Stand-Up Desks Can Help with Chiropractic Care
“Sitting is the new smoking.” At least it is according to Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk in a July 2014 article on LATimes.com. Dr. Levine is credited for coining that phrase. Plus, new studies have shown sitting at a desk all day presents several health risks.
“Research suggests that sitting for long periods is linked with health problems, including obesity and metabolic syndrome – a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels,” according to the Mayo Clinic at the time when this post was written.
Other health risks related to a sedentary lifestyle that involves sitting at a desk for eight or more hours a day include Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, breast and colon cancer, and depression.
Stand-Up Desks and Ergonomics
These new quantifiable health risks have caused the movement in recent years toward achieving proper office ergonomics, which is defined by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) as “the science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to employee capabilities.” Ergonomics also relates to workplace design factors that are intended to maximize productivity by minimizing employee fatigue and discomfort.
This newer research specifically linking health problems to sitting in recent years has also caused the ergonomics movement to evolve into a call for stand-up desks or stand-up workstations – even treadmill workstations – especially in computer-centric office environments where people usually sit at their desks for the majority, if not all, of their work days.
What You Need to Know About Stand-Up Desks
Despite the new movement toward them, stand-up desks aren’t new. In fact, they were common in the 18th and 19th centuries. In addition, many notable figures in the past few centuries have used them, including former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, authors Virginia Woolf and Ernest Hemingway, former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and United States founding father Benjamin Franklin.
However, before you run right out and begin converting your seated workstation into a stand-up one, you should know and weigh the pros and cons of stand-up desks.
Health experts agree the pros of stand-up desks or workstations are multiple. They include increased metabolism and weight loss, improved attention span, better mental acuity, reduced upper back pain, reduced neck pain, increased core strength, and improved blood circulation.
On the flip side, some medical professionals acknowledge there are cons of stand-up workstations or desks. These include sore feet, increased strain on feet and legs, increased chance of varicose veins, increased lower back pain and increased knee pain.
Tips for Switching to a Stand-Up Desk
There are clearly some health benefits of stand-up desks, and the advantages seem to outweigh the disadvantages. In order to combat the negative health effects of stand-up workstations, experts offer the following tips:
- Set your desk at an appropriate height where your computer monitor is at eye level right in front of you.
- Tilt your computer screen ever so slightly upward toward you and position it at least 20 inches away from your face.
- Install a separate keyboard and mouse at your stand-up desk if you have a laptop.
- Keep your arms at a 90-degree angle to prevent shoulder and neck strain.
- Don’t curve your wrists up or down.
- Don’t lock your knees.
- Shift your weight between your legs periodically.
- Stand on a cushioned floor mat in shoes with good, supportive soles.
- Ease into standing at your desk, alternating sitting and standing until you’re used to it.
- Consult your doctor or chiropractor before switching from a seated to a standing workstation, and alert them to any existing health conditions or new health problems that arise.
If you’ve made the switch to a stand-up desk, and are experiencing mild, moderate or severe back or joint pain, then give Dr. Todd Goldman at Total Chiropractic Care and Wellness a call at (631) 447-2299 today. Our Medford chiropractor can assess your situation, diagnose and treat a wide range of musculoskeletal injuries, and get you started with a regular regimen of chiropractic care and pain management.