The real pain of "turtle necking"
Stroll through the cubicles at the average office and you’ll see people slumping, hunching, and poking their heads out like turtles as they sink further toward their computer monitors or laptops. Come back at the end of the day and you’ll see people with headaches and blurry vision. Tension in the suboccipital muscles is the main cause of this, and that is due to the head-forward posture created by long term sitting. The suboccipital muscles are the ones at the base of the skull, but the pain can be felt in the forehead, and the eyes so it can be hard to recognize the cause.
When the head is not balanced above the neck and shoulders but is held forward, the result an be as much as 30 pounds of extra pressure on the neck and spine. Better posture is important, but many of us start our days sitting up straight and gradually end up with our noses getting ever closer to that computer screen. Or sliding back and deeper into your chair curving your spine. Sitting all day is not natural for us, and poor posture is the consequence.
Thoracic outlet syndrome is another issue caused by sedentary work days. This is tingling and numbness in the upper extremities due to rounded forward shoulders. A third common problem is hyper kyphosis of the thoracic spine. This can develop into the condition sometimes called “Dowager’s Hump” — a permanently rounded back.
If sitting is the problem, is a standing desk the answer? It can be. However, just switching from sitting all day to standing all day is no improvement. That can lead to lower back problems or circulation issues. It can make you tired, and it can interfere with concentration. And of course we can have poor posture standing as well as sitting.
So the real solution is to move more and change positions more during the day. That doesn’t mean you have to have two desks. A StällDesk can allow you to sit for tasks that require intense concentration, then stand for a while to get less intense tasks done, and then return to sitting. The changes in position and posture can help reduce the long-term health effects of too much sitting, as well as the pain that comes with poor posture
Is the standing desk really worth all the hype?
Whether you’ve sat at a desk for a day or a decade, you’ve probably experienced a little stiffness in your body from remaining in a seated position. You’re definitely not alone. Experts are saying that sitting leads to health problems, including diabetes, obesity, and even cancer! What’s the solution? Potentially, a standing desk. Is there a truth to all of the hype? Could the standing desk really keep you healthier and injury free?
Yes, actually. For starters, studies showed that standing at your desk can help you fight obesity. Standing burns about 50 more calories an hour than sitting and helps your metabolism stay in gear.
What’s more, studies showed that sitting is linked to type 2 diabetes. When you sit, your body becomes less responsive to insulin, increasing your likelihood of developing diabetes.
Still not convinced? If you’re not worried about your blood sugar, maybe worry about your heart. You rely on this imperative organ to pump blood through your body. The Mayo Clinic says that sitting spikes your risk of cardiovascular disease by a staggering 125 percent! If you need more encouragement to stand at your desk, other research has linked sitting to cancer and a shortened life expectancy. In fact, if you cut your sitting time by just a few hours a day, you could add two years to your life expectancy!
Buying a StällDesk could be well worth the investment, but even propping up your workspace for a couple of hours each day will go a long way towards keeping you healthy
Health Benefits of Standing
- Improves sleep
- Improves mood
- Improves productivity
- Improves focus
- Reduces fatigue
- Reduces upper back, neck, and shoulder pain
- Increases heart rate and calorie expenditure
- Reduces risk of obesity
- Burns 3 times more kcal h-1 than sitting
- Reduces risk of Type 2 diabetes
- Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduces risk of cancer
Negative Effects of Prolonged Sitting
- Harms circulation
- Damages joints leading to inflammation, stress and chronic pain
- Increases risk of diabetes (higher levels of fasting blood glucose)
- Increases risk of Cardiovascular disease
- Increases risk of Metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess fat at midsection, abnormal cholesterol levels)
- Increases risk of obesity
- Increases risk of cancer
- Increases risk of disease
- Increases risk of premature death
- May increase risk of dementia