Can Standing Desks Help Reduce Back Pain?

Standing Desks May Help Reduce Back Pain


By J. A. Young

They’re an antique idea; standing desks were once luxury items for homes during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  They could even be found in the sumptuous offices of London, New York, or Parisian offices.  Today, they are somewhat of a novelty; yet that may be changing as more people discover the various benefits associated with standing desks.  Schools have reported that they enhance some students’ performance in class and office workers have claimed that standing desks lead to a healthier work day—less sitting means more burned calories, for instance.  Additionally, now many fans of standing desks say that using them instead of sitting desks alleviates back pain. 




Standing desks are just now beginning to grow in popularity so there aren’t adequate medical studies that can quantitatively say that standing desks can medically speaking reduce back pain.  On the other hand, there has been considerable research about the health problems associated with too much sitting, problems affecting people who sit all day as a rule whether in school or at work.  The Telegraph recently reported, “the ‘sit still’ culture of schools and the workplace, combined with lack of exercise, is creating a healthcare time bomb.”  Sitting overly long on a regular basis can, according to some experts quoted in this article, lead to chronic back pain. 



NBC’s Chief Medical Officer reported on : “Sitting, muscle spasm and stress: We all sit a lot. We sit at work, in school, in our cars, at our computers, watching TV, you name it. It might seem hard to believe, but sitting can actually be worse for the back than standing. Why? This is because when we stand, the load at each level of the spine is shared between the disc and two small joints.”  This may be, in fact, why some people want to make the switch to a standing desk. 




A writer for Creative Bloq discussed her back pain and why she believed 16-hour work days sitting down was hurting her back.  She wrote, “Whether or not you suffer from back pain right now, one day you probably will. And while you're probably reluctant to even consider standing at your desk, I strongly encourage you to give it a go. It's amazing how much better I feel since I did. Not only has my pain diminished, but my posture has improved and my concentration level has increased”. 


One hospital network went so far to suggest that “for people who have existing back problems or experience back pain when sitting, a standing desk – or “stand-up” desk - could provide some immediate relief and, over time, could reduce the stress on the back that’s often caused by a poor sitting posture”.  Moreover, the article asserted that “a study published in October in the journal ‘Preventing Chronic Disease’ found that participants who used standing desks – with the option to sit - reduced upper back and neck pain by 54 percent.”



With all the health detriments and risks associated with too much sitting, it may be time to try a standing desk.  If it can diminish back pain as some users and reports suggest, it’s just one more good reason to try them out!


Have you tried one? We want to know! Leave a comment below.


Cliff Currie
Cliff Currie