Dealing with Aches and Your New Standing Desk
by Kenny Rhoads
One of the things about converting to a standing desk, is that when you’re adjusting to the feeling of standing, you will experience some new aches and pains throughout your body. The same can happen if you do a lot of office work at home and have switched to a standing desk there. However, if you don’t know what to expect, this pain can deter you from continuing to use a standing desk more often. It’s important to know the difference between acceptable pain and bad pain so you can manage expectations and take the necessary steps to address it.
Understanding the difference between bad pain and normal aches is especially difficult for adults who may not exercise regularly, both because they get uncomfortable more easily than those who exercise, and because as we age, we generally become more susceptible to injuries and unpleasant aches. But just because you aren’t familiar with how your body deals with new scenarios like standing all day doesn’t mean you should stop standing at work.
The basic rule is that aches in muscles are fine, especially if they go away within the first few days to a week. You will probably experience some aches in your legs and perhaps lower back as well while your body is adjusting to standing at your office desk and holding your weight up. In general, you shouldn’t begin to worry about anything unless the pain remains longer than a week. If you find yourself continuing to have soreness in your lower back even after a week of acclimating to standing, you should consider your posture. It’s pretty easy to identify posture problems with a bit of research, and ratifying the problem can be as simple as thinking about your hips, back, and shoulders.
When you’re considering aches in your joints and tendons, the first thing to consider is those that persist through the night and especially over the course of a weekend where you aren’t standing as much. If you are feeling aches in your feet, ankles, and knees, you should think about your feet, shoes, and the surface you are standing on. You might also consider adding some stretching to your routine a few times to week.
However, all these aches and discomforts are generally not a big problem. You will know more significant issues because they will be seriously painful, and may even be pain that gets worse while you are working. For example, if you notice pain in your wrists or shoulders that gets worse over the course of the day, you should consider your workstation’s ergonomics.
The important thing to realize is that even in the few cases where you experience aches, pains, or discomforts, it is almost never right to eliminate the standing desk as part of your solution. Standing is usually part of a solution to other long-term health issues, and you can address any aches or pains that arise by identifying the source of the problem and dealing with physical issues so that you can take full advantage of your standing desk.