How to Relieve Pain from Standing Desks or All-Day Sitting

Standing Desk Pain

With the increasing awareness of damage caused by sedentary living, standing desks have become a common “solution” to the problem. However, last year researchers at Cochrane Work came to the conclusion that there is not enough evidence or research to prove that standing is any better than sitting all day.

The real problem is lack of movement for prolonged periods of time—whether that be standing, sitting or otherwise. Our bodies were not designed to stay in one position for a long duration. While there might not be sufficient evidence to prove that standing at your desk is better for you than sitting, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of complaints among standing desk users about swollen feet and ankles, tight calves and even lower back strain.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, there are ways to alleviate some of the aches and pains caused by sedentary life.


Massage the Feet

PowerPlay Ankle WrapThe soft tissue in the feet takes the bulk of the weight and edema when you stand all day. You can massage the feet and physically flush out swelling by using our PowerPlay ankle wrap. Our portable cold compression ankle wrap uses sequential compression to manually massage feet and ankles. Our cold gel pack fits into the compression wrap and also helps reduce edema that may accumulate throughout the day.



You can also use a tennis ball, lacrosse ball or Trigger Point Therapy ball to help massage the bottom of your feet.

There is an interesting account of someone trying a standing desk for the first time over on the Apartment Therapy blog. The author can attest to the fact that your feet and legs do end up getting sore when you stand up at a desk all day.


Massage the Calves

PowerPlay Calf WrapsIf your calves are more muscular, you may find that they feel especially swollen or tight after standing at your desk all day. Again, massaging can help freshen up those legs and flush out the swelling that may have accumulated throughout the work day, allowing your legs to feel better and prepare for another day of standing! We have a calf massage wrap that is ideal for this situation.


Thoracic Extension

Thoracic ExtensionIf you’re predominantly in a fixed posture for most of the day (standing or sitting at your desk), it’s a good idea to add some back extensions in your daily routine. When the spine is in a fixed position all day it can affect your overhead shoulder mobility, create stress on the neck and cause lower back pain. By getting your spine to move in different directions you can essentially teach your spine to get “unstuck”.


The following video from the Movement Fix has some great advice and visuals on how to perform some of these exercises with a foam roller.


Massage the Back

Back Wrap Long PanelAnother way to relieve low back pain from standing or sitting all day is to use our PowerPlay back wrap, which applies cold and massage directly to the back. This is a great option for the physical therapist or athletic trainer who doesn’t have a massage therapist on staff, or for anyone else who wants the convenience of massage in their home.


Move Throughout the Day

You may think you already move enough throughout the day, but you would be surprised at how infrequently most people move around in the desk job world. To get more movement in your day, try the following ideas:

  • Walk to breakfast/lunch/coffee instead of driving.
  • Set a timer on your phone for movement breaks.
  • Go get a glass of water or go on a short walk around the office.
  • Exercise! There is always time to exercise, whether in the early morning, in the evening or on a lunch break. It’s up to you to make this a priority. If you’re an avid athlete, make sure to use our PowerPlay cold and compression wraps for areas of your body that you most frequently use during exercise. We know you’ll see a difference in both active recovery and relief in tired and aching muscles.

Some workplace experts argue that restructuring the workplace is in fact the only real way we can incorporate movement into the desk job environment. They recommend moving printers, coffee machines, break rooms and bathrooms, and creating more stairs in the workplace.

Standing or sitting all day might not seem like a big deal now, but those sedentary hours can build up over time to cause real damage to your body.

Learn more on how our products can help your everyday life and recovery processes by visiting our products page, as well as reading our case studies and testimonials provided on our website.