It may surprise you, but one of the most common causes of a doctor’s visit is lower back pain. According to NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke), lower back pain is also the dominant cause of disability arising from jobs and work. In fact, an estimate says that roughly 80% of the US population experiences lower back pain at some time in their lifetime. Among the various reasons for lower back pain, the most prominent and common one is the result of an injury.
For example, poor body mechanics or strains while lifting heavy objects can cause lower body pain. Chances are, you may also have witnessed lower back pain at some time in life after lifting heavy objects. If the injury is not severe, such pain usually goes away on its own after few days. But more severe cases of lower back pain may require treatment from a qualified doctor and would not be clear on their own.
Types of Lower Back Pain.
Depending on the severity, we can classify the lower back pain into two types:
- Acute back pain – It is usually not serious and heals within few weeks at best.
- Chronic back pain – It is a very serious condition and can take several months and even years to go away.
As mentioned above, back pain can be classified into acute and chronic. The acute back pain is not a sign of serious concern and can go away within few days but can take few weeks in some cases. On the other hand, chronic back pain usually lingers much longer and can last more than 3 months.
The age group which is at most risk of low back pain is from 30 to 50. During this part of the age, there are many changes occurring in the body. For example, the fluid present between the vertebrae starts to decrease – As a result, the spin discs start to experience irritation more frequently and easily. Then there is the gradual loss of muscle tone with aging, which makes your back more prone to injury. That’s why doctors recommend using good body mechanics and improving the tone of back muscles with exercise to prevent lower back pain.
Causes of Lower Back Pain when standing.
Lower back pain when standing can happen due to a variety of different diseases as well such as:
- Spinal Cord Cancer
- Spine Infection
- Ruptured Disc
- Kidney Infections
Now, let’s look at the common causes of lower back pain when standing :
There are a lot of ligaments and muscles present on the backside. Due to excessive activity or lifting heavy weights, these ligaments and muscles can tear or over-stretch. The common symptoms of strains in the back can include pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms.
The common therapy for these symptoms related to the lower back usually includes physical therapy and rest.
When the discs present in the backside put pressure on the sciatic nerve, the result can be a herniated disc which leads to sciatica. The sciatic nerve is actually very important and makes the connection between the spine and the legs.
In the case of sciatica, the common symptoms can include foot and leg pain. The pain usually feels like a burning sensation or feeling like ants are crawling over your feet. Some people describe the pain as “pins and needles” as well.
The discs present in the backside become more prone to injury with increased age. Due to various reasons, these discs can herniate or tear. A herniated disc is also commonly known as a ruptured or slipped disc and occurs when the disc cartilage pushes against the nerve roots or the spinal cord itself.
This pressure forces the cushion present between the vertebrae column to extend outside the normal position. As a result, the nerve roots can get compressed and start to malfunction.
One of the most common reasons for disc injury usually involves twisting the back or lifting a heavy object – The injury usually happens right away after doing these activities. According to experts, it can last more than 3 days (72 hours) as compared to the pain from back strain.
When the discs between the vertebrae column start to degenerate, the spinal columns start to become narrower. As a result, more pressure is exerted on the spinal nerves and spinal cords. This condition is called Spinal Stenosis.
If pressure is exerted on the spinal nerves, the following symptoms can occur:
For most people, these symptoms become more active during walking or standing positions.
Tips To Eliminate Lower Back Pain
Now, let’s look at the top ways through which you can eliminate or solve the problem of lower back pain:
1. Sleeping Posture
It is not easy to sleep with back pain. But not getting enough sleep can make your lower back pain worse! That’s why you should try to get enough sleep and stop this vicious cycle.
One way to get better sleep and possibly stop back pain is by improving your sleeping posture. Sleeping on your side with a pillow between the two knees is a good position to keep your back in a neutral position. This sleeping posture can also relieve the strain on your back.
Another position is to sleep on your back with a pillow present under your knees.
The mattress used also plays a very important role and should be firm + comfortable.
2. Proper Posture
How many times have you heard to maintain a good posture and not to slouch? Having poor posture is one of the major triggers which makes the back pain worse. If you stay in a sitting position for long periods of time, having a poor posture can further aggravate the problem as well.
Try to sit upright with your back supported against the chair and relaxed shoulders. One other way to support your lower back is putting a rolled towel or pillow between the seat and your lower back. Another important thing to note is keeping your feet flat on the floor (Do not try to twist your feet or putting one leg over another).
3. OTC Medication
You can always take an over-the-counter pain reliever to help you with back pain. There are two types of OTC medication for lower back pain:
- NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
- Acetaminophen (Paracetamol)
The chances are that you would already know about these medications. If your pain is troubling you and not going away, you can take these medications from the pharmacy without any doctor’s prescription. But it is always best to consult your doctor before taking the NSAIDs and other pain relievers.
When taking such medications, you need to understand that they only solve the problem temporarily, but the pain will return once again once you stop the medication. To treat the lower back pain, lifestyle changes and the treatment of the underlying cause are required.
4. Prescription Medication
If OTC NSAIDS are not doing the job for you, then you may need prescription-based medication to help with the pain. Such medications for pain relief are only given on a registered doctor’s prescription. If you believe that OTC medication is not relieving your pain symptoms, then contact your doctor.
5. Physical Therapy
As mentioned earlier, lifestyle changes can also play a major role in solving lower back pain problems. A physical therapist can show the right way to stand, move, and sit. – This way, your spine will remain properly aligned with minimum strain on your back.
These therapists will also teach you various specialized exercises to strengthen the muscles present in your back. With strong back muscles, the chances of future back pain incidents become very slim. According to various studies, improving your body’s strength, endurance, and flexibility is directly related to decreasing back pain.
6. Avoid Prolonged Bed Rest
Back in the day, doctors used to suggest bed rest for the treatment of back pain. Modern research suggests that it is actually a bad idea to keep resting for more than 2 days. Prolonged bed rest can actually lead to worse back pain along with a host of other complications. That’s why it is recommended to start moving slowly and avoid long periods of rest.
Exercises such as walking, swimming, and yoga can be really beneficial in such cases as well.
7. Heat & Ice
The application of heat and ice on your back can help a lot in reducing the inflammation and pain resulting from an injury. Start with applying ice on your back for around 20 minutes each time – You can repeat it several times each day. When applying the ice, it is best to wrap it in a thin cloth or towel to protect the skin from any damage.
After a few days of using ice, you can switch to a warm pack or a heating pad. Using heat can help your muscles get relaxed while also increasing the blood flow towards the affected area. Another great way to relieve back pain using heat is warm baths. But try to avoid too hot baths or longer periods of hot baths as it can cause burns and even tissue damage.
In most cases, a combination of good posture, exercise, and some form of medication can solve most cases of lower back pain. In more severe cases, treating the underlying cause of the lower back is the only way to get rid of this troublesome problem.
In conclusion, if your back hurts when you stand, the most important thing is to find out what is causing it. Once you know what is causing your back pain, you can address the issue and hopefully find some relief. It is also important to be aware of how standing may cause back pain, so you can keep your back healthy.