Standing Desk Back Pain: Causes, Prevention, and Solutions

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So you have recently started using a standing desk, and you have started building the habit of alternating between sitting and standing as you work. Congratulations! You are on your way to a healthier lifestyle. Standing desks are designed to help you add more natural movement to your day, and it’s one of the easier solutions to breaking sedentary habits. However, during the early stages of your shift from constant sitting to alternating between sitting and standing, you may notice some back pain. 

man standing while working

Standing desk, back pain, and the correlation between the two

If you’ve been sitting for too long at work and you have recently started to shift to standing and sitting alternately throughout the day, you may experience some discomfort as your body adjusts to moving more. However, there are things you can check and things you can do to ensure that the transition becomes smoother and easier for you.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are experiencing back pain when you use the standing desk:

  • How much time do you spend standing?

You can’t go from 8 hours of straight sitting in a day to 4 hours of sitting and 4 hours of standing the following day. To make the transition easy, comfortable, and effective for you, do it gradually. Start by standing for 15 minutes every hour, and then increase your amount of standing time to 30 minutes per hour, or even to 45 minutes later on.

The key is to not make the shift so abrupt that your body is placed under a lot of strain. Otherwise, it will be difficult to sustain the habit for the long term.

  • What kind of footwear are you wearing?

We know you love your high heels, but know that standing in high heels for too long will put a strain not only on your legs and knees but also your back. This is especially true if you constantly wear 5-inch heels and you stand for a long period of time.

We’re not saying you should ditch your heels. We’re saying you might need to switch to flat shoes when you are in your workstation and working, alternating between sitting and standing. This will provide much needed relief to your legs and back.

  • Is your standing desk set at a correct height?

The good thing about standing desks is that they are easily adjustable across different heights, and you can preset your desired height so that it only takes one single button press the next time you want to shift to that height. However, make sure you choose the correct height for you right at the onset. 

What does the correct standing desk height mean? The easiest measure for this are your elbows. The height of the desk is such that you can bend your arms in a 90-degree angle so that you are comfortable when you type, your shoulders relaxed as you look at your screen and your back positioned naturally as you stand.

For a more complete guide, check this post.

woman working while standing

Once you’ve asked yourself these questions and made certain adjustments to address the problem, you can take a few more steps to ensure that you say goodbye to back pain when using a standing desk.

Move more

Nothing beats movement when it comes to keeping your muscles active and engaged, and that goes true for your back. When using a standing desk, back pain will likely occur if you stay frozen in place. But, by finding time to move around regularly, walk and stretch, you give your muscles much needed stimulation. Apart from these, make sure to insert exercise time in your daily schedule.

Use an anti-fatigue mat

An anti-fatigue mat is a simple accessory that you can use together with your standing desk. The mat absorbs the strain from standing too long, providing relief to both your legs and your back. It provides the right balance between being soft and firm, just enough to keep you comfortable while supported.

Mind your posture

While sitting too long can lead to bad posture, standing too long can do the same, especially if you have not set your desk to the correct height. Pay attention to possible hunching over your desk or computer, and constantly check yourself to make sure you are standing straight. 

With these simple tips and with the right mindfulness, you can make the shift from sitting to standing more comfortable and easier.  

ergonomic workstation

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I set the correct height for my standing desk?
  • The first question to answer would be: how high should the standing desk be? And, the answer will depend on your height as its user. To find the right height, stand before the desk and then bend your arms at the elbow in a 90-degree angle. In this position, the desk should be at a height that will allow you to place your wrist and hands comfortably on the desk’s surface. 

    The second question to answer would be: how do you set the desk to that height? Well, the desk has a built-in keypad with an up and down button that you can press to move the desk up or down. However, an easier way is to preset a specific height through the same keypad. You can save your preferred height via this memory keypad so that next time you use the desk, you just have to press the button once to adjust the desk to your preset height. 

  • What is the best anti-fatigue mat to combat back pain when standing?
  • The best anti-fatigue mat will have two specific features. One is the right balance between firmness and softness, a balance that will allow you to remain comfortable while standing and allow the mat to absorb the strenuous force from the hard concrete to protect your legs from excessive pressure. Two are ridges, ramps, balls, and knobs–features that stimulate your feet to keep blood flowing well and massages the soles and heels for added comfort. Find a mat with these features to get the best benefits.

  • Is there such a thing as too much standing?
  • Standing for too long comes with several risks, too. Fatigue is likely the first risk you’ll experience, especially on your lower leg. Together with this, discomfort and pain will likely lead to you losing focus on the work you are doing. It’s also true that too much standing can cause varicose veins. However, perhaps more dangerous is the risk for heart problems because of the blood pooling in your legs when you stand, putting more pressure on the veins to keep it circulating around the body.

    The key to keeping standing safe and easy is to not overdo it and try to aim for the right balance, from 15 to 45 minutes of standing per hour depending on your comfort level and how long you’ve been doing it.

    About Us

    MotionGrey is a Canadian standing desk company that specializes in ergonomic furniture. We supply and install only the best quality standing desks and ergonomic chairs in the country. We offer free shipping within Canada and the US.

    What made you switch to standing desks? Our products are designed with wellness as the focal point. From our electric standing desks to our office and gaming chairs, we deliver best value by putting your health, safety, and comfort as top priority. Boost your creativity and level up work performance. We want you to create great outcomes so we’re providing you only the best tools to make them possible.

    If you are not satisfied with your purchase, check out our Refund Policy.

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