Who remembers this game from “Whose Line is it anyway?”? :
It had me in stitches before I even considered being a
physio. So which is best? What’s the deal with all these standing, Sit-standing
desks, hot desks?
The truth is that there is a growing body of evidence telling
us that prolonged sitting is bad for us. It’s bad for our joints, our backs,
our muscles, our tendons, our hearts and our blood vessels…… but let’s be
honest we knew that anyway. It’s just now we have the science to prove it.
So the market has developed standing desks, sit-standing
desks (They move on a hydraulic pump) and of course hot desking. As it “stands” it is too early to say if the
health benefits of standing all day exist. The theory is that when standing we
are recruiting more muscle activity, burning more energy, we have more option
to move, but we are still fairly stationary. So we wait for the evidence.
Some notes based on my clinical experience are however:
use a standing desk, I find I am more productive while I am at it… I also find
I take more breaks away from the desk than I used to. The shoulder pain that I
used to get at my desk has disappeared…. Instead my feet ache.
of my clients now use standing desks as they were suffering from back ache in
prolonged sitting……. One of the clients reported being significantly more tired
at the end of the day…. No back pain though.
of my clients had the biomechanical work station set up, she had the wrist
rest, the supported chair, arm rests. She was managing her neck and back pain
well with modifications. Unfortunately, her employers replaced all of the desks
with hot desks now though. She can work in standing, but her back and neck
pains have returned and she is back in the clinic with tennis elbow from typing
without the wrist support.
So the jury is out. For me the take home message is always the
same with these things:
What works for one person doesn’t
necessarily work for the next.
The fact of the matter is that our
bodies were meant to move. They need motion, they need variety. So you can
stand, sit, bend, kneel, lie, perch on the most ergonomically sound and biomechanically
perfect surface. If you do too much of any of these at one time, you will get
Move more, fit motion into your daily
work environment, get away from the desk and do what’s right by you. Your
health needs you to stand, sit, lie, bend, kneel, perch, jump, sing and dance-
as often as possible please. And if you can pick your own desk, choose wisely.
Unfortunately there is no wonder desk to solve all ills. There is only your
experience. If you have a sitting desk, all modified to suit your needs and you
have no pain then stick with it but maybe treat yourself to more breaks.
If you know you need a change, then
be brave, stand up in that office and give it a whirl.
It can be a prickly issue with your employer, but it is
their responsibility to look after the interests and health of their employees
with regards to the employee’s workstation.
How they do that varies widely.
If you or your employer require any professional advice regarding
ergonomic desk set up, one of our team is a Level 2 DSE assessor, capable of carrying out workstation
assessments. They are HSE (Health and
Safety Executive) accredited and recognised consultants by the Chartered
Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF).
further information, please follow: http://www.doctorcall.co.uk/occupational-health/dse--display-screen-equipment--and-workstation-assessments