Did you know that standing on your feet for 25 minutes a day could potentially lead to a lifetime of lower back pain? This was just discovered in a new study.
Being on your feet for hours each day is the uncomfortable and often painful reality for stay at home moms, cashiers, health care workers, bank tellers, restaurant servers, mail sorters, assembly line workers, retail salespeople and many more.
Pain in lower back from standing is not the only problem causes by prolonged standing. How about foot pain, bunions, varicose veins, knee problems, neck and shoulder stiffness, restricted blood flow and fatigue? Do these ring a bell?
What Causes Pain in Lower Back from Standing?
1. Tensed Muscles – Muscles have to constantly work to keep you upright. Standing in one position requires some kind of rest, otherwise the joints from your neck to your feet can become “stuck” temporarily. The muscles get tired and their tendons and ligaments can get damaged – Causing pain in your lower back.
2. Circulation – Standing still will also reduce blood flow to the muscles. The lack of movement reduces the blood returning to the heart. This causes the veins to become inflamed and the muscles, which don’t get enough blood supply, start to ache.
3. Footwear – If you stand on hard surfaces and you don’t have the proper footwear (hint: Heels are not a good idea), it can make pain in lower back from standing much worse.
4. Poor fitness and excess weight – These are two common causes for pain in lower back while standing.
5. Bad posture – Standing often causes poor posture. As a result, the shoulders slouch forward, the hip flexors are tight, and you have too much arch in your lower back. This causes low back pain when standing.
6. Overly Tight Hamstrings – This is a little known cause, but it happens. Overly tight hamstrings can pull on muscles of your lower back and cause muscle pain.
The Top 5 Solutions for Pain in Lower Back from Standing
First, you should know that if your lower back hurts even after only 10 minutes of standing, you should get checked by a doctor soon to get properly diagnosed. The same applies if your pain is sharp and/or severe and/or radiates to your buttocks and legs. But these 3 solutions will probably be very helpful anyway:
#1 – Footwear
Proper footwear is essential for preventing pain in lower back from standing. Women are sometimes required to wear heels for work, but heels more than 2 inches high can force the body forward and the buttocks back.
To keep their balance, they have to tense up and lean slightly back. This causes shortened calf muscles, knee and back problems and increased chances of falling.
Even if you don’t wear heels, just any flat shoes won’t do and they can even make things worse. You need sturdy, supportive and comfortable shoes. Your shoes need to have room for insoles to cushion or orthotics.
Alternatively you can give yourself extra cushioning with gel or foam inserts placed in your shoes.
Rotate your shoes. It takes more than 24 hours for the shoe to recover after you wear it all day. Have at least two pairs and alternate.
#2 – Posture
Stretch your hip flexors to realign your pelvis and stretch your chest to put your shoulders back.
If you have tight hamstrings, you should stretch them every hour or so ideally.
Here’s a good stretch that combines all of these:
Also, stand with one foot in front of the other, not side by side. Periodically shift your weight from one leg to the other and try to work with one foot slightly raised (a six-inch/15 cm footstool is ideal).
#3 – Anti-Fatigue Mat
Using an anti-fatigue mat at work or in the kitchen is a great way to support your lower back without a chair. I call it my “magic carpet” because it allows for me to stand comfortably while I do the dishes and cook for hours.
The mat is very cushiony, but is low enough so it causes no problems in stumbling or tripping on it. Standing on it makes your feet feel like you are floating on a cloud.
The truth is that this wellness mat has completely stopped my lower back pain from standing, so I would highly recommend that you give it a try. It’s well worth the price.
Here’s my full review for the Wellness Mats.
#4 – Weight loss and Fitness
Losing weight and regular exercise will help you keep a healthy and strong body and stronger muscles to support you when you stand. Core exercises, yoga or Pilates can be very helpful in preventing low back pain from standing.
#5 – TED hose
Many women say that wearing knee length TED hose while working really helps. It may sound silly, but it really does help to keep your blood flowing nicely and you will be less tired overall.
If the pain in lower back from standing persists and/r becomes severe, see a doctor for further evaluation.
To your health and happiness,
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