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.


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

-Stay healthy everybody.