• Dr. James Fonner

Lower Back Pain When Standing - What to Know

Lower back pain is quite common for most people. Therefore, it is imperative to figure out the underlying reason, which may come to looking at other details and symptoms. If the lower back pain occurs when a person is walking or standing, the pain may be from muscle fatigue.

However, it may also come from a medical condition, such as:

  • Spinal stenosis

  • Hyperlordosis

  • Degenerative Disk Disease

  • Other health problems relating to the position of the joints

  • Issues with the nerves

  • From an injury

  • Because the pelvis is pushed forward


Typically, patients in pain should get advice from their doctors to determine what is causing the issue and how to prevent or alleviate the pain.


It is important to understand the potential causes of the pain, how it happens, and how to prevent it. Many times, the issue happens from postural problems. When someone stands for a longer period, it can push the body in a different way, adding to the curve of the lower part of the back, causing those muscles to tighten or spasm.


Many times, treatments are non-surgical, but it depends on the severity of the situation and other factors.


Lower back pain when standing

Muscle Fatigue


Prolonged standing and walking can strain the muscles of the lower back and other regions, making them tired. Therefore, it's easy to have aches and pains. Typically, the pain gets better when the person lies down or can sit down to rest.


Those who are overweight could be at a higher risk of developing fatigue. It is ideal to lower the weight to avoid discomfort and pain. This may help the muscles relax and feel better. However, the muscles might take time to come back from the strain.


Treatment Options

Many things can be done to treat muscle fatigue and lower pain and issues within the lower back. These can include:

  • Rest

  • Cold and hot therapies

  • OTC pain relievers, including naproxen and ibuprofen

  • Gentle exercise and stretches for the back

With that, it is essential to maintain a healthy weight to reduce the stress on the other parts of the body. Exercises and diet are essential here.


Lumbar Spinal Stenosis


Lumbar spinal stenosis happens when the spine narrows. This often puts more pressure on the nerves and spinal cord.


Typically, this happens in the lower back or the lumbar spine. It often leads to pain in the lower back when moving or standing. Sometimes, the pain in the spine improves when sitting or leaning forward.


However, there are other concerns for stenosis of the spine, such as:

  • Weakness in the leg

  • Numbness in the leg, back, or buttock region

  • Sciatica - sharp pain radiating down the leg to put pressure on the nerves

With severe complications, there could be sexual dysfunction, bladder problems, and bowel issues. A person's age often comes into play, though an injury may be the cause of the condition. Ultimately, though, people can be born with a very narrow spinal canal, which causes this condition to develop later in life.


Treatment

In most cases, a doctor initially recommends non-surgical treatments for those with the condition. These options may include:

  • Steroid injections

  • Physical therapies

  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) including naproxen and ibuprofen

  • Alternative options, such as exercise, chiropractic treatments, and acupuncture

If the pain doesn't get better or worsens, a surgical procedure may be required to stabilize the spine and relieve the pressure from the nerves.


Degenerative Disk Disease


As the person gets older, those protective discs are there to sit between the vertebrae in the spine. However, they can wear down or shrink gradually. Some people also experience a herniated disc, which may cause the denegation to happen more quickly, leading to the bones within the spine to rub together, leading to stiffness and back pain.


Typically, degenerative discs disease improves when moving, but the pain is likely to get worse in the back when standing long periods. It can also become aggravated when they have to bend, twist, or lift something.


As someone stands for longer periods, they could develop a herniated disc and other issues. Generally, symptoms of this disease may include:

  • Weakness in the legs and feet

  • Pain that varies in duration and severity

  • Pain radiating to the thighs and buttocks from the vertebrae


Treatment

Treatment options to help with degenerative disc disease may include

  • NSAIDs (naproxen and ibuprofen)

  • Back braces

  • Physical therapies

  • Ice and heat packs

Often, though, conservative treatments improve the symptoms for a while. However, over time, there could be more complications. A doctor could recommend spinal fusion or artificial disc replacement, both of which are surgical procedures.


Hyperlordosis


Hyperlordosis means that someone has an inward curvature of their lower spine that's excessive. It causes the buttocks to be more prominent so that the stomach sticks out.


As a person lies on their back with hyperlordosis, they may have a very noticeable C-shaped curve or a large gap in the back area. Often, people refer to this posture as the "swayback."

Generally, it affects the nerve endings and causes pain in the back, especially with prolonged standing. This can also severely impact movement.


If it becomes difficult to stand, the best course of action might be to lie down for a while. However, hyperlordosis results from various conditions and injuries. These include osteoporosis, obesity, spondylolisthesis, and more. It is best not to stand for longer periods.


Treatment

The treatments available depend solely on the severity of the curvature, what they go through each day, and the aging process.


Doctors often recommend that children wear a brace while they grow. For adults, though, it might focus on more conservative spine treatments, such as weight management, exercise, pain relievers, and more.


Sometimes, doctors may recommend nerve surgery to correct the problem.


When to see a doctor for low back pain

When to See a Doctor for Low Back Pain


Lower back pain while standing or moving isn't always an issue. Sometimes, it gets better with treatments at home, especially if it comes from pressure from pinched nerves or pressure from sciatica. Rest, OTC medications, MMJ, hot/cold therapies, and stretching can be beneficial here.


A person must see their doctor if they have severe pain or it doesn't get better. Sometimes, when they stand, it gets worse and may also come with debilitating issues. Those with pain should seek medical attention immediately if they have severely affected leg movements or bladder/bowel control problems.


Bad Habits Can Cause Back Pain While Standing but Not Always


Sometimes, the pain is only caused by fatigue, sprains, or strains to the joints. If it occurs from an injury, overexertion, or an accident, there could be a twisted or stretched ligament or tendon. However, it could also be caused by:

  • Spondylolisthesis - the vertebra slips into the bone underneath

  • Osteoarthritis - damage to the spine joints (facet joints) that can affect the knee or foot

  • Neuropathy - Damage to peripheral nerves causing numbness, weakness, or tingling in the feet and hands

Many times, the person's daily routine contributes to the pain they feel. These can include:

  • Not exercising regularly or having a sedentary lifestyle

  • Poor posture

  • Being overweight

  • Lifting heavy objects improperly

  • Sleeping on a non-supportive and old mattress

  • Not wearing appropriate shoes

Some changes are easy to make, while others require assistance. For example, it might be easy to buy a new mattress, but the person may want to consult with someone who understands their condition and what mattress is ideal.


Types of Non-surgical Treatments Like Physical Therapy (other)


It's important to get a customized treatment program that includes the right injections and interventions. There are various non-surgical treatments available, such as epidurals, an injection to the joints, physical therapy, acupuncture, and more. A doctor can help people find the right options for their needs.


Prevention Tips


Here are a few tips to prevent pain in the lower back:

  • Exercise for about 30 minutes as many days as possible throughout the week. Try using a mixture of low/high-intensity exercises and floor work, such as stretches may help, as well. Typically, anything that uses the legs, such as walking or swimming can be excellent.

  • Strengthen the postural muscles and sit upright to keep the back straight. Give it support whenever possible and try not to push the pelvis out of alignment.

  • Make appropriate adjustments to the workstation and lifestyle. An example might be to put the computer screen at the right eye level while using a supportive chair.


Conclusion


Low back pain, especially when walking or standing, is sometimes a symptom of fatigue, but it could be postural. Often, patients can treat the pain at home with appropriate pain relievers, rest, and more.


However, if it's impossible to get into a comfortable position or stand for longer periods, medical attention might be required. Persistent or recurring issues could indicate an underlying problem. The person's health is at risk, so they should go to a medical professional for severe issues that don't get better.


It is essential to have the right treatments, and it's often hard to do it alone. Therefore, there should be no reason not to seek medical assistance or a Columbus Ohio chiropractor when necessary. It can prevent further damage to the body.

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