Helping Lower Back Pain from Standing

Many of my patients com­plain that their low back begins to hurt if they’ve been stand­ing for a pro­longed peri­od of time.  It’s a com­mon symp­tom – I’ve even giv­en it a name: Muse­um Goers’ Syn­drome.

back pain can occur from standing

Stretch­ing Helps

But it doesn’t only show up at the Met or MOMA – you might have low­er back pain when stand­ing at the kitchen sink or wait­ing for a bus.

If you expe­ri­ence Muse­um Goers’ Syn­drome, here are some tips I’ve tried with my own patients

  1. Be mind­ful of your pos­ture.  Use your oblique and trans­verse abdom­i­nal mus­cles to orga­nize the align­ment of your trunk.  Don’t rotate the pelvis or tuck the tail­bone for­ward.  (This is tricky to describe in writ­ing or even in a pho­to or dia­gram.  You may ben­e­fit from an office vis­it to review prop­er stand­ing align­ment.)
  2. If your sit­u­a­tion requires you to stand in a set spot (the kitchen, for instance) install a cush­ioned floor mat.
  3. You can also use a low stool – if you have to stand in one place for a long time, place one foot up on the stool to change the shape of the low back.
  4. Make sure your shoes give you opti­mum cush­ion­ing.  There are three basic ways to do this:
    1. Wear walk­ing or run­ning shoes with ade­quate padding through­out the sole and heel.  And when your shoes get worn down, buy new ones.
    2. Give your­self extra cush­ion­ing with gel or foam inserts placed in your shoes.
    3. Get fit­ted for cus­tom foot orthotics (I pro­vide these in my office — for far less than the price typ­i­cal­ly charged by a podi­a­trist).
  5. Reg­u­lar­ly lim­ber up your back.  Every ten to twen­ty min­utes while you’re stand­ing, stretch your spine for­ward, back, and side-to-side.  And also stretch your hip flex­ors with a lung­ing stretch.  (If you’re not famil­iar with this stretch, vis­it this link for a free down­load of Dr. Lavine’s Top Five Exer­cis­es for the Low Back).
  6. Improve your over­all body con­di­tion­ing.  Maybe a yoga or Pilates class will help.

Hope these tips help!

Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

Ergonom­ic strat­e­gy to pro­tect your low back

Lum­bar spondy­lolis­the­sis and spondy­lolis­the­sis exer­cis­es

NYC chi­ro­prac­tor for low back pain


About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty five years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods. His website,, provides more information about his approach. Please contact him at or at 212-400-9663.
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