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!

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About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

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