Sitting or Standing at the Workstation?

People often ask me “Are stand up desks better than sitting at the desks” and my reply is often “yes they are if the person has been getting a sore back and neck at their workstation in poorly designed chairs”.

However, the change from sitting to standing is NOT entirely a positive scenario because standing for long periods at a time is shifting the stresses and forces from one anatomic structural area to another.

For instance, sitting flattens out the lower back spinal curvature, increasing the stress and forces on the low back spine while standing will have a dramatic impact on the feet, knees, hip joint and sacroiliac junctions overtime.

When standing the anatomical positioning of the ball (femoral head) and socket (acetabulum) are forward of the spine, as is the center of gravity (head). So when standing the posture changes to bending slightly forward, causing the muscles in the back to become tighter which overtime in front of the workstation will become fatigued and sore.

Once these muscles become fatigued and sore, the person starts to shift their weight from one leg to the other or leaning forward resting their arms or elbows on the workstation itself.

Therefore, to reiterate, moving from a poorly designed chair to a standing desk has only shifted the forces from the lower back structures to the hip joints and the lower extremity joints.

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