It's one of the most common questions I get from people age 40+:
"Why does my back hurt from standing?"
Watch the video below to learn why your back hurts from standing, and more importantly, what you can do to be able to stand longer without back pain
Back Pain From Standing Is Common
If you're age 40 or above and your back hurts from standing, you're not alone.
Back pain from standing is the #1 most common problem that I hear about from my patients.
Why is back pain from 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.
Now you may think: That's nice, but...
Why Does My Back Hurt From Standing?
Even if your vertebrae have lost space between them, the position of your spine (a.k.a your posture) can change how much space is present between the facet joints of your lower back.
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 their back hurting a little bit. However when they start to have leg pain or sciatica that keeps them from standing or walking, that's when they get worried and seek out treatment.
The ironic part is, if they'd gotten the problem taken care of when their back first started to hurt, the pain probably wouldn't have started to go into their legs in the first place.
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How Can I Stop My Back From Hurting While Standing?
Whether your back hurts from standing all day, or just from standing for a few minutes to cook or do dishes, a few simple changes in the way that you stand can keep your back from hurting when standing.
Yes, I'm talking about your standing posture.
Now you might be thinking: "I know, stand up tall and don't slouch"
Every parent, grandparent, teacher, coach, doctor, and/or physical therapist you've ever met has likely told you to stand up tall with "good" posture.
Well, I'm not your typical physical therapist, and most of my patients aren't typical patients...
They've usually tried all the things that people typically tell you, including standing up tall.
However, when what you've always been told is not working, try something else!
I know, a physical therapist telling you to slouch. Imagine that.
Now this doesn't give you carte blanche to go around completely humped over like a little old lady with a hunchback (which is a fear that a lot of patients have when I tell them to slouch).
Let me clarify that: Slouch (a little bit)
Just rolling your pelvis underneath you and leaning forward slightly can make a world of difference in how much your back hurts when standing.
And 99.9% of people won't notice or care that your posture has changed.
YOU may feel like you're completely slumped over because you're used to standing up tall with your back hyper-arched.
So slouching even just a little bit is going to feel weird and abnormal.
But let me ask you a question:
If your "normal" is that your back hurts when standing, wouldn't ab-normal be good?
But again, it probably goes against everything you've been told your whole life. You probably feel like Grandma would roll over in her grave if she saw you standing like that.
Don't take my word for it though.
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 your back from hurting when standing?
Wouldn't it at least be worth a try?
The alternative is continue to go on with what currently isn't working, and probably getting the same results.
If your back has been hurting for awhile, you know what else might be worth a try?
Talk to a back pain specialist to learn how we can help
Do Back Braces Help Keep Your Back From Hurting 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 your back to hurt 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.
Do Inversion Tables Help With Back Pain From Standing?
Again, they're a BandAid, but they can give you some temporary relief.
You also want to make sure you don't have blood pressure issues or a history of a stroke if you're going to use them because the blood does rush to your head when you turn upside down.
If you're going to invest in an inversion table, I'd recommend going with the original brand-name Teeter, which is FDA-registered, rather than one of the cheaper off-brand models on this one.
But again, while inversion tables can help get your back to stop hurting temporarily, they're not a lasting solution.
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