Standing Desk



It’s great when your work gets you an adjustable standing desk because your low back is in agony after 10-12 hours of sitting daily. I’ve had a standing desk for about 2 months now. First 6 weeks were very positive – my lower back pain was reduced markedly, and rarely went past a 2 even on a bad day. I dropped two belt holes, and appeared quite lean, and was about 75kg at 6′.

I stood for most of the day, and an electric motor let me adjust it to standing/sitting height. I took K-Starr’s recommendations of glutes tight, and put your foot up on a box in the “captain morgan” pose to make a neutral spine easier to hold with the strong extention forces of standing all day.

My thoracic spine was much less tight, and for the first time in about a year, I could third world squat without pain or tightness. I will be using an adjustable standing desk for the duration of my career as it helps manage my chronic pain.

But once I had the desk, I was standing 10-12 hours daily doing the same repetitive tasks. The standing desk didn’t solve the problems of jobs that were understaffed, with underqualified accountants compared with similar sized jobs, so the partner running them could make more profit. It didn’t solve the poor project management skills of the seniors on the jobs who were so overloaded, that all they could do was fight fires to hit deadlines. It didn’t help that the deadlines given to us to audit 7 funds, each with several subfunds, and 32 brokers to investigate were unrealistic. Most of all, though the size of the job was medium sized, at 5-6 trillion dollars, the riskier financial instruments used to move all that dough around, and relationships between the funds made the work take three times as long as the deadlines in some case.


In one sentence in a meeting, I was thrown under the bus, and given two weeks to do something that had previously taken a team of 3 people, who had a combined experience of 8 years, 3 weeks. I was assigned an offshore team of 2 Indian staff for 20 hours a week and told to do it in 2. The Indian team overran its billing hours by 40 hours. At the same time, while working 55 hour weeks, I was studying for mock examinations for the CPA exams.


At this pressure, and the hours put on, along with the physio work I needed to do to keep healthy eventually took it’s toll. I sprained my neck the Friday evening before 7 hours of exams, and dragged myself walking like Robocop into the exam hall. I got a massage and a kinesiotaping off the girlfriend’s father after, which helped a lot, but I was still in bad shape Monday.


Turns out it wasn’t a sprain, and I’ve been out of work for the guts of two weeks with inflamed discs in my neck. Doc has given me difene (NSAIDS) for pain and inflammation. I’ve been tolerating it well so far, it hasn’t ripped the stomach out of me. I’ve only had one case of black shits from it, but have been eating it with big meals. They also prescribed 5mg Valium x3 daily as a muscle relaxant, which has been a great help in stopping my neck and shoulders tensing up. It’s also taken the edge off the mope. Doctor recommended I drink more to relax the muscles, so a bit of whiskey and a few beers have helped, naturally going valium or booze, and not excess of the other at the same time.

I went back into work for 9 hours the Monday just past, and I was fine up until 2pm. After which I had to take breaks every 5 minutes, and skipped out to the fire escape to lie on the floor and choke back tears as the pain was that bad.

I guess I’m through with ignoring pain. I know what I’m suffering at 23 isn’t normal, and I have to take drastic steps now to have a quality of life and work that I can sustain for 60 years. Physio and doctor have said the neck is just a flare-up caused by stress and repetitive strain, but I’m going to be aggressive with treatment, see consultants, and get second opinions on pain of this quality and intensity.

I went for a few drinks with my dad, and he said as much, He said I was fucked and will be fucked for the rest of my life because of this, and to quit the job if they won’t accommodate your illness.  Which is a shame, because there is fuck all else out there in terms of jobs. I’m going to see what else I can get, but I’m taking it day-by-day at the moment. brb valium kicking in


7 thoughts on “Standing Desk

  1. So a fairly srs time post. Makes me feel pretty thankful for what I do have, as in, not really any chronic pain or actual physical health problems. My mom has fibromyalgia which I sometimes judge a bit, I feel guilty about it, but am also, really…scared to death of getting that passed on to me somehow.

    I guess the biggest thing for me is, seeing other people and comparisons. My skating coach got into a wreck with her car and has a herniated disc in her neck. Got no surgery for it. Still skates, just can’t do triple jumps anymore. My dad compared to my mom is indestructible, and climbs on roofs and stuff still. He takes some muscle relaxers and stuff occasionally, and while he says his shit hurts and complains about sitting in a low car or whatever, is able to do a lot of stuff, whereas my mom is basically bedridden. My dad, I guess, never tried hard, though. He’d work in a machineshop which is hard work, but only 8-10 or so hours 5x a week, whereas my mom lived a couple years on after we were born on 3 hours sleep and took a shitton of prednisone and drank 2L of diet coke daily.

    I wonder if it’s all a question of mental tenacity? What separates everyone? Maybe it’s TCM theory and some people have more primordial jing or whatever? I guess this goes for mental things, too. Some people with mental disorders are able to function and others can’t. Some people go through trauma and are fucked and others aren’t.

    Going back to you specifically, would people at your work see you and go “back pain, but you look so good!” or something, too? Meanwhile someone who’s like 300lbs is like “OH I GOT BACK PAIN TOO TOUGHEN UP!!”

    I dunno, it’s hard to ponder this sort of thing.

  2. For me, TCM is one of those bodies of knowledge that have a lot going for them because they were useful to millions of people over thousands of years. I’m not familiar with TCM, but that “life essence” is something I burned hard. I’ve abused myself. Abusing your body, whether through drugs, overwork or excessive religious mortification is also a sin in Catholicism. I’m not serving anybody in this state. But there is the healing power of grace. You can regain your range of motion, physical and otherwise.

    I think that tenacity you describe your mom has can really fuck you up. You get used to pushing through pain and dissociating from it, until the damage is irrevocable. It’s great to have that fortitude when you need to survive life-or-death experiences, but long term, you can’t do it. Interesting to hear she was an auditor haha. I’m trying to get out of the job as I can’t hack it. Fatman was in big 4 in some capacity too. Stress is definitely a factor in getting my shit all tight and snapped up.

    As regards work, Sometimes it’s manageable. When I went in walking like robocop, I think people realised that I wasn’t on the standing desk because it’s trendy. I’m using it because I’m pretty fucked. I have to get used to that.

  3. If you want some magical mystery Chinese herbs, there’s always eucommia bark. It’s a yang jing tonic and supposed to be good for back pain. Scientifically it like amplifies your androgen receptors or something.

  4. I’ll give the cherbs a shot if they aren’t regulated here.

    I’m off work another 2 weeks, which sucks as I have fuck all to do.
    My sister who’s a nurse says the valium dose I’m on with the NSAIDs is what they use for terminally ill patients who aren’t sticking around for more than a few months. If I keep on the dosage, I’ll be dependent on it in weeks. Even in the 10 days I’m using it, I’ve notice my tolerance going up. Might have to cut back on it, and use the old booze/NSAID combo, and keep the valium in reserve for when nothing else stops the spasms.

    Might rewatch some healing-time type yuri shows to chill. Cute girls doing cute things takes the pain away, as it always has.

    1. A good healing time show for me is World of Narue. It’s about a lame foreveralone boy in 8th grade who watches magical girl anime and plays games all day getting an attractive girlfriend from another planet who’s amazing but everyone thinks is strange because she’s an alien. It’s pretty aww.

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