Sitting/standing desks

Anyone use them?

My work mostly involves using a workstation for anything from 4-12 hours a day.

In recent weeks I’ve had severe gluteal pain on the right - I think it’s mostly muscular (piriformis) spasm which affects the sciatic nerve, probably sport related and a physio assessment a fortnight ago was supportive of this. I had a discectomy some years ago, and occasionally the low back flares and contributes too, so potentially multifactorial.

Sitting is extremely painful without analgesia which takes a few hours to kick in, so considering a sit/stand desk for working from home. Today even an improvised standing position was painful.

Would therefore be interested to know if anyone has shifted to an adjustable desk, and also what kind of chairs you find best. I had a very comfortable ‘luxury’ office chair from Staples which lasted over a decade but eventually failed, a replacement prior to their closure was pitiful by comparison and needs to go in a skip.

Some time back when i was working i tried these type of desks and they did not work for me…hip and back pain. The company had a physio scheme at work and over a few weeks with Ultrasound, manipulation and a regime of exercises at home i finally had relief and finally got over it.
Not sure what the furniture they used…but it was expensive and needed HR and Doctor to sign off.

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We have specified adjustable ones for a new site, and I suspect they can be helpful, but I currently won’t be going there. I think I’m more interested in one for home as I often sit at the computer at home after a day sitting at work.

I knlow that when I’ve had similar pain in the past cross-trainers at the gym have quickly improved my posture but I’ve avoided them in recent months due to the pandemic opting for non-machine based exercise. My muscle bulk/tone has definitely diminished and I really need to get back into some decent core exercises and appropriate physio.

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It is not easy…as once i thought i was sorted my discipline slipped and did not do my exercises…and i got/get the odd flare up. I never learn😬

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The evidence base for them is sketchy at best. Standing all day is no better for you than sitting all day. Sitting with sensible breaks where you stand is better. Moving away from the desk for a few minutes; staying mobile and resting your eyes is best I of all. Not rocket science but most people are pretty bad at it.

Our employer decided to do a controlled study with them but at the same time I worked alongside someone who had an Access To Work assessment which enabled her to acquire one.

Our union managed to get the study binned as a waste of money given that the evidence is already out there. My colleague still has her standing desk but uses it upright maybe twice a week at most.

@Alley_Cat your symptoms are similar to my own. I was hospitalised with a misdiagnosed football injury 22 years ago and these things come back to haunt you. NHS physio was a comedy of errors but my aggressive private physio saved me with the brutality of her words as well as her hands. I use a cross trainer in the garage for 10 minutes a day when things flare up (in order to avoid the 3x physio exercises I’d otherwise have to do daily). Each flare up mirrors your description but is usually under control within 3 days. Otherwise I walk 4 miles a day and use orthotics which took my managed pain down from a 3 out of 10 to mostly a zero.

As well as the physio encouraging me to try orthotics after the wonders she performed in my spine she also got into a frank discussion about weight. I was comfortably at an acceptable weight for my height but after losing 3 stone I weigh broadly what I did when I was 26 and my symptoms rarely flare up more than twice a year for a week or so at most. The original flare ups were 8 months and 6 months respectively and put me on painkillers 24/7. I’ve not taken a painkiller for this in 5 years.

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I work from home and have been using an adjustable PC stand for 3 years now. I spend maybe 1/3 of my day standing and the rest sitting. I think standing all day would be too much but it is nice to be able to stand for some periods of the day. Standing burns more calories too.

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I have one at work and at home. Had the work one for getting on for ten years; inherited when a colleague left. Had the home one maybe four years. I’m tall (1.95) so have always had concerns about posture etc. Used a Stokke kneeling chair for many years before the sit/stand desk.

I mix standing and sitting. No real pattern to that tho, depends how I feel. I use an IKEA Nilserik stool at full height for sitting at work and home rather than a chair with a back.

The desk I have at home is an IKEA Bekant which I bought myself. First one failed after three years (stopped going up!), but they have a ten year guarentee and exchanged without question. If you get one from IKEA save your reciept.

You will probably find the transition to a different mode of sitting/standing/working gives you aches. I certaily had that when I started using the Stokke chair. Less so with the standing desk.

The bottom line is that it is whatever works for you. Sitting with poor posture for hour after hour or standing for hour after hour with poor posture is going to have the same effects on your body.

I wouldn’t go back to a normal desk.



I use a Varier Balans, with backrest and crosspiece.

I also do about 40 mins of stretching, weights and yoga almost every day, accompanied by music on my stereo.

I also go for a bike ride or walk almost every day (- or a swim in the old days when there were pools).

I also drink fermented grape juice in small or medium quantities almost every night - not sure this last behavior helps, but it feels good at the time.


I have a raisable desk, more like a platform really, on my main desk. Like others, I stand for part of the day - typically 1/3rd to half the day sometimes longer. It just depends on how I feel. I started doing it to burn off some calories but actually I would do it anyway now. Important to move around every so often whether standing or sitting.

For a chair, I use a Herman Miller Aeron. Expensive (although good ones can be had off the usual auction site for a lot less) but well worth it especially given the amount of use it gets. Highly adjustable and comfortable.

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I used one for around 18 months when Ericsson kitted out a new office with them. I really enjoyed it, most on the time I stood. I’m 6-4 and it really helped my back.
Currently at home using Herman Millar Aeron chair, I can’t praise it enough had it for 5 years.

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Quite, the difficulty for many is that work is simply relentless with little opportunity to get up and walk around or have regular breaks.

I was in agony yesterday having improvised a couple of document boxes on top of each other on a desk on Monday to plonk the mouse on to work standing up with it in reach. Fortunately the monitor could be raised and tilted enough to see it properly. I probably stood for over 6 hours on Monday - my back was terrible yesterday but sitting was no better as it gave me pain in the back of my thigh/glutes so had to resort to a cocktail of analgesics to settle it.

Back much more comfortable today but again struggling to sit.

I think the option to stand/sit would be good though. As others have mentioned standing does also burn more calories, and there were publications a few years ago suggesting that even if you exercised regularly it’s difficult to offset the negative effects of sitting at work increasing your mortality rate.

I’ve wondered about those kneeling chairs before.

I’ve looked at the Bekant some time ago. How stable is it when up high? I’d have fairly heavy monitors on it.

That Nilserik stool sounds interesting - might take a look when our Ikea hopefully reopens next week.

Interesting - I came across those Varier designs yesterday when doing a bit of searching and there was a specialist store selling them and similar items.

I’d love to be disciplined enough to do all of that, fantastic routine.

I think so many of us have deconditioned during lockdown by staying at home whenever possible, and closure of gyms has meant my normal routine (mostly racquet sports) just suddenly stopped. A few weeks back playing tennis has probably meant that deconditioning has resulted in exacerbation of longstanding niggles in my back and muscles.

Makes sense to try to adopt a more independent routine we can do at home (or even just walking as a family weather permitting), I got the exercise bike out a few months ago from the garage but no one has really used it. Local road are not that safe for the kids to cycle on and we’ve had all manner of travelling restrictions which will hopefull end soon.

I bought a couple of sets of resistance bands for the house and office but they’ve not seen much use as yet - this kind of thing - suspect there are plenty of good videos on the web.

Need a good routine to start using them:

I saw those chairs in John Lewis last year and was tempted though reviews seem quite mixed, and they may be one of those products that simply work for you or don’t, I must take another look when they re-open.

I’ll take a look at those chairs again when the local store re-opens.

Some people complain in reviews about a thick plastic lip at the front that digs into the back of the thigh - I wonder if they’ve just not set them up properly or have wrong chair/desk heights for them, or maybe they suit taller individuals with longer legs better? I’m not quite a hobbit but not far off!

I had an Aeron chair for about 20 years.

I finally sold recently on eBay as I preferred the Varier Balans.

But it doesn’t matter how tall you are, you can easily move the chair up and down on most versions.

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Good luck with it.

Just got back from my last weekly session of v. painful physio (until end of lockdown).

“walking as a family weather permitting” - all weather is good for children, especially rain - it helps them grow - that’s what cagoules were invented for.

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It is something to watch out for in the set up but, if you set the height correctly, it should not be an issue. There is also a setting to allow the seat to tip forward beyond the horizontal which will solve it if the height adjustment doesn’t.

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The chair comes in 3 sizes so getting that right is important. When using the chair my legs rest on the foam pad that runs across the front and so misses the front edge of the seat frame, I do however have long legs😀

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Gosh, cagoules/kagools - ages since I’ve heard those mentioned.