Should You Consider A Standing Desk for Back Pain Relief?

Should you consider a standing desk for back pain relief? We know office settings have long been know to cause back pain for many people. The cheap office chairs and the long hours of sitting at a desk that is probably not the right height can strain neck, shoulder and back muscles. Now studies show that hours of inactivity are linked to obesity and increased mortality rates. Because of this should you consider a standing desk for back pain relief? 

“A standing desk sits high off the floor so a worker can either stand at it or sit on a high stool to use it. Officials at Palo Alto-based Facebook say a number of employees asked about standing desks after news articles were published about the health risks of sitting all day.”


Story and Photo courtesy of Jim Carlton/The Wall Street Journal

Facebook employee Greg Hoy shown here standing at his desk using the computer.

“The stories cited medical studies that tied excessive sitting to increased obesity and other health problems because of factors including a drop in physical activity. A 2010 study by the American Cancer Society found that women who sat more than six hours a day were 37% more likely to die prematurely than women who sat for less than three hours, while the early-death rate for men was 18% higher. The American College of Cardiology released a study in January that found increased mortality among people who sat longer at home than those who didn’t.”

“No one seems to compile statistics on the standing-desk trend. But anecdotal reports suggest Silicon Valley is embracing the movement.”

“Facebook officials say they have seen an upsurge in requests for standing desks to five to eight a week with a total of between 200 and 250 deployed at the company of more than 2,000 employees. Facebook also is trying out a treadmill station—where a worker can walk or run on a treadmill while tapping at a computer.”

While the trend may be increasing, I’m not convinced that standing at desk all day is good for anyone either. Standing for long periods of time also strains the lower back muscles and can lead to sore legs and feet. I often have meetings and work from my local Starbucks that just happens to have a counter the perfect height for a stand up desk for me, so I tried it for about an hour and I can honestly say it is not for everyone. Definitely not for me!

I feel a combination of work stations where employees can stand and sit when they feel like it might be helpful but probably not practical for most businesses. If you do sit for long hours you can reduce your risks by taking short breaks every hour and standing, stretching or walking around for 5 minutes. There are many yoga stretches that can be done at your desk. Should you consider a standing desk for back pain relief? I say try it out first before you request a new desk at work.

Would you consider using stand up desk all day at work?


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One Response to Should You Consider A Standing Desk for Back Pain Relief?

  1. Neenie says:

    I have been using a standing desk for several months now (you can read about it here if you are interested : and I love it precisely because sitting for so long kills my back. I think that a lot of people have trouble at first. You have to give your body time to adapt. I agree that it is important to have a sit down option (for me, a stool works just fine for when I need a half an hour off my feet). Also, good shoes make all of the difference.

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