Standing Work Stations

Standing  Work Stations
We sit too much! Research studies show that pressure on the lumbar spine nearly triples when we sit down. Why? We are bipedal creatures and we when sit are legs aren’t supporting us and the spring of our lumbar curve flattens.

A nice chair can’t compete with 9.8 Newton’ (9.80665 m/s2 (approx. 32.174 ft/s2) of gravity pushing down on us all day.

The result rounded shoulders, painful low back, and a stiff neck. This postural presentation is called Forward Head Posture. (FHP).

Consider these 10 fascinating quotes from Spine experts.

“90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine. This is analogous to a windmill generating electricity” -Dr. Roger Sperry (Medical doctor winner of the Nobel prize for brain research)

“Loss of the cervical curve (i.e. loss of normal spinal posture), stretches the spinal cord 5-7 centimeters, and causes disease.”–Dr. A. Breig, Neuro-surgeon, winner of the Nobel Prize

“Forward head posture leads to long term muscle strain, disc herniations, arthritis and pinched nerves.” –Mayo Clinic, November 3, 2000

“For every inch of forward head posture, it can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds.” Kapandji, Physiology of Joints, Vol 3.

“Abnormal postures are well known to play a role in the causation of pain and functional impairment leading to disability.” Calliet, R. M.D., Low Back Pain Syndrome, Edition 4, Pain Series, F.A. Davis Company Fourth Printing, 1991, pgs. 5-8 and 26-43.

“By far the most important proprioceptive information needed for the maintenance of equilibrium is that derived from the joint receptors of the neck” -Guyton A. Basic Neuroscience. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders; 1991

90-97% of all back pain is due to dysfunction of either the spinal joints or the muscles or both. -MANUAL MEDICINE, Vol. 5, No. 3, 1990, 110-114. Kirkaldy-Willis and Tilscher

Shifts in gravity (Postural) in the aging population led to hemorrhoids, varicose veins of the legs, osteoporosis, intestinal problems, overall poorer health and even early death. -Journal of the American Medical Association, J.T. Freeman, “Posture in the Aging and Aged Body”. , Vol. 165, No. 7, 1957, 843-846

And the American Journal of Pain Management, Vol. 4, No.1, 1994, 36-39 “Postural and Respiratory Modulation of Autonomic Function, Pain, and Health” concluded that posture affects all human function including proper breathing, musculoskeletal pain, mind/body interaction and balance, vocal ability–including speaking and singing, proper immune function and, of course, overall health. WOW!

Posture Predicts MortalityJournal of the American Geriatrics Society-Volume 52 Issue 10 Page 1662 – October 2004-Deborah M. Kado, MD, MS, Mei-Hua Huang, DrPH, Arun S. Karlamangla, MD, PhD, Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, MD and Gail A. Greendale, MD

With all of the above quotes in mind and rehabilitation from my own injuries– I educate people on how to convert to a Standing Computer Station at work, home, or both.

Personally I have worked this way for years. Many patients report they have been given permission by their HR departments to be fitted for “Stand-up” work stations.

At the end of this post you’ll find a link to a New York Times article on Treadmill desks. Here’s another awesome idea! If people can work on their computers while on a treadmill–I think they can work at a stand up work station. Makes sense, right.

Lap tops can work this way too. Get a separate full sized ergonomic keyboard and mouse– then use that instead of the laptop keyboard. Use your laptop only as a monitor/screen.

I have my laptop on top of a high boy dresser. The lap top is placed on a plastic spacer to get the laptop higher–at eye level. One of the middle drawers is almost at the perfect place to have my arms bent at a 90 degree angle as I stand at the dresser. I have cut out a flat piece of wood and placed it on the open drawer (to act as a temporary top) for the full sized ergo keyboard and mouse.

When I am done working I put the keyboard and mouse in the drawer and close it. You’d never know it was an office.

Don’t forget to get a quality Anti-Fatigue Mat for the floor. I prefer the thicker 7/8’s versions. Many companies on the internet sell these with a nice corporate indoor look.

New York Times Treadmill desk article: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/18/health/nutrition/18fitness.html

2 other articles on stand up desks or combination of styles.

1. https://adjust2it.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/stand-to-sit-too-long-ny-times-2010/

2.  https://adjust2it.wordpress.com/2010/05/02/your-office-chair-is-killing-you/

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