Makeshift Workstations for Hip/Back Health

As a follow-up to my major post for all the Desk Warriors out there on how to fight the chair, I thought I’d share a couple of modifications that I’ve implemented myself at work over the past several weeks.

First up is my own make-shift standing-work station. Nowadays, it’s easy to find standing work stations at your local furniture store, but at my job I don’t have the liberty of bringing in my own desk or chair.  So instead, I took a cardboard box, stacked a book on top, and whallah! a new laptop space.  The keyboard is just at the right level for typing, though the screen is admittedly too low. I just make sure to crank it up as much as possible in order to keep my neck in as good a position as I can manage. So far, so good.

Also, you’ll see that I’ve stacked a couple of old dictionaries on the floor underneath the desk. This is for me to put a foot up on in order for my body to gain a little bit of neutral flexion. With this trick (learned from the captain) I can stand almost all day!

Obviously, this set-up is all well and good for when I’m only on the computer, but what about when I need to write something? Here again, I’ve found a way to make things work. I’ve lowered my (hip-killer)office chair to it’s lowest setting, which allows me to drop one leg off to the side in a position that looks a lot like a forward lunge. This allows me to keep at least one knee below the hip in a safe and healthy position, and I can switch sides whenever necessary.  (Note: I try to stand and switch sides often so as to avoid any knee discomfort.)

Finally, this weekend I went to the local home center and spent $15 to craft my own standing desk at home. Four wood blocks and some thin rubber mats later, I was able to raise my ENTIRE workstation up to perfect typing height. Since I have an external monitor, I was also able to stack some books under that to raise it to eye level, allowing me to keep my neck in a good position while standing and typing.

We won’t always be able to have the “perfect” working situation, but doing the best with what you have available is a sure-fire way to make some positive changes in your health. If you are already experiencing lower back pain and/or severe shortening in the front of your hips, see if you can’t find a way to get yourself out of that position of hip-death (knees at/above hip level, lumbar curve compromised, glutes getting packed down, and hips not opening due to prolonged exposure in a seated position).   I’ve been trying this stuff out for only 3 days and it`s amazing how much looser I feel! Not only that, but my energy levels actually seem to be higher throughout the day when I’m standing as opposed to sitting.

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In what ways can you improve your workstation to maximize your health?

-Stay healthy everybody.