Standing desks may cause lower back pain: Waterloo study
A man stands at an office desk in this file image.
Published Tuesday, April 3, 2018 12:23PM EDT
People who think standing desks help eliminate back pain may be given reason to pause by a new study out of the University of Waterloo.
Standing desks have become a popular option at many workplaces in recent years, with proponents arguing that they foster activity in people using them, leading to better health outcomes.
The Waterloo study involved 40 adults with no known back issues. They were asked to stand at desks for two hours and work on a computer or perform other tasks similar to office work that might be done at a standing desk.
Of the 40 people tested, about 40 per cent developed lower back pain by the end of their standing time. The pain disappeared after the people spent 10 to 15 minutes sitting down.
Some of the tests were conducted with subjects being asked to perform a tiring exercise before standing for two hours. In those cases, the subjects’ muscle strength was unable to recover from the exercise during the time spent standing.
“The key takeaway, regardless of whether you are sitting or standing at work, is to move around and shift your posture often,” Daniel Viggiani, the lead author of the study, said in a press release.
Other studies have shown that prolonged standing can lead to issues with lower back pain later in life.
The Waterloo study was published in the Journal of Applied Biomechanics.