Back Pain? Work Shouldn’t Hurt.
Does working at a desk cause you discomfort?
Perhaps you’ve blamed your aching back (and bad mood) on long hours at the office. The only thing is… you’re working in the comfort of your own home now, and you’re anything but comfortable.
- Blame it on your desk.
- Find the cure.
Studies show a sit-to-stand desk can help reduce pain, improve mood, and possibly even increase your life span.
But not all standing desks are created equal when it comes to what ails you. Read here for the latest research on ergonomic health for work-from-homers, and a product comparison of the desk features you need to feel good.
FACT #1: Sitting for long periods of time can cause lower back pain
Spending long hours sitting at a desk can tighten your muscles and strain your lower back, especially if you have bad posture. And you’re not alone: low-back pain costs Americans more than $50 billion in health care costs each year, not including lost earnings and productivity.
Intermittent sitting and standing at an adjustable desk is proven to help: A study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that standing desks reduce back pain by 54 percent.
FACT #2: Poor posture is a real problem
People who sit or stand with poor posture put themselves at risk for a rash of health problems, ranging from knee stress and exacerbation of arthritis to back pain, poor circulation, and more.
Forward head posture is a common culprit when it comes to poor desk posture. In a healthy head and neck posture, a person's ear would is aligned with his spine. As the head slowly shifts forward over time, it can cause a range of musculoskeletal dysfunctions that can also impact you internally and emotionally with:
- Digestive problems
- Breathing difficulty
FACT #3: You can do more than stand at your desk for good health
Don’t just stand there, do something! A sedentary lifestyle can lead to a myriad of chronic issues, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and even early death. Studies show that people who sit for more than eight hours daily and exercise for less than 5 minutes per day have a 50 percent increased risk of early death. Sedentary workers who spend eight hours per day sitting, but also exercise for one hour per day, are not at an increased risk of premature death.
It’s easy to step up your work routine to incorporate real exercise that will energize you, save your muscles and joints, and save that end-of-day dread you face about grabbing a quick workout. Here are seven routines, blessed by experts, to get you started.
Read here for simple ways to incorporate exercise into your workday.
FACT #4: The right desk can help you lose weight
Experts have found that alternating sitting with standing at work burns an additional 100 calories per day, and that could be enough to prevent weight gain.
This is important because obesity is difficult to treat, and has a high relapse rate. The majority of people who lose weight will regain it within five years. A Harvard standing desk study found that you burn at least 10% more calories per hour standing vs. sitting, significantly decreasing your risk of heart and metabolic disease.
The Bottom Line about Your Desk
The “bottom” line about maintaining good health while working a desk job can be found in the right sit-to-stand desk.
But buyer beware: before you waste good money on the wrong desk, know the most crucial design features for improving your comfort and your health:
CURVED AND L-SHAPED DESKS
Our bodies move in curves, not hard angles. You need a workstation that gives you the most desk space with the least amount of unnecessary reaching—similar to the way a cockpit fits a pilot.
A desk that’s too high will cause your shoulder blades to rise, causing pain in your neck, shoulders, and upper back. Work at a desk that’s too low, and you’ll find yourself extending your arms to reach the keyboard, causing pain and posture issues
A WIDE RANGE OF ADJUSTABILITY
The most comfortable sit-stand desks have a broad range of adjustability to accommodate a wide variety of body shapes and sizes. (MojoDesk spans from 24" to 51” to fit workers ranging from 4’11” to 6’6” in height.)
There's a whole lot to know about avoiding musculoskeletal stress, especially in your neck and shoulders: your monitors should be at or slightly below eye level, your arms should be at 90 degrees, and so on. Having a poor fit on these items can cause significant pain and fatigue.
- knee clearance
- viewing angles
- focal depth
- keyboard surface height
- reach zones
Have questions about sit-to-stand desks? See our FAQs.
Ready to change how you work? Shop here.