Does your back hurt when you are standing?

By |Sherwin Nicholson – Research Scientist | SN Health Resources

Lumbar pain when standing even for short periods of time can arise for many reasons.  The most common cause, however, is mechanical When it is mechanical, there is unbalanced support among your muscles, joints, and discs.

The pain you feel is usually not discovered until many factors that affect the spine have occurred.  This pain can be resolved by uncovering each factor individually to attain lasting relief.

Simple fixes to only one or some of these areas without addressing any remaining will only result in minor pain relief and failure to resolve the pain long term.

pain when standing

Not so simple to fix as believed

Although it may seem like a simple problem because the pain is local, many of us assume that the solution is also simple.  We subsequently look for simple solutions only to feel disappointed or to believe that our particular solution is not available.

This is simply not the case.  Back pain is complex, with many factors and the process to overcome it should be viewed as a step by step and multifaceted one.

To be able to address your pain, first, begin with what is required to keep your lumbar spine healthy and what causes it to suffer chronic pain.

The lumbar spine consists of your lumbar vertebrae, vertebral discs, interconnecting facet joints, a complex nervous supply that travels in between each vertebra, soft tissue, ligaments, tendons, and muscles.

Spine-health and balance

In a healthy spine, the muscles of the lower back (extrinsic and intrinsic) are actively contracting and relaxing as you stand.  These contractions are always working to maintain your balance.

When these muscles are functioning properly, the distribution of weight and force on your discs and facet joints are balanced and even.

The shape of each vertebra along with these active contractions create the natural S-curve of your spine.

This is the ideal curve you should have during all times of activity.  This curve protects the spine from uneven pressure exerted on the discs that can lead to disc bulge.

Uncontrolled disc bulge leads to a risk of rupture and herniation of the disc.  Uneven contraction and relaxation of the muscles mentioned leave the discs and facet joints at risk for injury.

It is important to maintain these muscles with proper conditioning to prevent this type of chronic pain.  The muscles themselves, specifically the intrinsic muscles also become fatigued and injured.

Standing pain that is mechanical usually begins with a failure to maintain these healthy muscles groups.  Over time, they become weaker, tighter, shorter and unable to perform as before.

Back pain becomes more significant until these areas are corrected.  Sitting is a key contributor to the worsening of standing pain. Extended periods of sitting is usually a lifestyle choice that should be carefully monitored and adjusted to reduce your chances of recurring pain.

Areas of imbalance and risk of injury

Key areas of imbalance, are the: lower back muscles (usually too tight, too strong and overused), abdominals (too weak, extended and underused), hip muscles (too tight, weak and underused) and the hamstrings (too tight, shortened and underused).

If you can imagine that the muscles from behind you are tightening while those in front are extending, then you can visualize the lumbar discs and facet joints being pinched in back causing a bulge out in front.  You can develop an anterior pelvic tilt which is worsened by excess weight.

When this occurs over an extended period, the facet joints become worn and inflamed leading the facet joint inflammation, wear, and pain.

Chronic imbalance also leads to advanced disc degeneration, especially to the L5-S1 disc.  The L5-S1 is the most important yet abused disc, crucial for your lumbar flexibility and protection.

Exercises to correct imbalances associated with standing to prevent injury and reduce pain

It is vital to correct any muscle imbalances in these muscles groups to bring back much-needed protection and relief to the lumbar spine.  Even when, there already is significant injury such as disc wear and facet pain, lower back pain can still be reduced dramatically, long term when you recondition and exercise these areas properly and effectively.

These groups each require specific exercises and stretches unique to the health of your lower back.  Learn more about the exercises involved for lower back pain relief.  Follow the Standing Pain Exercise Page.

If you are ready for a comprehensive system that teaches you exactly what movements and corrections to use to relieve your pain from standing, scroll below.

You will be trained to perform many exercises, but the effort will be well worth it.

Achieving back pain relief is not a quick fix, and this program does not rely on such methods.


“I have been able to walk better and be able to bend over without much pain.  This book is really recommended, and I thank this author for what he has done to help people, such as myself, achieve great back health.”

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