Lower back pain is an undesired consequence of the activities that our patients partake in on a daily basis. Without appropriate intervention and adequate rest, these repetitive stressors can lead to injury.
Desk jockeys are filling chiropractic offices with complaints triggered by cumulative stressors, compounded by inactivity. Prolonged seated postures and general deconditioning lead to overloaded spinal ligaments, muscles, and discs.
Altering seat and keyboard height, as well as monitor elevation & distance are all critical variables discussed in the ChiroUp Workstation Ergonomics ADL for those who spend their day sitting. But more recently, increasing numbers of workstation users are transitioning to standing desks; and standing in one spot for an extended period is not without its own set of risks.
What advice should an evidence-based chiropractor give to patients concerning their standing workstation?
Do you know why taverns have foot rails around their bars? The foot rails originated during a time when stools were not common, and patrons would stand, i.e. ‘belly up to’ the bar. The rail was intended to give patrons the ability to alternate legs, giving one a rest while providing a little flexion for those stenotic cowboy spines.
Have you ever considered prescribing a footrest for a patient with LBP? This is a frequently overlooked piece of advice that can help your patients recover more quickly. A new study examined the impact of standing workstations on LBP. (1) The authors concluded that one variable, footrest height, had a significant contribution to muscle fatigue and lower back pain. Their recommendation:
“The results suggest that a footrest height of 10% of the body height can be recommended as a normalized height for prolonged standing work in subjects with a history of non-specific lower back pain during prolonged standing.”
Frequently, patients create their own problems via their activities of daily living. The perpetuating factors are often related to repetitive movements or more commonly, the lack of movement.
Chiropractors who assess and correct the most triggers obtain the best clinical results. Your patient education is often as important as your treatment. When newly published literature has the potential to improve clinical outcomes, your team of ChiroUp researchers finds it, synthesizes it, and turns it into usable information for you and your patients. We hope that you’ll appreciate the new ChiroUp ADL advice for standing workstations that automatically incorporates the latest evidence into your patient reports.
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1. Son JI, et al. Effects of footrest heights on muscle fatigue, kinematics, and kinetics during prolonged standing work. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2017.
About the Author
Dr. Brandon Steele
Dr. Steele began his career at The Central Institute for Human Performance. Dr. Steele has trained with experts including Pavel Kolar, Stuart McGill, Brett Winchester, and Clayton Skaggs. He has been certified in Motion Palpation, DNS, ART, and McKenzie Therapy. Dr. Steele lectures extensively on clinical excellence and evidence-based musculoskeletal management. He currently practices in Swansea, IL and serves on the executive board of the ICS.