So you want to know if a standing desk will help reduce back pain from herniated disc, sciatica or degenerative disc disease? In this article, I’ll be sharing my experience using an adjustable height desk for 3 years and wether or not this is of any help for reducing back pain due to the above conditions.
It’s Not Just You Wondering
I can tell from my reporting tool that people are googling this topic. Before spending the money, people want to know if a standing desk will help them reducing back pain or coping with a bad back at work.
And for good reasons
It is an investment, especially if you want a decent desk, you know, sturdy, one that won’t be woobling while you’re typing on your keyboard, with an electric motor for adjusting the height, it’s not cheap.
And since I am the satisfied owner of such an adjustable height desk and I am also the less satisfied “owner” of herniated discs and sciatica, I thought it would be a good thing to share my experience and honest opinion around the topic with my readers.
This Is My Standing Desk.
It’s a very decent quality piece of office furniture, with a controller that let’s you memorize multiple height positions.
It’s actually just the frame. I got it from Amazon and I highly recommend it if you are looking to buy a reliable adjustable height standing desk (see details here)
Fully Jarvis Standing Desk Frame Only – Supports Tops from 44″ to 82″ Wide and 27″ to 36″ Deep – Electric Adjustable Desk Height from 24.5″ to 50″…
539$ (when available)
The Problem With Standing Desks…
The last time I lifted it to stand at my desk was for the very purpose of taking this picture.
The last time I lifted it to stand upright at my desk and work…I don’t remember.
Seriously: I DO NOT REMEMBER.
I NEVER do it. I NEVER lift my standing desk to help reduce pain in my lower back or in my neck while working because…well…It doesn’t work.
Wait, let me rephrase:
Long Timer Bad Back
If you haven’t read my bio or if this is your first visit to the Blog, my experience is long time bad back due to double herniated disc L4-L5 & L5-S1, spinal stenosis, sciatica, numbness in foot and leg and degenerative disc disease.
And this blog is all about providing information, tips, tricks and honest opinions to help reduce back pain due to one of those conditions.
3 Years Standing Desk Owner
3 years ago, I was tricked into spending the money for a standing desk because all over Google, very authoritative websites say it does help reducing back pain but again, in my experience it’s not true
After the facts, I am convinced that the whole thing is in the hands of marketeers that want you to believe that this is the solution for you whereas they actually don’t know.
They probably don’t even have back problems…they say there are studies but we all now that Google wants you to spend your money so…You can’t rely on information provided by those who sell the product or get commissions, right?
Sitting Is Bad For Your Back And Overall Health
That is the classical argument. If you have a bad back, herniated disc and ddd, sitting will make things worse: that, I totally agree, I’m not questioning that argument at all.
They say that to reduce back pain, standing is better than sitting and here is the whole misunderstanding.
The problem when you sit…
The problem when you sit is not so much the “sitting” as the “not moving”. You’re just staying there and it’s the “not moving” part that is bad for your back and your overall health.
But you can’t really sit and be moving. I found a hack, using a rolling tray for footrest but this is another topic, you can read about it here: How To Sit at a Desk with L5-S1 Herniated Disc & Sciatica?
How Long Can You Actually Stand Upright If You Have A Bad Back?
So that’s the question I’m asking: can you really stand still if you have a like L5-S1 herniated disc, sciatica and degenerative disc disease and for how long?
Go on, try it. Now 🙂
Stand upright, try to find a shelf at a consistent height and pretend your keyboard is there and you’re holding your mouse with the other hand and see how long you are able to maintain this position before it becomes extremely uncomfortable.
5 Minutes? 10 minutes?
And if you are working at a computer, than you need your hands and your arms to use your computer.
You can’t do both
At least, I can’t do both. I am unable to focus on my work while trying to figure out how to stand at my desk without having back pain.
Spend More Money – Buy A Wooble Chair
As you can tell from the picture, I have one of those sit-stand, adjustable height chair.
I’ve had this for more than 10 years, so long before I bought the standing desk and I totally love it. It’s fantastic and it does help reduce back in some situations.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for using with a standing desk either.
You will still need to extend you arms for using your keyboard and mouse and it’s more than likely that you will end up working hunched over.
Will A Standing Desk Help Reducing Neck Pain?
Well, if your lower back is weak, your neck is going to suffer the consequences sooner or later and is not going to like it either.
Again, try standing upright for a few minutes, not using your arms for support, see how your neck likes it.
Why The Difference?
While doing my research for this article, I couldn’t help notice the gap between a lot of the top search results on the keyphrase: “does a standing desk help reduce back pain” , and my own experience.
Here’s an exemple.
This one says: a standing desk might help (it’s so convient to use might instead does, isn’t it? ) and might take pressure off your neck and lower back.
How are you going to take pressure off your neck and lower back if you stand with your arms extended for a prolonged period of time ???