Review of a stand up desk converter

Movement is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.  Sadly, many of my low back pain patients are suffering with adisc injury because they sit for long periods of time. For these patients I often recommend they move more, get out of their seat more, going for walks, performing back bends, etc.  To keep them productive at work, I may suggest a stand up desk.

For most companies and patients, the cost of purchasing an adjustable desk is too costly.  An alternative to an adjustable desk is having a high desk and then using a stool to quickly go from sitting to standing. But again this can be costly too.  Another alternative is to use a regular desk and have a standing desk converter placed on the desk.

I was recently asked by AnthroDesk to review one of their products; the AnthroDesk: Sliding Standing Desk Converter (Black.

** Please note that this is not an affiliate link. The product was given to me so I could do a review.  I told them that despite receiving the product for free my comments on their product would not be biased. *

Anthrodesk Standing Desk Converter Review

I would like to note that I have only had the converter for approximately 3 weeks but here are my thoughts:

Pro:

  1. It was quick and easy to assemble the converter. An Allen key is provided and no added tools are necessary. It took me 10 minutes to assemble it.  The website said it could take up to 15 minutes.
  2. Once assembled, the converter feels sturdy.  In my video you can see the monitor shake but the converter felt solid.
  3. The latches have a safety mechanism to prevent accidental unlatching.  Though this might be difficult to unlatch when needed i’d rather have difficulty unlatching than having my monitor fall.
  4. With the monitor as far back as it can and the front end of the bottom shelf right at the edge of the desk the monitor is an arms length from the user.  A general rule of thumb for monitor distance is one arm’s length from the screen
  5. At the current price (February 3, 2019), the converter is $99.99 CAD.  This is a lot cheaper than an adjustable table.

Cons:

  1. It is loud when changing the heights of the shelves. In an open office setting this might not be desirable but in an home office room this might not bother you.  
  2. At the lowest position of the lower shelf it can be difficult to get the shelf up.
  3. When moving the shelves there are moments of sticking.
  4. The support post height is limited to the heights that it can support.  For shorter individuals this will be of no use.

Other Thoughts

At its lowest position the bottom shelf will stand 1.25 inches off the desk.  If your desk is currently at the right height for your keyboard this may alter your ergonomics.

It takes approximately 15 to 20 seconds, for me, to adjust the converter up or down. This may be considered long when comparing to a fixed height desk with a tall stool which takes seconds to adjust. I also don’t know how long it takes for an adjustable desk to change heights.  I would think that if it feels even remotely inconvenient you may end up not using it at all.

I’m curious to see if the noise from my converter is just a flaw in the converter given to me or if it is experienced on others. If this is what happens on all of the devices this might not be a product that would be desirable in an open office setting or a reception area.

Conclusion

 For the price, this product is a cheap alternative, and if you don’t mind the time it takes to change the heights of the shelves or the sound then this could be a good option for a stand up desk.

Effects of Long Standing

Remember movement is the most important part.  If you think that just switching to standing all day is going to fix all your problems, long standing can have its own negative effects.

  1. Lower back fatigue and discomfort.
  2. Carotid arteriosclerosis, leg edema, orthostatic symptoms (light headedness or dizziness), heart rate, blood pressure, and venous diseases (varicose veins, chronic venous disease and chronic venous insufficiency).
  3. A number of studies have shown that exposure to prolonged standing tasks can increase the physical fatigue and discomfort reported by workers.

Dealing with back pain getting on and off the toilet

If you are dealing with back pain some of the easiest tasks in life might prove to be more difficult. Getting down onto the toilet may prove to be a very difficult task.

Getting on and off the toilet when dealing with back pain.

When you have to sit down on the toilet try this out.

  1. Keep your back straight
  2. Push your hips backwards as you support your upper body with your arms on your thighs. This is the short stop position.
  3. Crawl your hands down your thighs to your knees.
  4. To get onto the seat you may need to use a handrail or place your hands on the toilet to lower yourself further.

To come back up

  1. With your knees out, place your weight firmly on your feet.
  2. Lean forward supporting your hands on your knees or using a handrail.
  3. Crawl your hands up your thighs as your straighten your self up to standing.

I hope this helps you

Dr Notley

P.S. If you are struggling with pain don’t just expect things to just get better. Seek out a professional who can help you.

Self myofascial release of the Temporalis Muscle

The temporalis is the muscle that you feel  over your temples when you clench your teeth and as you chew.

The muscle can be tender to touch and can refer to the upper teeth, over the eyebrow and on the side of the head and sometimes to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

It is responsible for closing the jaw (when both contract), moving the jaw from side to side (when one contracts) and a little bit of retraction (pulling the jaw backwards)

It is often affected by excessive gum chewing, jaw clenching, trauma to the muscle and head position.

In my practise I often use  active release technique (ART) or acupuncture to specifically treat this muscle in addition to addressing the causes of this muscle being over worked

To perform your own self treatment of this muscle (self myofascial release) take your thumb or a ball (the smaller the ball the more focused the pressure can be).  Pin the tender point down.  You don’t need to crush the muscle to do this.  Mild to moderate discomfort is fine. Since this muscle fans out from its insertion, once you have pinned the muscle out direct the ball/thumb  in different direction.

To add a stretch to it simply open up your mouth.   If you deviate your jaw to the other side you will add a little more stretch the the muscle.

Dr Notley

 

Why is your back stiffer in the morning?

You may have noticed when you wake up in the morning that your spine is more stiff than it was before you went to bed.

I’d like to explain why this happens.

Why is my back stiffer in the morning?

The intervertebral discs between our vertebrae are made up of  multiple, strong, fibrous layers called the annulus fibrosis. The annulus encases the nucleus pulposus which is a jelly like substance. This jelly substance is attracted to water.

When we wake up in the morning our spine is approximately 19mm longer than it is at the end of the day. This is because when laying down the force of gravity on our spine is less than the force of attraction of the water to the nucleus pulposus. Therefore, water is drawn into the intervertebral disc.

This increase in water in the discs reduces the ability of the spine to bend forward by between 5 and 6 degrees.  Bending stresses on the spine are increased by 300% and stress on the ligaments is increased 80%.

Sadly, the muscles don’t seem to compensate for this stiffness by restricting the lumbar spine’s bending range of motion.  Therefore, when we bend forward this increased stress on the spine increases our chance of aggravating or injuring our spine.

Thankfully, approximately 50% of increased disc height is reduced within the first hour of the day.

Should I workout in the morning?

Based on this information it is highly recommended that if you want to exercise avoid spinal based movements that involve flexing the spine or bending within the first hour.

For those with chronic lower back pain this advice holds true as well.  Do your best to minimize the amount of bending that you perform within the first hour of the day. Plan your day out, the night  before, so that the first parts of your day involve less bending and heavy lifting.  Later in the day these activities would be more appropriate.

Dr Notley

P.S. You can watch more videos on Instagram TV and Youtube

 

Why do I hurt? DIMs vs SIMS

When you are injured the degree of pain is not proportional to the degree of damage. There are more variables that are involved than tissue damage. The body, brain, interprets how dangerous the situation is. It looks at the present situation (ie, physical, emotional, environmental, psychological variable), past injury situations, and it looks at the future consequences of the injury. It evaluates the situation and then outputs what degree of threat it is.

One person may stub their toe and just keep on going. Another person, who had previously broken their toe, may be writhing in pain.

For some, they may tend towards anxiety, depression, or they may catastrophize the situation. This increases the danger and thus more pain will be experienced. A draw back to this is that these “Danger in Me” thoughts cause people to avoid what they need to do. This slows their progress in rehab, reducing their enjoyment and quality of life.

My job, with my athletes, is to reduce the anxieties or worries of their pain. Also, I am to help put themselves in situations where they can work the injured area in a “Safe in Me” environment. Building themselves up to the point where they can enjoy their sport, activity or life again.