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Hi friends,

I bought a LifeSpan TR1200-DT3 treadmill. I love it so much. It has changed my life. But sadly, I may have to return it (I'm still within the 2-month return policy period). First, the good points: I'm a novelist and I feel my brain works better when I'm writing while using it, and I don't get as sleepy while working, and I don't need breaks, and so I get MUCH more work done every day, and it even seems to make me more cheerful. Yet I may have to give all that up because it's giving me pain in the lower right side of my back (maybe it's even hip-related, not sure). I don't get this problem when I do normal outdoor walking for the same lengths of time and at approximately the same speeds: 2mph. I've only ever gotten this problem after walking uphill for a while. I've heard that lower back pain is a common problem with treadmill desks. And I've heard there have been studies that have shown that treadmill walking is different from regular walking. Has anyone seen those studies? I would like to read them. I tried looking for some through Google, but can't really find any. When I told a friend of mine I got a treadmill desk, I didn't mention it was causing me pain, yet she sent me this response: "BTW my pilates teacher says be careful about the treadmill desk -- don't use it all the time. Vary your worksite/habits. She says treadmill is not like normal walking but like "having the rug pulled out from under you" (the way the tread works) -- so can cause other problems over the long term! (sigh- no perfect solution)"

Now that I've experienced what it's like to have an incredibly enhanced work day and an enhanced brain thanks to working while treadmilling, I will always miss that state if I can't find a solution to this back problem which I only get after walking on this treadmill or after walking uphill. I don't think it's a question of "getting use to it" because I've used it for almost 60 days and it hasn't gotten better. It only gets better if I stop using it for a day or two. I think there needs to be a serious discussion about this, because I've looked through old threads in this forum and seen that I'm not the only person with this problem.

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You didn't post a lot of information on what you actually do on your walking treadmill.  Can I assume that a lot of what you were doing was typing on your treadmill vs. just internet browsing. 

If so, there are possible ergonomic things you could try. 

With me having a fairly broad back, I have found this split keyboard to be especially valuable when I type on my treadmill desk:


Even if I didn't have broad shoulders I think the separation is good to have when you are trying to type while walking on a treadmill? 

What kind of mouse do you use?  I use a Logitech ball mouse and prefer that to a regular mouse (but was my preference before using a desk treadmill).  You might try different mouses and see if that helps. 

This site does have some good information on ergonomics:

I am not sure who the sponsor is of the above site so approach with some caution.

With the benefits you have seen with a walking treadmill I would suggest trying some things before you give it up.  Even just walking on the treadmill when you are web surfing can give a lot of health benefits.

Hope this helps. is owned by iMovR. You can tell by how strongly biased the reviews are of those products... 

I'm glad someone else noticed!  I didn't buy their product because I was so annoyed by that.  For some honest reviews check out  My back was super jacked up from sitting on an office chair that belonged to someone before me.  I was walking into the office from the parking structure a while back and my back spasmed out so bad.  Check out the sciatica info they have.  It went a long way:  sciatica stretches & pain relief.

Hi Steve,

Thank you so much for your response. To answer your question, yes, I type, and I also browse the internet, and sometimes I just read the screen. It helps a little to have my arms by my side like normal walking instead of forward. But it doesn't help enough, especially once the problem is already there. Thanks for that link to the split keyboard. Maybe I'll try it. As for the health benefits, I'm doing this for the work benefits, not the health benefits. Before getting this treadmill, I used to do a one-hour walk every day outdoors. Since getting it, I do my walk while working which means I can work a lot more. The health benefits are the same for me, I think. I called LifeSpan and told them of my lower back problem and they e-mailed me a very interesting article that's actually from the website you gave me the link to. I'm pasting it here in case anyone in the future finds this thread and has the same back problem I have:

If anyone else knows of useful articles or studies on this topic, PLEASE let me know. If you only see this thread far in the future when I'm no longer checking this forum, please e-mail me with any info you have. I'm at


Glad it was valuable. One advantage of ordering the keyboard that I posted the link for from the manufacturer is that they have a pretty generous return policy. I think it is 60 days. The keyboard is pricey so nice to know you can return it if it doesn't work for you like it does for me.

One interesting feature with that keyboard is that it doesn't have the number keys to the right on it. You can order a separate numeric pad. The manufacturer says they don't have a number pad on their keyboard due to it saving having to move your arm so far to the mouse with the extra width an included number pad creates.

As far as advantages of a treadmill desk, especially if you work from home or somewhere that gives you little opportunities to move, there is a lot of value in being able to walk while you work every few hours.

One other question I might have is that are you using a regular keyboard and monitor vs. typing on a laptop?  Though the typing on a laptop might be easiest to set up, I am sure it isn't  that ergonomic. 


I'm just using my laptop's screen, at eye-level, and using an external keyboard and external mouse below it (about a foot below the laptop). So I think the setup is quite good, ergonomically speaking.

Sounds like you have a good ergonomic setup. I would try the split keyboard if you think that might help. Hope you canfigure it out.

To me it is a lot more natural to have my hands shouldwer width apart when typing vs. together as is the case with traditional keyboards.

I remember seeing suggestions on the ergonomics of standing desks when I was setting my treadmill up that said the monitor should be somewhat *below* eye level to lessen stress on the back and neck. Given that you experience the same pain when walking uphill - during which at least I would have my head raised to see what's ahead - you might try lowering your laptop screen some.

For me having the monitor at eye level (I tried it just to see) causes tightness in my upper back and neck but others work with it just fine.

I'm really glad to see these articles.  I just started deskwalking about three weeks ago, and I love it for all the reasons Jennifer stated.  But my lower back started really locking up. I did get the sense that it was because I was developing back and hip tension after walking without swinging my arms for awhile.  And I'm sure I've been spending too long without a break because I was getting into a focus mode. It's definitely different from regular walking.  Guess I need to try those stretches and breaks pretty regularly. 

I'll try to find the ones I worked from originally but here are some I found just checking for ergonomics and monitor height:

Once again, YMMV. If you're used to military posture having the monitor at eye level will probably seem normal. If you're the sort (like me) who tends to look lower when walking around, though, dropping the monitor will mean fewer ergonomic changes as you get used to a new working position.


Thanks for letting me know you have the same problem. I have not been able to use my treadmill for weeks because I'm waiting for my lower back pain, which was caused by this treadmill, to go away. I'm very disappointed in this situation. The Life Span company was kindly willing to giving me an extra 30 days to decide if I want to return it. Maybe they were extra nice because I informed them of an article I'd written for the Wall Street Journal praising their treadmill to high heaven when I first received it (it's at this link, if anyone is interested, though the article starts out being about other things you may not be interested in, and my real name is not Jennifer, obviously: )

Marla, I'd love to hear if your back pain has gotten better. My right-sided lower back pain has even affected my right leg and foot, which feel a tiny bit tingly, as though slightly numb.


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