22 votes

Does anyone here use a standing desk?

I've been dealing with chronic back problems off and on for a few decades and my chiropractor recommends that I not sit very often and when I do for no more than 15 minutes.

31 comments

  1. [2]
    CALICO
    Link
    I have one I use at work. Number one thing to note: if y'all get one that can adjust from sitting-to-standing position, be sure that raising it won't yank out your cables or pull everything to the...

    I have one I use at work. Number one thing to note: if y'all get one that can adjust from sitting-to-standing position, be sure that raising it won't yank out your cables or pull everything to the floor.

    I like it well enough. It doesn't get in the way of anything, and if I feel my legs getting a bit tired from standing in one place too long I'll go off and make a cup of tea or something. After twelve hours I come back to my place with my feet feeling; I wear boots and do not have one of those mats @kfwyre mentioned—though I have experience with them in my past, and they are excellent.

    15 votes
    1. suspended
      Link Parent
      Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated!

      Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated!

      4 votes
  2. [6]
    kfwyre
    Link
    Due to COVID, my husband started working from home and quickly thereafter started getting back problems on account of his setup. In order to resolve that he bought a standing desk for his laptop...

    Due to COVID, my husband started working from home and quickly thereafter started getting back problems on account of his setup. In order to resolve that he bought a standing desk for his laptop (don't know if they're all like this, but his is a sort of pneumatic platform that he can raise and lower) and one of those thick padded floor mats (the kind often used for cashiers in retail places), and it's done wonders for him.

    Let me know if you have any specific questions about it and I can ask him for you!

    10 votes
    1. [5]
      suspended
      Link Parent
      Oh yes, please. I would love to learn more about it. I have a 21.5 inch (display) iMac (Bluetooth keyboard and mouse) with a couple of external hard drives. Thank you.

      Oh yes, please. I would love to learn more about it. I have a 21.5 inch (display) iMac (Bluetooth keyboard and mouse) with a couple of external hard drives. Thank you.

      5 votes
      1. [4]
        kfwyre
        Link Parent
        I asked him about it and here's his recap, which is very similar to a lot of the advice shared in the thread by others: He said that he really likes being able to shift between sitting and...

        I asked him about it and here's his recap, which is very similar to a lot of the advice shared in the thread by others:

        He said that he really likes being able to shift between sitting and standing -- doing either for too long isn't great. The desk he got collapses down to desk level and rises up considerable height (he's tall), so it's easy for him to change it up as needed. He said you do have to kind of clear out space below and a bit around the desk to make sure you don't crush things or knock anything over in the transitions. You also have to make sure cords reach and won't get pulled out.

        The standing mat he ordered is quite thick and has different raised sections around its perimeter. He said that it's nice to be able to stand in different positions on the mat and would recommend against getting a completely flat one. He said a thicker mat is probably less necessary if you have carpeted floors, but we have hardwood and he considers it essential. He said that he doesn't tend to stand in one single position the whole time so much as he sort of shifts between different orientations, and the different heights on the mat enable easy variety.

        He got a Fitbit and takes frequent short walking trips within the house, snaking/circling through rooms a bit before heading back to the office. He also looked up some back stretches and has been doing those pretty regularly.

        All together these have done great things for his back. Early on in the pandemic, when he was working daily from the couch, he could barely bend over, and getting in and out of bed was precarious and painful. No more!

        6 votes
        1. [3]
          suspended
          Link Parent
          Please, thank your husband for me.

          Please, thank your husband for me.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            kfwyre
            Link Parent
            Will do! And if you have any other questions for him, let me know.

            Will do! And if you have any other questions for him, let me know.

            4 votes
  3. skybrian
    Link
    I have one and I used it occasionally for a while, but these days I only rarely use it for standing. I'm still glad I have it, because I can make easy adjustments to desk height for video. When I...

    I have one and I used it occasionally for a while, but these days I only rarely use it for standing. I'm still glad I have it, because I can make easy adjustments to desk height for video.

    When I had back problems a couple years ago, my doctor referred me to a physical therapist who had some good stretches and strength exercises, different from the ones I was doing. For me, I think it helped more than anything else I tried.

    I also got an office chair with good back support, which I recommend.

    Then again, I'm retired so I can just take a break if I've been using the computer too long.

    9 votes
  4. mat
    Link
    I do a lot of work standing, and to be honest it's not that different for my back than sitting. What actually matters - at least for me - is keeping moving. I've actually de-optimised my workspace...

    I do a lot of work standing, and to be honest it's not that different for my back than sitting. What actually matters - at least for me - is keeping moving. I've actually de-optimised my workspace somewhat I have to move from here to there to get different things and do stuff. In the past I've used timers to enforce breaks to move around - even microbreaks of a few seconds can make a difference, i used to have a staged system with 20s breaks every five minutes and a longer break once an hour. I found that wasn't just good for my body but also helped keep my brain working better too.

    Also as others have said, anti-fatigue matting is a good thing. Although I have also heard that a wobbly bit of old pallet works just as well, because being a little unstable it keeps you slightly moving around.

    8 votes
  5. [2]
    Wulfsta
    (edited )
    Link
    Prior to the pandemic I used one at work due to a condition I have that requires me to either get up and ambulate frequently or just stay mobile. After months of using what is essentially bins...

    Prior to the pandemic I used one at work due to a condition I have that requires me to either get up and ambulate frequently or just stay mobile. After months of using what is essentially bins stacked on each other while working from home, I finally decided to order from Fully when they had a sale (I had been thinking about constructing a permanent standing desk myself, but also have been avoiding going out to get materials). Fully has been recommended to me in the past, so I decided to just go with a desk from them. I ended up getting a 72" with no cutout, no grommets, extended legs, long feet, and a monitor arm. So far I like it, and can recommend one, though I don't have any information about how it will age. I highly recommend a mat to stand on as well if you go this route and don't have carpeted floors - here is the one I have.

    8 votes
    1. suspended
      Link Parent
      Thanks for the link to the mat!

      Thanks for the link to the mat!

      1 vote
  6. [4]
    ohyran
    Link
    I kinda have one, its basically a modded factory shelf and a high stool and a foot stool so I can swap positions. BUT... ok and I know this is OT and this sounds like one of those "eat more kale...

    I kinda have one, its basically a modded factory shelf and a high stool and a foot stool so I can swap positions.

    BUT... ok and I know this is OT and this sounds like one of those "eat more kale or put it in your butt for maximum result" kinda comments - but as a 40+ year old dude with back aches since I was 30, start weight lifting and do powerwalking. Again, I know it sounds... like I am trying to sell you some kind of cleanse program, but it really solved ALL my back issues in about three weeks. Some light lifting and power walking.

    Also: addendum - I realize that my back issues could and probably are way different from yours, but lifting really doesn't hurt either way right?

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      mat
      Link Parent
      Oh, no. It really could. If I started lifting weights I'd be absolutely ruined within weeks. Like, day-long agony kind of thing. Counting the hours between being able to take more painkillers sort...

      lifting really doesn't hurt either way right?

      Oh, no. It really could. If I started lifting weights I'd be absolutely ruined within weeks. Like, day-long agony kind of thing. Counting the hours between being able to take more painkillers sort of situation.

      Everybody is different and while your issues might respond to a specific form of exercise, not everyone's will. It's good that you've found a thing which works and it's also good to mention it to give people something to consider - but everyone with chronic pain issues needs to check with their physical therapist before they start doing stuff, because some conditions may be made worse, not better.

      That said, walking - just normal walking not power walking - is probably a fairly safe bet though.

      7 votes
      1. ohyran
        Link Parent
        Again not saying "One size fits all" here, but check it out either way (together with Doctor advice etc etc etc obviously - my qualifications are "slightly drunk Swede on the internet" so...

        Again not saying "One size fits all" here, but check it out either way (together with Doctor advice etc etc etc obviously - my qualifications are "slightly drunk Swede on the internet" so really... I should not be trusted)

        7 votes
    2. suspended
      Link Parent
      I'm an avid mountain climber and I agree.

      I'm an avid mountain climber and I agree.

      3 votes
  7. [3]
    onelap32
    Link
    I used one for a while. It's better and worse. I think that in general terms standing might be better if it's dynamic and you're moving around or changing positions frequently. But if you remain...

    I used one for a while. It's better and worse. I think that in general terms standing might be better if it's dynamic and you're moving around or changing positions frequently. But if you remain stationary, it's not much better than sitting. It may actually be worse since blood will pool in your legs. If you do go down the standing desk route, get something like a foot rail or footstool to give yourself more options for body position.

    If you want to make your regular seating better, you need to prevent "the slide". The slide is what happens when you relax in a normal chair (e.g., a dining chair): your butt slides forward and you slouch. Humans compensate for this by keeping hip flexors and lower back muscles constantly engaged, which is awful in the long-term. But if you tip your whole seat back (as though you are preparing to fall over backwards), it will counteract "the slide". And if you set up a solid footrest, you can brace yourself against it keep yourself from slouching. Even better, set up the foot rest at a bit of a height so that your legs are extended and not bent.

    In the ideal, you're sitting a bit like an F1 driver. But you don't have to go as extreme as that to get a benefit; any seating setup that allows you to relax your hip flexors and lower back is good. I suspect that over the next decade reclined seating will become popular, much as standing desks started to gain popularity around ten years ago.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      suspended
      Link Parent
      Thanks for this! I'm going to look into this further since it makes so much sense to me. If you don't mind, would you share some illustrative examples (pictures) that you may know of?

      Thanks for this! I'm going to look into this further since it makes so much sense to me. If you don't mind, would you share some illustrative examples (pictures) that you may know of?

      3 votes
      1. onelap32
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        If you mean the sort of seating position I was talking about, the general body position and tilt would be something like this. Maybe a bit more clockwise rotation. And contrary to the image's...

        If you mean the sort of seating position I was talking about, the general body position and tilt would be something like this. Maybe a bit more clockwise rotation. And contrary to the image's suggestion, you want the pedals footrest close enough that you can "stand" against it to keep your butt from sliding. Helmet is optional.

        The ultimate version of it is a "reclining desk" or "reclining workstation"; an image search for those terms will bring up examples. Some of them are... wacky. And weirdly expensive. And of course, there are the hilarious DIY versions (via HN). People really complicate it for no reason; all one really needs is a monitor arm that can swivel 90 degrees and a recliner or lounge chair. Though given my personal holy grail is a reclined recumbent exercise bike with a monitor above it, my accusation of over-complexity may be a stone thrown from a glass house. :-)

        I should mention one thing about these setups that I forgot earlier: you usually end up with your keyboard closer to your lap, and that makes it easy to accidentally put pressure on the ulnar nerve. Your elbows are so far back that you can end up pressing them up against your seat-back, squishing the ulnar nerve between bone and furniture. (People who are lazy and use their laptops in bed sometimes have problems with ulnar nerve compression.) You just need a little bit of space so your elbows aren't pressing on anything.

        Oh, and just as a note I'm by no means an expert in any of this, so take my advice with a grain of salt. I think it's right, but (as my wife likes to remind me) I have been wrong before.

        4 votes
  8. [2]
    skullkid2424
    Link
    I had a nice transition desk that would go from sitting to standing at work. I worked at the kitchen table for a few months once COVID hit before my living situation enabled me to get a better...

    I had a nice transition desk that would go from sitting to standing at work. I worked at the kitchen table for a few months once COVID hit before my living situation enabled me to get a better setup. Its helped a lot with back issues, though I also need to get back in the habit of stretches and resistance bands.

    For the desk itself - I opted for a manual crank to adjust the height, as its less likely to break down. I'm also aiming at a full time standing desk - so I won't need to move it too often. I've got an IKEA chair in the room that I can retreat to occasionally for meetings or videos or just to sit for a few minutes. I ended up buying this desk with 2-tiers, and my roommate bought the regular flat version. So far, I've been very happy with it. The upper tier works well my monitor and laptop (on a stand) to be at the proper height for vision. My roommate likes his as well, but got a dual-monitor arm for his setup.

    I'd also recommend a good standing mat. I was advised against a flat mat and told to look into a more "active" mat that encourages you to change your foot position. I picked up this one and have been very happy. I find myself using the sides and center ridges all the time to switch things up, and it makes standing much easier.

    Good luck!

    4 votes
  9. [2]
    TenThousandSuns
    Link
    One thing I'll add to the conversation is consider adding a walking treadmill. I've got one from Amazon and combine it with the standing desk for a few hours a day, especially for long-ass...

    One thing I'll add to the conversation is consider adding a walking treadmill. I've got one from Amazon and combine it with the standing desk for a few hours a day, especially for long-ass conference calls. My steps went from basically 0 to a comfy 8k a day. You can set the speed to really low for when you're working on some spreadsheets or answering calls, and pretty fast pace when you're just listening.

    When I had the standing desk by itself I used it maybe a few times a month, now it's every day. I just like walking!

    4 votes
    1. cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      You can also get compact workout bikes and ellipticals that can be used with standing desks too. And while I don't yet have a standing desk yet myself, I have been eyeing the autonomous.ai...

      You can also get compact workout bikes and ellipticals that can be used with standing desks too. And while I don't yet have a standing desk yet myself, I have been eyeing the autonomous.ai SmartDesk (since it's the only one I have found that can support the weight of my multi-monitor setup), and also looking at a recumbent workout bike to go along with it as well. So there are plenty of options out there for burning some extra calories while using a standing desk, you just have to do some digging to find the right equipment.

      2 votes
  10. snekface
    Link
    I use a plastic stackable shelf turned upside down sometimes to prop my laptop up and use that as a standing desk sometimes. I felt like I wasn't standing enough during the day while working from...

    I use a plastic stackable shelf turned upside down sometimes to prop my laptop up and use that as a standing desk sometimes. I felt like I wasn't standing enough during the day while working from home and I didn't really wanna buy anything fancy, so it was just the first thing I found that that provided enough height to stand and work.

    Maybe if I got a proper standing desk or stand it'd be easier. The setup is a little awkward and difficult to use.

    1 vote
  11. [7]
    tesseractcat
    (edited )
    Link
    Nobody's mentioned this, but keep in mind that Chiropractics is, for the most part, a pseudoscience. E: I don't mean to stop doing what helps, but just be careful.

    Nobody's mentioned this, but keep in mind that Chiropractics is, for the most part, a pseudoscience.

    E: I don't mean to stop doing what helps, but just be careful.

    8 votes
    1. Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      I have a particular distaste for chiropractors in general. I've visited several of them over the years and they do make my back feel nice but as an industry, it's a joke. I did tech support for a...

      I have a particular distaste for chiropractors in general. I've visited several of them over the years and they do make my back feel nice but as an industry, it's a joke. I did tech support for a chiropractor who was very solidly in the "woo" end of things, to the point that he held seminars to teach others how to start their own chiropractic business. So I got to look through all their powerpoints and videos at various points. It was all a very very tall load of bullshit.

      8 votes
    2. suspended
      Link Parent
      From the Wikipedia article: This is the second time that I've received treatment, successfully, for back pain.

      From the Wikipedia article:

      There is no conclusive evidence that chiropractic is effective for the treatment of any medical condition, except perhaps for certain kinds of back pain.

      This is the second time that I've received treatment, successfully, for back pain.

      4 votes
    3. [4]
      mat
      Link Parent
      Yes and no. It started as that. But a decent amount of modern chiropractors don't do the woo stuff and are highly skilled physical therapists. Although not all - and as far as I know there's no...

      Yes and no. It started as that. But a decent amount of modern chiropractors don't do the woo stuff and are highly skilled physical therapists. Although not all - and as far as I know there's no way to tell in advance.

      But, while magical woo is magical woo and I am extremely wary of such - in recent years I've started to think more that if it works, it works. The human body is complicated and strange, pain is especially weird and all sorts of things can help without being real science. For example, acupuncture, which is amazing for certain sorts of back pain despite being largely magic. A friend of mine once gave me some free reflexology treatment and my back didn't hurt for days afterwards. I don't know why her rubbing my feet did that, or what she believed she was doing in regard to my energy flow or whatever the hell it was supposed to be - but it helped. It took away my pain. I paid for a few more sessions it was so good.

      4 votes
      1. [3]
        suspended
        Link Parent
        This is also referred to as 'acupressure' and I've used it on my self and others with promising, yet temporary, results. I used to use this on my mother for years to alleviate headaches and other...

        reflexology

        This is also referred to as 'acupressure' and I've used it on my self and others with promising, yet temporary, results. I used to use this on my mother for years to alleviate headaches and other pain. It worked every time.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          mat
          Link Parent
          Am I right in thinking that acupressure works on all the acupuncture points around the body but reflexology is specifically the feet?

          Am I right in thinking that acupressure works on all the acupuncture points around the body but reflexology is specifically the feet?

          1 vote
          1. suspended
            Link Parent
            Yeah. You could be right here. It's been a while since I looked into all of this.

            Yeah. You could be right here. It's been a while since I looked into all of this.

            1 vote