Why Switching to a Standing Desk Can Help With Your Pain
For those of us who work at a desk all day, common pain issues such as back pain, neck pain, wrist pain, and heavy swollen calves is just part of our day. Let’s take a closer look at why sitting down for long periods of time every day can be putting you at risk.
Leading a Sedentary Lifestyle
Through life, we do a lot of things while we’re sitting down. Before we even start putting in time at our ‘desk job’, we spend about ten to twelve years sitting down at our school desks. From there, we join the land of the ‘working stiffs’ and continue to spend hours and hours each day sitting at our work desk.
Then of course there’s the commute to and from work. While some people choose to bike or take transit, the majority of us have a nice comfy ride in our car to work, sitting down of course. And finally, what do we do after work? Most Canadians come home, have some dinner, then sit down in front of the TV for a few hours of ‘relaxation’.
The fact that we spend most of our lives sitting down is a vicious circle leading to an increase in a sedentary lifestyle, and a decrease in being active and healthy.
Here’s a bit of interesting trivia – in the old days before we had things like TVs and computers, when we were forced to work the land to earn money and provide food for our families, we were just a healthier species in general, because every day, we were on our feet, working hard, getting the much-needed exercise our bodies require to remain healthy and in their natural state – an active state.
Risks of Sitting
What most people are unaware of are the health risks all this sitting is putting in front of us. Here are some of the ‘biggies’ we face if we spend our lives sitting down:
- Obesity which can lead to a whole host of other health problems such as heart disease, diabetes etc.
- The threat of blood clots in the legs due to lack of circulation in the lower extremities
- Bone and joint problems in the neck, shoulders, arms and wrists, back, and knees
So what can we do to change our lifestyle to help prevent some of these illnesses and conditions from affecting us? Let’s take a look.
Here at Broadway AT Yew Chiropractic & Massage, we treat patients every day who suffer from joint and muscle pain that are very likely a result of sitting at a desk all day. From neck and shoulder pain, to carpal tunnel syndrome, our patients frequently report that their symptoms are at their worst after a long day of sitting down on the job.
While our Chiropractors and RMT’s are able to help ease the symptoms of sore muscles and bones, it takes more than just a treatment here and there to ensure your symptoms go away and stay away. One of the most common recommendations we make here at Broadway AT Yew Chiropractic & Massage is to not only see us regularly to help maintain your good health, but to switch to a standing desk, or at the very least have some flexibility from your desk!
What is a Standing Desk and Why Should I Switch?
A standing desk is designed to allow you to stand while working. While this may be the first time you’ve actually heard of one yourself, through century after century, they’ve been in use. In fact some of the more notable people you have heard of used standing desks. Leonardo Da Vinci, Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin and Ernest Hemingway are just a few. So what did they know what we don’t?
A Standing Desk Can Help Increase Your Metabolism
The lack of exercise associated with a ‘sitting’ lifestyle is pretty basic. When you’re sitting for long periods of time, your body requires less energy to function. This means that your metabolism slows down, and in turn, the speed at which your body burns calories is also reduced. The result is a slow and steady weight gain.
A standing desk will help return your body to its normal metabolism, because you are using all of your body to maintain your balance as you do your work. What’s more, most people aren’t able to stand perfectly still for long periods of time – it’s a natural inclination to move around as you go about your work.
A Standing Desk Can Strengthen and Activate Your Core
If you’re like most people, your posture can tend to become worse the longer you sit. Slouching, hunkering down with your back in an unnatural curve etc. And while it may seem like a simple thing to simply sit up straight, it’s easier said than done if you’re used to lounging around in a chair all day. And the damage you are causing your body is not just limited to your posture. As we know here at Broadway AT Yew Chiropractic & Massage, if even one vertebrae is out of place, it will put stress and pressure on all of the other vertebrae, bones, joints and muscles that are attached. This is where peripheral symptoms such as carpal tunnel syndrome can become evident.
A standing desk basically forces you to make proper use of your core muscles, which in turn help to support the rest of your body in the upright position, as it’s meant to be.
A Standing Desk Will Help with Increased Blood Flow
When we’re sitting down for long periods of time, the blood flow to our limbs is reduced. This can lead to minor symptoms such as pins and needles, to much more serious health issues like blood clots in the lower legs. When using a standing desk, your blood flow is in an optimal state, thereby reducing these symptoms and risks.
There can be some adjustment pain and symptoms getting used to a standing desk like anything new because the load is changing to the body. Try to use a gravity plate at your feet to help absorb forces. If after a few months you find that it’s too difficult or is not working for you, then make the change so that you can utilize both a standing position and sitting position. Lots of people will do a trial with a “mock up” version of a stand desk and try before buying a more expensive and permanent version. One thing is for certain. We know the effects of long term sitting are worse for the body than long term effects of standing!
As you can see, there are many reasons why you should consider switching to a standing desk, especially if outside of work, you also spend more time sitting than standing and being active. The health benefits are vast. At Broadway AT Yew Chiropractic & Massage, we advocate Standing Desks to patients every day. As chiropractors, we see the effects of a sedentary lifestyle every day and the havoc it can create on our bodies.