Are Standing Desks Good For Your Back?

Sitting for prolonged periods of time can be a lot of stress on your joints. Sure, you're not doing anything strenuous, but sitting up in the same position for hours can cause your spine to compress creating lower back issues and place extra pressure on your hips and sitting bones. 

A recent trend in the office space has been to provide employees with standing desks. Most models allow the person to easily lift the desktop up and down as they please and is meant to allow you to get a 7th inning stretch at your desk while remaining productive. But, is this option right for everyone? 

Standing Desks vs. Sitting Desks

There are pros and cons for both standing and sitting desks. We'll break it down for you here so that you can make the best decision for your body and needs. 

Sitting Desk: Pros

  • Maintain a restful, seated position
  • Expend less energy
  • Relieve pressure from feet especially important for those who suffer from varicose veins, injury related discomfort and is more comfortable for pregnant woman

Sitting Desk: Cons

  • Easily slouch after continued periods leading to lower back issues 
  • Experience muscle stiffness and back pain 
  • Sitting for extended periods of time contributes to heart disease and diabetes

Standing Desk: Pros

  • Increases energy levels
  • Improves focus and circulation
  • Contributes to additional calorie burn

Standing Desk: Cons 

  • Sore feet
  • Does not work well with laptops 
  • Increased risk of varicose veins

Many of the pitfalls of working with a sitting desk can be avoided. For instance, if you are prone to varicose veins, simply shifting your weight frequently can greatly help in reducing your risk of developing them. And, if you're concerned with your feet hurting all day from standing too long, prepare to wear more comfortable shoes to work or stand on a mat made to distribute pressure. 

But, sitting all day, on the other hand, can contribute to various ailments such as sciatica pain and poor posture. Maintaining a stationary position all day long can also exacerbate existing issues like if you're prone to back spasms which are often relieved by additional physical activity. 

Should You Use a Standing Desk?

So, is a standing desk right for you? Only you can truly answer that question. We've seen that standing desks promote overall health and wellness but it's not always a possibility to modify your desk at the office. If you're unable to convince your boss to invest in a standing work station but believe you'd truly benefit from additional activity during the day, there are still activities you can do to help get you out of your chair:

  • Stand up and stretch when you begin to feel a bit stiff
  • Enjoy a stroll around the building every hour
  • Walk to lunch
  • Take short breaks to chat at your co-worker's desk

It is never a good think to remain sedentary all day long. Get up and move around or invest in a standing desk to keep you in front of your computer while doing something good for yourself.

If you have been experiencing back stiffness or other joint issues from prolonged sitting, visit Catalina Medical Center to make an appointment with our experience chiropractors today.