Neck and shoulder fatigue are common ailments related to sitting at a computer all day, and proponents of standing desks often cite these physical strains as reasons why working from a standing position (at least part of the day) could help relieve chronic pains related to posture. But pre-built standing desks can be expensive. What if you just want to convert an existing desk for standing use instead?
Jessica of the Warfield Family was diagnosed by her doctor with shoulder and back pains caused by muscular strain from working seated at the computer.
"He said that when you stand your head weighs about the equivalent of 10 pounds and your back, neck, and shoulder muscles all go back and forth maintaining balance. He said when you sit, your head shifts forward and your head weighs the equivalent of 25 pounds and it is only your neck muscles that get the strain...this is why so many people have a lot of neck strain among other health issues from sitting all day. "
A standing desk was deemed the solution. But instead of purchasing a brand new (and expensive) standing desk model, Jessica and her husband Grant decided they'd attempt to securely raise their existing desk to a height specific to an ergonomic standing position. An affordable option was discovered in Amazon's automotive section: a $35 4-pack of Camco 44560 Olympian RV Aluminum Stack Jack Stands.
Combined with PVC piping cut and spray painted to match the aluminum-finish jack stands, the legs of the table were then slotted into a makeshift desk-raising contraption, elevating the entire desk to a height ideal for working from a standing position.
Additional tweaks/additions: the installation of a $44 Dual LCD Monitor Stand to bring two of the three monitors in line with eye level, moving the filing cabinet and additional home office components underneath the desk, adding a cushy kitchen foam mat underneath to help ease soreness sometimes attributed to working from a standing position all day (the Genuine Joe Anti-Fatigue Mat is a popular and affordable $16 model for standing desk users). The mat is especially notable, as those new to working from a standing position will likely feel some leg and foot fatigue while first acclimating to working from a standing position.
After a week of use Jessica reports that her chiropractor noted her shoulder is looking better and she's feeling more energy since the switch. She also recommends breaking up working from a standing desk using a 70/30 ratio, standing 70% of the time and working seated 30% of the time for optimal comfort.
For more information and photos about this DIY project, check out The Warfield Family's My Standing Desk for $50.
(Images: Jessica Warfield)