Using a stand-up desk for 1 hour per day may help alleviate your back pain and boost your mood.

See Lower Back Pain Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

man with back pain at desk
Back pain is the most common work-related injury.
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Ergonomics of the Office and Workplace: An Overview

Sound too good to be true? Read on to learn more:

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The risks associated with excessive sitting

Before we look at the possible benefits of a stand-up desk, let's talk about the risks associated with excessive sitting. Complications may include:

  • Neck pain from hunching forward
  • Increased risk for developing heart disease
  • Tight hips and hamstrings
  • Increased back pain

See The New Health Epidemic: Sitting Disease

It is important to note that good posture can help minimize some of the risks associated with excessive sitting, but it is not a cure-all.

See Good Posture Helps Reduce Back Pain

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Recent evidence promotes more standing

In a 2011 study, participants experienced less upper back pain, less neck pain, and an improved mood by simply sitting 66 minutes less per day.1

See Workplace Ergonomics and Neck Pain

Participants in the study held sedentary office jobs. Researchers provided the participants with a device that allowed them to sit or stand at their desks throughout the course of the study.

See Work Ergonomics: Minimize Back Injuries

The participants were given the choice to sit or stand as much, or as little, as they pleased. On average, the group ended up sitting around 1 hour less each day—but this was enough to realize statistically significant health benefits.

Improved emotional well-being

As mentioned previously, the benefits of less sitting were not only physical. Participants reported decreased fatigue, tension, confusion, and depression—all gained by sitting 66 minutes less per day.

See Depression and Chronic Back Pain

Moreover, the following benefits were reported:

  • 75% felt healthier
  • 71% felt more focused
  • 66% felt more productive
  • 62% felt happier
  • 33% felt less stressed.

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Toward the end of the study, the office workers’ sit-to-stand desks were removed, and their moods and pain levels went back to baseline.

What does this mean for you?

One clear takeaway from this study is that you may benefit from the daily use of a stand-up desk. Here are some tips to help get you started:

  • Height adjustable stand-up desks that are placed on top of your regular desk are available at a fraction of the cost of a full stand-up desk.
  • Ensure that your monitor is placed at eye level to reduce strain on your neck.
  • Place your foot up on some kind of rest so you can easily shift your body weight from one leg to the other.
  • Consider purchasing an adjustable stool so you can sit, or partially sit, for periods of time.

See Ergonomics of the Office and Workplace: An Overview

As a bonus, you may only need to use a stand-up desk for 1 or 2 hours per day to reap significant health benefits.

Learn more:

Lower Back Pain Treatment

Office Chair, Posture, and Driving Ergonomics

References

  1. Pronk NP, Katz AS, Lowry M, Payfer JR, "Reducing Occupational Sitting Time and Improving Worker Health: The Take-a-Stand Project," 2011. Prev Chronic Dis 2012;9:110323