Standing desks offer many exciting benefits, from helping with weight management to minimizing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Sitting is detrimental to your health, so a standing desk offers the chance to get out of their chair without compromising productivity.
Determining the cause of a headache can be a challenge.
If you find yourself dealing with headaches while using your standing desk, it’d be easy to point fingers at the desk.
A standing desk does not cause headaches, although standing too much can.
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Can You Get a Headache From Standing?
Let’s talk about positional headaches.
These usually occur when standing or sitting down for too long and can often quickly be resolved by laying down.
Positional headaches can be a symptom of something more serious, but they usually mean that your body doesn’t like the position it’s in. Think about how you might feel if you didn’t move all day, you’d probably have a bit of a headache.
Standing is fantastic for you.
It burns ten percent more calories than sitting and wakes your brain up so you don’t accidentally doze off in your ergonomic office chair.
However, too much of a good thing can easily go sour.
Standing up for long periods may trigger positional headaches. That’s why standing desks are adjustable—so they don’t force you to stay on your feet the entire day.
How Can I Stop Getting Headaches at My Desk?
Learning how to use a standing desk properly is essential to making them work for you.
To start, the desk should always be adjusted to elbow height for maximum comfort. If the desk is too high or low, you will increase your risk of developing a headache or back pain.
When you first start using a standing desk, don’t expect to keep it up the entire day. Getting used to the desk gradually is key to enjoying its benefits.
During the first week or so of having the desk, aim to stand anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes daily. You can work your way up from there.
These things take time, so use this as an exercise in practicing patience.
Just because you’re standing doesn’t mean your posture is perfect. Be mindful of your spine alignment throughout the day. If you aren’t supporting your neck properly, you may end up with a headache.
Speaking of alignment, you should be standing with your wrists parallel to the desk surface.
Back pains are a common cause of headaches, so you want to make sure you aren’t bending or warping your body.
Now that you’ve got your desk at the right height, you’ve got to consider what you’re looking at on your desk.
Does your computer fall in your eye line effortlessly? Do you have to strain your eyes to focus on the tiny font of your email, or crank your neck up to look at the screen?
If you find that your computer is too low for you when the standing desk is erect, add a few chunky books or a small box to give it some height.
Sitting Can Cause Headaches, Too
We’ve spoken about the dangers of standing too much, but what about sitting too much?
After all, the standing desk was developed because of the negative side effects of being glued to a chair all day long.
When you stay seated for a long time, tension in your back and neck builds. The worse your posture, the worse the tension.
As that tension increases, it spreads up to your head, which will eventually lead to a headache.
That’s why ergonomic office chairs are so important; they are designed to keep you sitting upright and comfortably while minimizing neck and spine tension. Lumbar support in office chairs is particularly important because it stops you from slouching.
Both sitting and standing correctly require a bit of knowledge, so it’s counterproductive to demonize the standing desk.
Other Factors to Consider
There are several other reasons why you might have a headache during your workday.
While standing up too much can certainly cause a migraine, it shouldn’t be the only thing you’re mindful of at work.
To talk about desks, we have to talk about the computers we stare at while working at them.
Computer screens emit blue light, which has been shown to worsen headaches.
It’s important to take breaks from standing and/or sitting, and also to take some time away from your computer screen regularly.
This is easier said than done when the entire world is plastered on our computer screens, but trust us, it’s worth it.
Stress is difficult to manage and can cause headaches. The next time a headache comes on, take a moment to analyze how you feel.
Are you stressed out? Is there a task or emotion eating away at you?
Our emotions have a big impact on our physical well-being, which is why standing up is so beneficial.
Sitting for long periods can make us feel sad and sluggish, while standing brightens up our mind and body.
Finally, make sure you’re well-hydrated and well-fed. A standing desk is fantastic, but it’s not going to substitute a bottle of water and a good meal.
Standing too much can cause headaches, but all you need is to learn how to allocate enough sitting time throughout the day to avoid it. Always be mindful of your posture, regardless of if you’re sitting or standing.
Back and neck pain are perfect headache triggers. Check in with your body throughout the day and give it the rest and support it needs to do its job.
What has your experience with standing desks been? Have you suffered from headaches while standing or sitting more?
We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!
My name is Vance, and I am the owner of To Ergonomics. Our mission is to improve your workflow by helping you create a supportive and welcoming environment. We hope that you’ll find what you’re looking for while you’re here.