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In this video tour of Ligon Duncan’s study, you’ll see that that Ligon sometimes uses a stand-up workstation. That brought back a lot of painful memories for me! I resorted to stand-up working for a while after being diagnosed with one prolapsed disc and one herniated disc in my spine. This was the result of hundreds of hours hunched at my computer on a slightly uneven study chair, while preparing Old Testament and Hebrew courses in the winter of 2003. The pain eventually spread down my left leg, and got so bad that I remember thinking that amputation would be preferable to day and night of this. Thankfully, God did not answer that prayer!

Acupuncture eased the immediate pain (I was a skeptic too until one “strategically placed” 6 inch pin transformed my life), and physiotherapy eventually squeezed the discs back into place. But my most valuable long-term discovery was Treat your own back, which taught me how to avoid a recurrence by adopting healthy back and neck posture. I don’t have a stand-up workstation just now, but I usually stand up and walk around my study if I am reading.

Pastors are ripe candidates for back trouble because of the amount of time they spend sitting down: in their studies, in cars, at meetings and on pastoral visitation. That’s why, in our Ministry class at Puritan Seminary, I spent some time showing students Youtube videos on avoiding and curing back pain.

If you still need persuaded to stand up more, then read Your chair is your enemy from the New York Times. It begins:

Your chair is your enemy. It doesn’t matter if you go running every morning, or you’re a regular at the gym. If you spend most of the rest of the day sitting — in your car, your office chair, on your sofa at home — you are putting yourself at increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, a variety of cancers and an early death. In other words, irrespective of whether you exercise vigorously, sitting for long periods is bad for you.

Here are a number of lifehacker articles on setting up a standing desk. And if you are really keen, here are some exercises for standing desk users.

This could save you many sleepless nights and unproductive days.