The charley horse from Hell -- why you should work at a standing desk


#1

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#2

I also developed a DVT due to long hours programing at the computer. Fortunately I was able to get off the stomach injections within a 2yr time frame. I still have pitting edema crop up from time to time, but have converted my desk to a standing desk and take regular stretch/standing breaks. Despite hurting like hell from poor leg circulation I also force myself to walk at least a mile a day on the treadmill or outside. I’ve been lucky to be continuing to improve, but it has not been an easy journey. More people need to know about this risk. Thanks for sharing your story.


#3

I had a DVT two years ago- in my calf, and the lasting effects haven’t been as bad, tho I do have moderate swelling & pain. I actually just had a conversation with my dr about a standing desk as they’re starting to offer them to people at work. It doesn’t actually reduce your risk of a clot. You have to move in order to do that. I was actually afraid it would increase the risk b/c it swells so much more when I stand, but she (the dr) said it won’t increase it and yeah, wear pressure hose. Fun. But more fun than another clot for sure.


#4

Thanks very much for this testimonial…this is a condition I knew next to nothing about. Re: the harms of sitting, where the author says

Even if you are fitness freak outside of your sedentary day job, it
probably will not undo the harm of sitting all day, according to a
recent study.

I remembered seeing something contradicting this just weeks ago: http://boingboing.net/2014/09/10/walking-for-5-minhour-prevent.html.

Sigh. Of course, standing AND exercising is probably the best bet. But I’d hate to give up my deliciously comfy chair on the basis of bad science.

EDIT: Oh, I see. The article author may not have characterized the content of the qz.com article correctly. It actually supports the idea that minor exercise at intervals will stave off the harms of frequent sitting.

Studies have found that simply interrupting your
sitting time with short breaks of movement—just standing or walking
slowly—has beneficial effects[…]The average length of their breaks: just four and a half minutes.

If the author meant “if you sit uninterrupted all day long, exercise later won’t help you”, well, that might be true, but it seems to me that the necessity of a standing desk is being pushed a bit hard here.


#5

Maybe you should start the article with this, then everyone can just save time and stop reading.


#6


#7

I love my standing desk. One major benefit is that you are way more likely to take breaks from standing than you are from sitting. Most of my co-workers have those silly “break time!” apps on they systems that pop up a reminder to stretch or walk about every 30 minutes or so. So every 30 minutes or so everyone there clicks away a dialog on their computer and goes back to work…

The standing desk is doubly useful in that computer games are one of my primary hobbies, so my gaming is limited by how long I feel like standing.

One thing it won’t do is have any impact on your weight. I think Weight Watchers computes the value of standing all day vs. sitting as only about six points, and as with most exercise, your appetite will rise to match the expenditure.


#8

Okay, but, despite all his fitness efforts, is the guy fat or not? That can certainly be a factor.


#9

From a Canadian point of view, all the references to insurance stand out as if highlighted. Having people with no medical training or background self-diagnose - and then suffer from getting it wrong - verges on the barbaric.

I rather suspect that this is actually an “anywhere modern except the U.S.” point of view. In most of the developed world, if you think something might be wrong, you go to the doctor. First. Soon. Without thinking “can I afford this appointment?”


#10

I worked standing for many years and I got wicked varicose veins, which seem to be a risk factor for DVT.


#11

Don’t worry, I’m sure Stephen Harper is working tirelessly to rescue you from the indignity of national-socialism medicine.


#12

I’m really scared of standing desks because I’ve been struggling with Plantar Fasciitis for a couple years now. I’ve found anecdata for it helping and hurting, but no studies.


#13

“Gammy Hamhock”…giggles…


#15

That sounds about right: my experience with Plantar Fasciitis is that a sudden large increase in walking, especially on hard surfaces. I spent a month holiday pounding the pavement in Paris and came down hard with it (interestingly, only after I came back and spent a week sitting (public transit, office, zoning in front of the PC). This was before my standing desk. So I’d expect that if you launched yourself into it, and especially if you didn’t use an anti-fatigue pad, you might exacerbate it. On the other hand, fixing Plantar Fasciitis is generally accomplished by slowly building up the strength and flexibility of the fascii through stretching and walking, so in the long run I’d expect it to be good.


#16

Am I the only one who read this and was astounded at the author’s conclusion? Sure, a standing desk might have prevented the DVT, but for that to be the takeaway from this seems absolutely ridiculous to me. How about not self-diagnosing yourself when something seems to be seriously wrong or very out-of-the-ordinary? Or maybe that your life is more important than avoiding the possibility of paying for an ambulance ride? Or that if something is wrong with your leg and you don’t know what it is, forcing yourself to walk to the doctor and then to the pharmacy is incredibly stupid?

Obviously the only person that knows the true motivation for all of these decisions is the author, but going by the justification they’ve offered for why a particular decision was made, it seems the life-changing outcome the author has endured could’ve been completely avoided with prompt medical care. Sure, maybe a trendy standing desk could’ve helped prevent DVT in the first place, especially if the author has a higher chance of developing blood clots. But a standing desk may have done absolutely nothing to prevent this. Had the author still developed DVT with the standing desk, I’d imagine they would’ve made the same choices in delaying medical care and ended up with a similar prognosis.


#17

A guy in the office has a desk that converts between standing and sitting. I should ask if I can get one of those. A treadmill underneath would be nice too.


#18

Standing desk= Glutten Free of 2014.
Do some exercise and stop wearing those fitness bands, they don’t help unless you actually exercise. I lost 20+ lbs in a matter of 5-6 weeks, just by running/jogging 3 miles every other day and having a healthier diet. i never ran before.

The obvious. Do sit at your desk for more the a couple hours at a time, get up and walk around, talk some shit about your co-workers at the watercooler.


#19

I’m starting to think I’m just kinda doomed when it comes to DVT. All the things articles say to do to reduce risk are beyond my shitty chronically ill body’s ability to do, or do to the extent advised as enough to have a real effect on risk. So, there’s my bright future.


#20

It seems odd for a person with an extremely rare vascular disorder to blame their thrombosis on their chair. Isn’t it much more likely to just be overwhelmingly the result of the disorder?


#21

Nice. Just… completely unnecessary, you compassionate soul, you. Break a leg.