Those who Stand at Work Experience 31% Less Back Pain, Study Explains

Standing While Working Helps Back Pain

While digital technology has introduced new levels of efficiency in our workplace, it comes with the negative consequence causing workers to be more sedentary. This has resulted in more people using standing desks to counteract the effects of sitting all day. A new study conducted by Start Standing reinforces the importance of standing while at work.

For one thing, the study reveals 31 percent of standers experience less back pain than sitters.

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Standing While Working Helps Back Pain

The Office Lifestyle Study carried out by Start Standing was designed to figure out if standing more and sitting less has a beneficial impact on back pain, neck pain, and body mass index (BMI). According to the organization, most of the studies about standing desks were related to weight loss and productivity.

The study highlights the importance of keeping your workforce fit and healthy, no matter how big your company is. And it all starts by limiting the amount of time your employees stay seated at any given time.

This particular study surveyed 800 office workers who sit or stand at a desk when they are working. The participants provided information about how much they sit or stand at their desks throughout their workday and the level of back or neck pain they experience. The survey also reported details on the gender, weight, and height of each participant.

Key Findings From the Study

In addition to the 31 percent of standers who experienced less back pain, 28 percent also had less neck pain compared to sitters. As far as their BMI, standers saw lower numbers at 24.9, while sitters had an average BMI of 27.1.

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The average back pain level for standers was 2.39 and for sitters it came in at 3.47. For neck pain, standers reported average levels of 2.61 and sitters 3.61. The pain level was measured on a scale of 1-10.

The report quotes Dr. Simmons of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, explaining, “A healthy lifestyle, including minimizing musculoskeletal pain and maintaining a healthy BMI, is the cumulative effect of dozens of dietary and physical behaviors. Standing at work is a relatively easily modified behavior that can have a profound impact on quality of life, especially when we consider the close relationship between BMI and musculoskeletal pain.”

What Dr. Simmons is saying is, it takes a comprehensive approach to benefit from all of the positive actions you take to improve your overall health. No one thing will resolve all of your health problems.


Start Standing recommends you get up at least once every hour of every day from your seated position. Set goals you can achieve when you first start out so you don’t get discouraged and stop, and stay informed. The Start Standing site has a 30-day challenge so you can get on your way to standing at work, and it provides valuable resources with research, reviews of standing desks and chairs.

Photo via Shutterstock

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Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.

2 Reactions
  1. Of the people who are primarily seated at work, how many have good chairs? I’ve sat in some crummy office chairs in my day. Would have been some interesting data to collect.

  2. Hi Robert,
    Having a crummy chair will definitely affect how your back and neck feel after sitting on it all day long.