movement that you are looking for, resulting in LESS pain!
So, are standing desks amazing? YES! They are a great tool in the arsenal of a healthy individual, especially for anyone trying to overcome chronic back or neck pain.
They allow for more movement throughout your day, which is an absolute blessing!
But don’t go thinking that just because you’re standing all day long, you will automatically feel much better. The key is varied motion every day, from both the office, to the yoga mat, to the gym, and to the couch!
More movement is always better.
~ Dr. Dallin Page