Breaking Free from Back Pain and How a Standing Desk Can Help


    That persistent pain on your lower back, the numbing sensation on your shoulders and neck that is sometimes coupled with a searing headache—we’ve been there, experienced all of these at some point. If you’re working in an office and your usual schedule involves eight hours or so of working in front of a computer, seated on your office chair, these may be your daily realities. We hope they’re not, but in case they are, know that you can break free from back pain. With some healthy habits and the use of a standing desk at work, it’s possible to enjoy pain-free days.

    The Truth About Back Pain

    Back pain is one of the most common reasons people see a doctor these days. The pain can range from simple discomfort to more chronic pain that can persist for a longer period of time, some cases of which appear to be debilitating. According to the Toronto General Hospital medical director of pain research, Dr. Hance Clarke, there is about 18 percent of the population who struggle with chronic back pain.

    Back pain can be caused by several things. Among the most serious causes are accidents (such as those sustained when lifting heavy objects) and underlying health conditions (such as genetic-related spinal problems). However, it’s important to remember that a larger percentage of cases of back pain is caused by the simplest things we do—our sedentary habits and the lack of good posture.

    The question now is this: if the most common causes of back pain are simple in nature, then surely there must be simple solutions, too? This is actually correct—many solutions have emerged to address back pain. One of the most promising and most effective appears to be the standing desk.

    What Can a Standing Desk Do?

    Standing desks are ergonomic equipment designed to help users add more movement to their daily schedule, specifically standing. Most of these desks are electric in nature, and they are built so they can easily move up and down through a motor-frame combination, encouraging users to use them while sitting and standing.

    Users can alternate between sitting and standing as they work, say, every hour, so that they don’t stay in a seated position for too long. In terms of addressing back pain, this works in two ways:

    • By not staying in one position for too long, you free your back muscles from stress and strain and keep them active and working

    • By alternating between sitting and standing, you constantly adjust and correct your posture

    The use of standing desks has been linked to a wide range of health benefits, including but not limited to the following:

    • Reduces and eliminates back pain

    • Maintains good posture

    • Increases energy and improves overall mood

    • Enhances creativity and productivity

    • Lowers risks of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart problems

    If you want to break free from back pain, the first step is to break free from a sedentary lifestyle. Let the standing desk help you. Find an adjustable desk that will match your height, your space, and your needs and start moving more at work. 

    Healthy Habits that Work Against Back Pain

    Once you’ve started using a standing desk, build on that by practicing other healthy habits to help protect your back and your overall health. Here are some other habits to consider practicing to jumpstart a healthy, pain-free lifestyle.

    Inside the Office:

    • Go on standing meetings

    • Make frequent trips to the water cooler and walk around more

    • Try desk stretches and exercises

    Outside the office:

    • At home, enjoy your household chores (i.e. sweeping the floor or gardening)

    • Ditch your car and walk more (or bike, if that is an option)

    • Ditch the elevator and use the stairs more often

    • Switch sedentary hobbies (such as playing computer games) with more active hobbies (such as walking to the park)

    • Run, jog, exercise, and play sports

    Whether in or out of work, it’s possible to live a healthier life—everything boils down to your choices. Choose what’s healthy. Choose what’s good for you. And choose those that offer long-term health benefits over short-term conveniences.

    And at work, choose a standing desk. Choose to move more. By making the right choices, you can expect to reap the benefits—a pain-free, healthier, better life.