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Experiencing Back Pain While Standing | Causes & Cures

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If you’re grappling with the question, “Why am I experiencing back pain while upright?” you’re in good company.

A study explains how “back pain is currently one of the major health problems,” an effect I’ve witnessed during my years of suffering from pain non-stop – way before I found those real-life Experts... [1]

So don’t worry! In this article, you’ll learn the 10 common causes of back pain while standing, what to look for – and what to do about it today!

Keep reading to discover the reasons (and the cures) for back pain while standing…

Key Takeaways

  • The first step to effectively address and manage back pain experienced while standing is to identify the underlying issues, such as postural stress, herniated discs, or psychological factors.
  • Tailoring treatment approaches, including targeted exercises, ergonomic adjustments, and mental health care, is essential for a comprehensive strategy to alleviate discomfort and enhance overall well-being.
  • Getting advice from healthcare professionals is important for diagnosing and treating back pain effectively.

Experiencing Back Pain While Upright: Cracking the Causes

The journey to resolving back pain experienced while standing begins with understanding its multifaceted causes – from herniated discs and spinal stenosis to psychological factors. 

Here’s a neat breakdown of 10 causes…

1. Herniated Discs

A herniated disc, where the cushioning disc between the vertebrae protrudes into the spinal canal, can be a source of pain, especially when standing.

When you have this condition, you’ll notice radiating pain, tingling, and muscle weakness.

Thankfully, various treatments, including medication and physical therapy, can offer relief, as highlighted in a study by Kevin Wernli and colleagues [2].

In certain instances, adopting a healthier lifestyle, enhancing one’s posture, and steering clear of intense physical exertions can mitigate additional spinal deterioration.

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2. Muscular Imbalance

Muscular imbalances occur when some muscles are overactive while others are underactive.

Because of excessive strain on overactive muscles, these imbalances can lead to lower back pain after bending over or even while standing upright, causing back pain. This results in tightness and a restricted range of motion.

Worse, through an uneven pull on the spine, this condition causes pain and discomfort when standing.

You can help restore balance and alleviate pain by strengthening your muscles and stretching.

3. Postural Stress

Back pain can be caused by prolonged standing, resulting in poor posture and postural stress.

man showing muscle sprain at the back

The strain from standing for extended periods can lead to postural stress, causing the muscles to tighten and spasm, which might even lead to mid back pain when breathing.

Because good posture is essential, taking breaks with a bad posture while sitting or walking can alleviate the strain. So watch out for postural stress…

Postural stress, also known as postural strain, is a condition in which the body’s muscles become tight and spasm due to how they are being used or held. 

4. Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is characterized by a reduction in the width of the spinal canal, leading to pain and unease, particularly when standing or walking for extended periods.

This condition emerges over time and is attributed to the gradual wear and tear of the spine, resulting in the constriction of the nerves housed within the spinal column.

As a result, patients may experience pain or numbness in their lower back, buttocks, legs, and feet.

Addressing this condition often involves medication and physical therapy.

5. Sciatica

Sciatica is marked by a pain that extends down the legs, a condition that can worsen while standing, resulting from the stress on the sciatic nerve.

This nerve stretches from the lower back, passing through the hips and proceeding down each leg. When compressed or irritated, it triggers the discomfort associated with sciatica.

6. Excess Weight

Extra body weight, especially around the midsection, can strain the spine and muscles, leading to back pain.

Patients can alleviate the strain by managing weight and ensuring proper weight distribution.

This is especially true when the extra weight is distributed around the midsection, as this puts pressure on the spine’s vertebrae.

After all, this strain caused by excess weight can make it difficult to stand upright, causing further pain in the lower back.

7. Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is a condition often seen in people aged 30 years and older, where the discs between the vertebrae of the spine degenerate over time, resulting in thinning of the disc material.

The stress on surrounding structures increases through reduced cushioning support for the spine, including joints and ligaments. 

8. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis manifests as a weakening and fragility of bones, attributed to a reduction in bone mineral density, making them susceptible to fractures.

This condition is often observed in the elderly, given the natural decline in bone density with advancing age.

The weakened bones render the back more susceptible to injuries or strains, especially when upright, leading to pain and discomfort.

9. Psychological Factors

According to a study by Jan Walker and colleagues, the experience of chronic back pain is not just physical but also intertwined with psychological factors [3].

After all, psychological factors can play a significant role in developing back pain. Stress, depression, and anxiety can increase muscle tension, resulting in increased pain and discomfort [3].

lady experiencing anxiety

Also, negative thoughts or beliefs about pain can lead to fear and avoidance behavior, leading to further physical dysfunction.

10. Occupational Hazards

Work-related factors, including the type of job and workplace ergonomics, can contribute to back pain. Ensuring a worker-friendly environment and proper body mechanics can mitigate risks.

Physical tasks requiring frequent lifting and carrying heavy loads, bending, pushing, pulling, or prolonged standing may lead to back pain.

Now, let’s dive into the cures – what works…

Elevating Your Back Health: Back Pain Prevention Cures

Cure #1 Mastering the Art of Back Care

In the pursuit of optimal wellness, the spine plays an often overlooked pivotal role.

Here, I delve into refined, actionable strategies designed to prevent lower back pain and elevate your overall health and vitality.

Cure #2: Exercising and Correcting Posture

Embark on a journey where each step is a dance of strength and grace. Engaging in diverse physical activities is not just a task but an experience.

Imagine 30 minutes of your day immersed in the rhythmic flow of walking, the exhilarating rush of cycling, or the serene embrace of swimming.

group of seniors walking as their daily exercise

Every movement, a symphony of low and high-intensity exercises, is orchestrated to bring harmony to your body and soul.

Walking isn’t merely a physical act but an art where posture is the silent sonnet. Envision your spine, a majestic column of strength holding you erect.

Each stride is a testament to the balance of holding the back straight, neither leaning into the future nor being held back by the past.

Cure #3: Personalizing Ergonomic Havens

Workstations transform into personalized sanctuaries of comfort and productivity in the modern world.

Visualize your gaze, meeting the computer screen at eye level, where every pixel is a world of creativity unfolding before your eyes.

Besides, the chair is not only furniture but a supportive companion, adjusted to cradle your form in ergonomic elegance.

Cure #4: Lifting Better

Every lift is a dance, a ballet where technique and form unite to celebrate strength.

Objects, whether light whispers of feather or profound weights of gravity are held close, an intimate dance of force and form.

Wide and grounded stance is the foundation from which power emanates.

Bending a graceful arc, born from the legs, where the back is an observer, not a participant.

No weight is too profound in this dance, for the technique is the silent song of safety and strength.

NEXT: Browse the next section for responses to common questions – and more…

FAQs

1. Is medication necessary for back pain relief?

Medication is not always necessary to relieve back pain. Many times, the best treatment for back pain is to take a break from activities that aggravate it and practice proper posture when standing.

2. How does mental health relate to back pain?

Mental health is increasingly being recognized as an important factor in the experience and management of back pain.
In fact, stress and depression can both contribute to back pain, but they can also worsen the symptoms of existing back pain. 

3. Can my job be a reason for my back pain?

Yes, it is possible that your job could be a reason for your back pain when standing.
Depending on the type of work you do and how long you are standing in one position, the strain on your back can cause discomfort. Poor posture while working can also contribute to back pain.

Conclusion

Experiencing back pain while upright is a multifaceted issue with various contributing factors, from herniated discs to psychological stress.

Common causes include herniated discs, sciatica, spinal stenosis, muscle strain and sprain, poor posture, and sitting for extended periods of time.

By understanding these causes, adopting preventive measures, and seeking professional advice when necessary, individuals can navigate this common challenge effectively.

Lastly, share your experiences and any tips for managing back pain in the comments below!

Resources

1. Wenig CM, Schmidt CO, Kohlmann T, Schweikert B. Costs of back pain in Germany. European Journal of Pain. 2009;13:280–6.

2. Wernli K, O’Sullivan P, Smith A, Campbell A, Kent P. Movement, posture and low back pain. How do they relate? A replicated single‐case design in 12 people with persistent, disabling low back pain. European Journal of Pain. 2020;

3. Walker J, Sofaer B, Holloway I. The experience of chronic back pain: Accounts of loss in those seeking help from pain clinics. European Journal of Pain. 2006;10:199–9.

About Author

Lamia A Kader, MD
Lamia A Kader is a Medical Doctor and a Medical Research Professional with a Ph.D. in Clinical Research. ISMMS, USA. She had enhanced her medical knowledge of medical devices and equipment development and innovation by attending clinical meetings, local national courses, journal clubs, and conferences, in addition to e-learning, subscribing to major medical journals and keeping an eye on latest trends in medicine and keeping an eye on clinical trials industry and healthcare marketing current trends. She had participated in several medical device innovation projects by conducting clinical research studies, developing clinical trial protocols, writing patient safety narratives and “Medical Device Risk Assessment Reports” to transform new medical technologies into real products that save and improve lives. Follow her on LINKEDIN. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

14 thoughts on “Experiencing Back Pain While Standing | Causes & Cures”

  1. Your comprehensive breakdown of the 10 common causes, from herniated discs to psychological factors, provides a holistic view of what can lead to back pain when upright. The section on cures and prevention is equally enlightening. I particularly appreciate your emphasis on mastering the art of back care, exercising with proper posture, personalizing ergonomic workstations, and lifting techniques.

  2. My family and I always have a lot of trouble with postural stress after work all day at desks and I can attest that that does add a lot to the strain of back pain. These were good suggestions for addressing the issues we’re at fault for in adding to our back pains as well!

  3. I have back problems and standing in one spot doesn’t help one bit. I’ve got a job right now where I’m on my feet all day and it’s very hard. But I think a desk job would be worse. I do walk a bunch which keeps my joints and bones healthier despite having rheumatoid arthritis too.

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