Standing desk – How it helped my back pain

There is a very obvious reason why I have been using a standing desk and that is it hurts too much to sit for prolonged periods.

Why is this so?  ……..this reminds me of Professor Julius Sumner Miller’s popular TV program of the same name that ran from 1963 until 1986.

Well, a common site to sustain a back injury is in one of the discs of the lower back, which are the ‘cushions’ between the vertebral bones.  Sitting puts extra and uneven pressure on these discs. I suffer from sciatica [i.e. low back and leg pain] due to a damaged disc pushing on the sciatica nerve.

When I first started standing I would feel fatigued and need to sit for rest breaks; this lasted a couple of months. I have used a rubberised mat in the past, but find it unnecessary these days. What is important is to have well-made cushioned shoes. My favourite brand is ‘ecco’; not very trendy though!

By standing at work I am more mobile, in that I will move around the desk and the room without having to consider getting up from my chair. I work more efficiently and feel more energised.

Below is a photo of Dr Megan Cope testing ‘zestdesk prototype 1’ in June 2013 at Wurli Wurlinjang Health Service in Katherine.


Standing Desk prototype

Other benefits for using a standing desk include:

  • Maintenance of general fitness
  • Weight management
  • Improved life expectancy

With standing you are exercising your legs and the trunk muscles; this doesn’t occur when sitting. That is, your abdominal muscles are under-utilised and become flabby. So people who stand at work are generally fitter.

Obesity is a huge problem and we spend large amounts on fad diets, gym programs and personal coaches. This is often against a background of sitting eight or more hours a day at work. Why not start ‘burning those kilojoules’ (calories) by exercising at work? STAND!

Recent research supports the idea prolonged sitting is the new ‘smoking’. Dr Emma Wilmot, at the University of Leicester in Britain found workers who sit for long periods doubled their risk of diabetes, heart disease and death.

So why do I continue to stand at work?

It’s now multifactorial. I like being fit and this is the easiest way to maintain a degree of fitness which then allows me to go off on long bushwalks and play tennis, which I love doing.

Dr. Peter Moore GP/Family Physician

To learn about standing solutions click here

standing vs sitting at work

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