Do You Get Back Pain When Standing Too Long?
If so, you're not alone. Back pain when standing too long is one of the most common problems that I seen in the office, particularly in people age 40 & above.
Watch the video below to learn what causes back pain when standing too long, and what you can do to relieve back pain when standing.
What Causes Back Pain When Standing Too Long?
Back pain when standing can happen for a few different reasons:
- Standing in one position for too long (such as at work, in line at the grocery store, cooking, or doing dishes)
- Poor standing posture (but maybe not in the way you'd think)
- Natural that happen with aging
Back Pain When Standing Too Long Is Extremely Common In People Age 40+
Back pain when standing is the #1 most common problem that I see in my office, particularly among people over 40 years of age.
Why is back pain when standing so common in people over 40 years old?
As you age, the discs in your lower back start to lose fluid and become smaller. Incidentally, this is why people tend to shrink a few inches as they age.
As the discs in your lower back lose height, the vertebrae (back bones) get closer together. As a result, the facet joints in the back start to compress against one another.
As you can see from the picture above, when you bend your back forward, the space between the facet joints gets wider. As you bend backwards (such as when standing), the facet join which can make your back hurt from standing a long time.
Additionally, the spaces between the vertebrae where the nerve roots to your legs come out get narrower. This is sometimes called spinal stenosis.
When this narrowing happens it can cause sciatica (pain in the legs). Sciatica can occur either with our without back pain when standing or walking.
In fact, most people can deal with a little bit of back pain, but when they start to have leg pain or sciatica, that's when they get worried and seek out treatment.
The ironic part is, if they'd gotten the problem taken care of when they first started having back pain, the pain probably wouldn't have gone into their legs in the first place.
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How To Relieve Back Pain When Standing
If your back pain when standing is caused by the facet joints compressing against each other, the solution is to create more space in the joint.
When you roll your pelvis underneath of you, this opens the space between the joints. This is sometimes referred to as pelvic tilt.
What's really common though when people try to tilt their pelvis backward though is that they lean their entire body backward along with it.
You don't want to do this!
When you lean your body backward, this actually narrows the spaces between the facet joints (as well as the spaces where the nerves to your legs come out).
This in turn can create MORE back pain when standing.
Instead, roll your pelvis underneath of you, but actually lean your trunk forward slightly.
If you're doing it right, you'll probably feel like you're slouching.
This may feel odd, and abnormal... but that's good thing!
Because if your "normal" is having lower back pain when standing, then something different from normal is really what you want!
But it probably goes against everything you've been told your whole life.
In fact, you probably hear your Mom or Grandma in your head saying: "Don't Slouch" or "Stand Up Tall"... remember that?
Plus, when you have back pain, people typically tell you to "stand up taller" and with "good" posture.
So, when you have back pain when standing, you may think you need to have "good posture" to make it go away, so you stand up even taller.
You're trying to do the "right thing" by having good posture, but it's actually making the problem worse, and it ends up becoming a Vicious Cycle.
So how do you break the Vicious Cycle leading to lower back pain when standing?
No, don't actually slouch. But by this point, you're probably so used to leaning backward that it feels "normal" and a neutral posture (which is what you want) actually feels like you're slouched.
But don't take my word for it. Try it for yourself. If you don't feel any better, then you can always go back to what you're used to doing.
But what if a simple change in posture could keep you from having lower back pain when standing?
Wouldn't it at least be worth a try?
Try These 5 Easy Tips To Stop Back Pain When Standing
Start with your spine in a neutral position (not hyper-arched).
Have your shoulders, trunk, hip, knee, and ankle all in a vertical line. (This is the way your body should b so all of the components of your spine stack up on one another.
Tuck/Roll your pelvis underneath of you.
Bring shoulders over top of you, so everything is stacked correctly. (a.k.a. "slouch" slightly)
Don't try too hard. You don't want to tire out after 4 minutes... So, first start out with what feels easy for you, focus on that, then as that get's easier, your can tilt a little farther
Side note: If your hip flexors are tight, you may need to bend your knees a little bit. Your goal is to eventually get your knees up straight so everything is in alignment, but that may not happen all in one day. Click here to learn how to stretch your hip flexors.
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Do Back Braces Help Relieve Back Pain When Standing?
Largely, back braces are just a BandAid. They don't really address the root cause of the problem.
However, sometimes you just need a little bit of quick relief, and that's what back braces are good for.
You don't just want any back brace though. Most back braces just compress around the outside of the back to give you support.
However, there are some types of back braces that actually decompress the joints and nerves in your lower back.
If compression is what causes back pain when standing, then decompression is what you're looking for.
So, if you're going to get a back brace, you want a decompressing back brace - one that has a pump attached.
The gold-standard brand-name ones from DDS Solutions are very good, but they're also quite expensive.
You can also find off-brand decompression back braces on Amazon that work the same way.
These braces can help back pain when standing, but again, they just provide temporary relief. They're not a permanent solution to the problem.
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