In a study recently published in the journal Human Factors, researchers showed that standing five or more hours a day can increase your risk for long-term lower back pain and other spine issues and musculoskeletal disorders. A 2005 study in Denmark showed prolonged standing at work led to a higher hospitalization risk for enlarged veins. At the very least, it contributes significantly to chronic muscle fatigue of the lower limbs and creates higher risk for issues like leg cramps and backaches.
Millions of bank tellers, retailers and assembly line workers probably didn’t need a study to prove this theory. They live it every day. But upright workers don’t have to take this—ahem—standing up. There are several strategies we can recommend to break up the pressure you put on your body when you’re on your feet all day.
- Schedule regular stretching exercise breaks. Touch your toes, rotate your shoulders, put your hands on the back of your head like you’re on a hammock and lean back a little until you feel the stretch in and below your neck. Experiment with whatever works to put an opposite pull on your achiest body part.
- Schedule regular breaks. Most employers allow for this, especially for workers on their feet, so take advantage of them and find a place to put your feet up. And while you’re at it, stretch again.
- Ask about alternating between standing and seated work. Mixing it up should be every employee’s goal since sitting too long is as brutal on the body (if not more so) than standing too long.
In fact, just remember that your body doesn’t appreciate any posture held for too long or any load placed on it continuously. Change is good. Not only does movement relieve that long held position, it improves blood flow—always a good thing.
Like Grandma always used to say, “Everything in moderation!” But she also used to say: “Take a load off and sit a spell….”
If you find any repetitive motion from your job is causing chronic pain, Lonseth Interventional Pain Centers have more intensive therapies, often medication-free or minimally-invasive ways to deal with the pain. Call the experts in pain management: 504-732-1094.