I’ve been told I can be prone to exaggeration, and I do like a tall story once in a while, but I am being dead serious when I say my chair was killing me. (No pun intended)
Before I start, I do need to make one apology. To my desk.
I was close to falsely accusing my desk of this heinous crime and had even previously titled this blog post to that affect. Why wouldn’t I suspect my desk? It was always in my face, smugly glaring back at me on a daily basis, taunting me that I couldn’t live without it. The desk was right, but it wasn’t to blame.
Little did I know it was desk’s silent partner that was the true culprit, always in the background providing me false comfort and security. A place to rest, reflect and get lost in my day-to-day activities. This was my silent killer.
To put this in context, I’ve been on this earth for just of 40 years or 350,400 hours. On average, I spend 12 hours a day sitting in various forms (sleep aside), which equates to a whopping 175,200 hours of sitting in my lifetime.
A combination of contact sports throughout my youth, a visible lack of core strength and being desk bound for many years, I have suffered chronic back pain for the last 10 years. I’ve seen a specialist, had an MRI, and been diagnosed with a deteriorating lower disc and sciatica down both legs. My options included yoga, Pilates and strength work through to an epidural, steroid injections and the last resort, potential back surgery.
The killer for me was not just the constant dull pain but more not being able to play with my kids in a completely free and uninhibited way, without fear of screaming out in agony.
To be honest I didn’t have an answer. I was against the idea of surgery, I was going to yoga and Pilates which did help, but I was getting used to the idea that I would simply have to live with the pain and discomfort.
We recently moved offices at LinkedIn. Only a short distance across the road, the new office had been custom designed to equal the best in Silicon Valley and provide the LinkedIn staff with the most amazing work environment. One of these new additions was that every single desk could be raised up and down. On the first day I made a decision to raise my desk and push my chair to one side and only ever stand at my desk.
Within 48 hours my back pain had subsided to less than 50% of what it had been and now, 3 months on, I can honestly say it has almost gone. I can get out of bed (not roll out of bed); I can pick my kids up and rumble with them; oh yes, and I can also train for my crazy run next April in the Sahara (The Marathon Des Sables)…
I want to say it’s a miracle, but it’s a little simpler than that. My chair was killing me and my beautiful desk, who I had falsely accused, saved me.
When you next go to your desk please take a look over your shoulder and say to your chair “No, not today. It’s time we had a break. It’s time for me to stand on my own two feet” Make the stand, figuratively and literally and I promise, you’ll never look back.