Title

Increasing standing tolerance in office workers with standing-induced back pain

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-2-2020

Abstract

Sit-stand desks are popular however many people have standing-induced low back pain (LBP). People with LBP have fewer standing weight shifts compared with back-healthy people. Participants were classified as standing-tolerant or intolerant. Participants were provided sit-stand desks for 12 weeks. Participants were assigned to intervention (graded standing exposure and exercise) or control (no instruction) conditions. Participants reported weekly sitting time and average/worst LBP. Standing weight shifts and LBP were re-assessed post-intervention. All groups decreased sitting time (range: 30–50%) over 12 weeks. Sitting time and average LBP were correlated in all standing-intolerant individuals, worst LBP and sitting time were correlated for intervention group only. All standing-intolerant individuals increased standing weight shifts and decreased LBP after 12-weeks. Standing-intolerant individuals benefitted from 12-weeks of sit-stand desk use regardless of intervention. Motivated individuals with standing-induced LBP may increase standing tolerance with sit-stand desk use. Additional benefits may exist when structured guidance is provided. Practitioner summary: Many people are standing-intolerant due to low back pain (LBP). This lab and field-based study showed some benefits from structured approaches to gradually progress standing time when transitioning to standing work. Using a sit-stand desk for 12 weeks resulted in decreased LBP and sitting time in standing-intolerant people. Abbreviations: LBP: low back pain; OSPAQ: Occupational Sitting and Physical Activity Questionnaire; VAS: visual analog scale; GRF: ground reaction force; WeekVASMAX: worst low back pain reported on visual analog scale for prior week; WeekVASAVE: average low back pain reported on visual analog scale for prior week; ICC: intraclass correlation coefficient; LabVASMAX: worst low back pain reported on visual analog scale during lab-based standing; LabVASAVE: average low back pain reported on visual analog scale during lab-based standing; FvR,L: vertical ground reaction force for right and left force plate; BWSSMALL: small (10-29% body weight) body weight shift; BWSLARGE: large (> 30% body weight) body weight shift; ActivPALSED: ActivePAL data for sedentary time; ActivPALSTND: ActivePAL data for standing time; ANOVA: analysis of variance; Standing Intolerant-INT: standing intolerant participants assigned to intervention condition; Standing Intolerant-CON: standing intolerant participants assigned to control condition; Standing Tolerant-INT: standing tolerant participants assigned to intervention condition; Standing Tolerant-CON: standing tolerant participants assigned to control condition; SI: standing intolerant; ST: standing tolerant; INT: intervention; CON: control.

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