It is not news that offices have shifted towards the use of a standing desk to avoid the “sitting disease” to prevent low back pain. (Katilin) However, is standing really the solution to avoiding low back pain?
A previous study has shown that having a standing break from seated work may reduce the demand on the lumbar spine, however, standing work itself can be associated with increased levels of low back pain. (Colin). Between 40-70% of the population may develop acute back pain with prolonged standing work tasks (Colin). Another study had suggested that prolonged standing could lead to health risks such as low back discomfort, leg swelling and physical fatigue (Shuchi). Studies have also shown that there is an increase of low back pain when standing longer than 50% of the shift (Shuchi).
There are benefits, specifically for office workers from switching to a standard seated workstations to a sit-stand workstation (Colin). However, the frequency and duration of a sit-stand transition is still in question.
A recent study has suggested that onset of pain within the first 15 minutes when standing is the accumulation from tissue aggravation (Colin). This study was backed up by previous research that also suggested to limit standing to 15 minutes or less which had shown to be the starting point of low back pain (Jack). Once past the 15 minutes mark, early and frequent breaks within at least the first hour appear to be a solution to reduce accumulation of tissue aggravation that often occurs within the first 45 minutes of standing at work (Colin).
It is suggested to change positions more often and not wait for the feeling of discomfort because once pain has initiated, it may persist even if there is a postural change. It may be more effective when there is a balanced exposure between sitting and standing (Colins).
If you are struggling with whether or not sitting or standing is better for you, check in with us at Sprouting Health Chiropractic. We are all for helping you out!