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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:

1.  I 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.

2.  Several 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.

3.  Another 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 pain.


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).

For further information, please follow: https://www.doctorcall.co.uk/occupational-health/dse--display-screen-equipment--and-workstation-assessments