Is a Standing Desk the Cure for Back Pain?

Standing Desk a Cure for Back Pain? Answer from MG ChiropracticMost fads are truly pointless, some are well-intentioned, and others are spot on for the betterment of mankind. Let’s talk about the middle one. As a society, we sit far too much. As mentioned in a prior blog, we sit so much that we are physiologically damaging our bodies. We sit so much, in fact, that companies are hiring biomechanical specialists to fit employees for standing desks. The thought is: Let’s get people up and out of their chairs, so their back pain will diminish, and they can move more. But, of course, there’s a problem with this logic. Look no further than bank tellers, hair stylists, check-out clerks, or anyone who stands for much of the day. They aren’t free of back pain at all!

It really comes down to blood circulation. In order to keep tissues healthy, blood must circulate to as much of the body as possible. This happens with exercise. Take your hand. Make a fist. Squeeze as tight as possible for 15-20 seconds. Now open your hand, stretching the fingers out. It will look pale due to all the blood being squeezed out of the area. However, you’ll notice that blood rushes back in, making the tissue appear redder and warmer than before. This is an example of the why movement and exercise is good. It keeps us warm and helps pump our blood.

Pumping blood away from the heart is made easy by cardiac muscles. These muscles are working constantly, day in and day out, to keep us alive. When most people think about problems with the heart, they think about these cardiac muscles getting a blood clot in them or just stopping entirely. Although they’re not always as dramatic as they appear on TV, heart attacks tend to come quickly and, in turn, are thought of more widely when thinking of a heart condition.

But what about the other part, though—blood returning to the heart? Blood returning to the heart uses the venous system (veins). This system relies on two factors to get blood back to the heart. First is cardiac muscle output, pumping blood in and out of the heart; think of it as a loop. A major problem with solely relying on this method is that the cardiac muscles are not strong enough to do it alone. After several years, we begin to see sign of “heart failure” or heart fatigue. Heart failure is one of the major reasons why older people are hospitalized—the heart simply wears out. The worst part is that “heart failure” is preventable and the key is factor number two: the hamstrings.

These gorgeous muscles, which are located just below the gluteals and above the knees, are responsible for the lion’s share of blood returning to the heart. It is quite the perfect design. We humans are meant to be active. The more active we are, the more our hamstrings contract; with each contraction, our blood gets a big helping hand back to the heart. This is a major factor in keeping our hearts healthy.

However, when we stand for long periods of time, our joints start loosening up. They crack and pop as we walk. Our muscles are sore, remaining in a contracted state for so long, and all we want to do is sit, where no muscles will contract the way they should.

The veins in our legs that need healthy hamstrings to get the blood back to the heart start collapsing under our own weight, and varicose veins set in. These incompetent veins in the legs promote blood pooling, which leads to deadly blood clots. Nobody wins with that.

How is chiropractic essential? Chiropractic gets us moving again. Without proper joint alignment, our muscles strain, joints breakdown, and, as we all know, painful movements stop us from moving. With the help of chiropractic care, you can get your engine running right.


Dr. Mason M. Greenslade, DC, is the owner of MG Chiropractic, your Belltown and Queen Anne chiropractor. He is certified in the Advanced Activator technique, Chiro-Manipulative Reflex, and the Sacro-Occipital Technique. Dr. Greenslade has his doctorate from the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. Learn more about Dr. Greenslade.

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