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Save Your Back by Using a High Desk March 14, 2008

Sitting actually puts a lot strain on your lower back. Over the years, working at a desk job can really injure your back so that you won’t be able to sit comfortably for extended periods of time anymore. After suffering such an injury myself, I found that the only way I could get back to work was to use a desk high enough to stand at while working. I also have a chair that is high enough so I can alternate sitting and standing. Even if you end up sitting most of the time as I do these days, it is still well worth it.

Most modular office furniture can be set to any height, so you can easily adjust your cubicle to have one part of the desk at stand-up height. Some ergonomic furniture companies sell desks for this purpose, or you can also find small high tables sold for use in bars or patios, use a drafting table, or construct your own setup. Whatever you get, make sure it is at the right height or can be modified.

To find the perfect table top height for you, stand with your arms at your sides and your shoulders relaxed. Gently raise your hands in front of you by bending at the elbows until your forearms are level with the ground. Have someone measure the height from the ground to your elbow. Set your table top to this height so you can rest your level forearm on the table with your shoulder completely relaxed.

Next, you need a tall chair. Many office supply stores sell adjustable chairs in this height range or you may find a good bar stool or drafting stool. The ideal chair height is so that you will be somewhere between standing height to six inches lower.

Finally, you will need a footrest. Your tall chair may also have its own footrest, but it will generally be too far under you, so is better to have one that is more in front of you. You should be able to have your hips and knees at 90 degree angles and your feet on a firm surface. I was able to find a cheap plastic patio furniture end table and cut the legs as needed. It is also quite easy to make one out of wood. Even a sturdy cardboard box will do in a pinch.

Well, there you have it. Use good posture, alternate standing and sitting, take occasional walks and stretch breaks, and your back will thank you!


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