When I was 15 I started having pain an discomfort in my upper back and shoulders. This was following a horse riding accident, where I landed on a jump pole. Back then I always put the pain and discomfort and general stiffness down to that specific fall but as the years passed the type of, and location of the pain changed.
As I got older everything began to crack and tighten. I have always been fine as long as I am moving though. For me, pain and stiffness comes from being still. So, sleeping, sitting at a desk and sitting in the car for long periods have become the most uncomfortable over the years.
I’ve had a stiff neck for years, which is made worse during stressful times. This began whilst breastfeeding my children as I was constantly looking down at them and you naturally end up in a hunched position, however hard you try not to let that happen.
I’ve had pain and stiffness in the base of my spine, hips, and SI Joint and a sciatic nerve that flares up, from my pregnancies and primarily as a result of 3/4 of my children being born back-to-back. This, combined with years of tilted hips from carrying children and lugging car seats around has left this area feeling tight, painful and unstable.
My moto as far as my pain goes has always been “keep moving” – as long as I move I am OK, I don’t take pain medication, as I don’t see that at fixing the problem, just potentially causing other issues. I can run marathons, leg press 100kg, dead lift a 30kg kettle bell, ski and do reasonable push ups, but ask me to sit and watch a movie or sit on a dining chair for a lengthy period of time and that’s a major problem for me.
Sitting at a desk has therefore always been problematic. When I worked in an office environment I would have to stand up and stretch every 20 minutes. In one job I was able to swim during my lunch hour which massively helped, and in another I was bought a special chair to help. In general though, working from home means I’m much more able to manage the pain as I can move whenever I need to. Although, when I’m pressed for time this doesn’t always happen.
Using a Yo-Yo DESK® to combat pain and stiffness
I’ve read a lot about how standing desks can help to manage pain like I have and a friend of mine said how much she values hers. I’ve recently been trying out a standing desk from Yo-Yo DESK, so I thought I’d share with you what I thought and how one of these desks may benefit you if you find sitting painful.
Yo-Yo DESK® is now the brand leader when it comes to standing desks, first introduced in 2014 by Gavin Bradley, founder of Active Working CIC and the Get Britain Standing® campaign. These desks are described as being ‘high quality, durable and stylish’. They include a warranty of up to seven years and 30-day FREE Trial, so you can’t go wrong really.
They are a UK-based business with expert sales staff who pride themselves on ensuring you get the optimal solution to help you get moving. Their website is full of very useful information and there is a chat facility to ask any questions you might have when looking into the perfect desk to meet your needs.
I’ve been trying out the Yo-Yo Desk Mini for the last few weeks to see if it makes a difference to the way I feel when I am working. There are so many documented benefits of regular movement when working, including, but not limited to: improved circulation; improved oxygen flow; reduced back pain; and better energy flow.
The guidelines and instructions for this desk were excellent, making it very easy to put together. If you struggle with lifting heavy objects you may need someone to assist you, but other than that it’s a one person job.
There are plenty of tips to get you using the desk effectively. The idea is that you don’t sit or stand for too long, the yo-yo effect comes from moving between the two positions to keep your body moving. You may need to play around with the height of the desk riser to find your optimal positions for comfortable working.
This desk also comes with a mat that you place on the floor to stand on. This mat is thought to aid blood flow and reduce fatigue. It is certainly more comfortable than standing on the floor, especially if you are not wearing shoes. I experimented with and without the mat and was able to stand for around double the time comfortably WITH the mat.
I have found that I can stand for longer than I can sit, so my max sitting time tends to be around 20 minutes, but that may well be different for you. As far as standing goes, I find that when I catch myself fidgeting or standing on one leg, it’s time to sit down, but you will come to learn your own bodily cues signalling you to change position. You may find you are able to sit or stand for longer the more you use the desk.
Personally I have felt a huge relief from being able to stand at my desk. I have in the past put my lap top on a box on the kitchen workspace or windowsill to achieve a similar effect when I was unable to sit, so actually having a proper desk to do this has been wonderful.
I’m a total convert as far as the sit-stand method of working goes. Having this freedom to move around without moving rooms or locations has been wonderful for me and most certainly helps manage the pain and discomfort. Remember I said my moto was “keep moving”? Well this desk has fully enabled me to do that without disrupting my working day.
Have you tried a standing desk before? I’d love to know how you got on in the comments below.
This is a collaborative article.