Back pain is so common that practically everyone has a different story to tell about it. If your particular spine-related tale involves discomfort felt when standing, you may be wondering what could be causing it and, most importantly, what can be done to treat, manage, or prevent it. Below you’ll find the answers you’ll need to determine what steps to take next.
Gravity is one of the main culprits when it comes to back pain that’s more noticeable while standing, because extra stress naturally gravitates toward the lower (lumbar) spine when standing. Increased lower spine stress sometimes results in back pain related to:
• Muscle spasms due to soft tissue irritation (inflammation)
• Muscle strains linked to too much force on lower back muscles
• Stretched ligaments that contribute to muscle sprains
If your weight is evenly distributed when standing, you’ll be less likely to develop back pain. If this isn’t the case, abnormal lower spine pressure or uneven weight distribution may contribute to spinal narrowing (spinal stenosis). A spine that’s too narrow in certain spots may cause back pain by irritating compressed nerve roots.
Added lower back stress also puts extra pressure on the spinal discs. These spongy supportive discs nestled between vertebrae are already naturally affected by age-related wear, referred to as degenerative disc disease (DDD). The added pressure on these discs could speed up this process and cause back pain from:
• Inner disc material pushing through a disc’s outer shell (a herniated disc)
• A spinal disc that shifts out of place
• Weakened discs that are more susceptible to damage from injuries
If the discs are diseased or damaged enough, a spine specialist may recommend a lumbar disc replacement. Santa Monica patients who undergo this procedure often get immediate pain relief, which continues to improve over the following weeks and months.
Improving your posture is one of the most effective ways to treat back pain related to how you stand. For instance, you could avoid slouching and excessively leaning forward or to one side or the other while standing. It can also be helpful to watch how you bend and lift objects. Ideally, you should bend at your knees and not your waist or back.
If you do a lot of lifting, bending, or twisting while standing to perform work-related tasks, consider using a lumbar support belt or back brace. These accessories are designed to take pressure off your lower spine and maintain your backbone’s natural alignment. You may also notice fewer issues with back pain when standing if you take the following steps:
• Shedding excess weight
• Getting regular exercise
• Doing light stretches that target spine-supporting muscle groups
• Using anti-inflammatory drugs if your pain becomes too distracting
• Participating in targeted physical therapy that focuses on the parts of your spine subjected to added stress as you stand
• Exploring gentle forms of exercise like yoga, Pilates, or tai chi
If the solutions discussed above aren’t helping, talk to your doctor or a Santa Monica spine surgeon about your specific symptoms. Getting an accurate diagnosis means you’ll be more likely to benefit from personalized treatment recommendations and a related physical therapy plan.
If your quality of life is being affected by back pain, seek the advice of an experienced spine specialist with expertise in techniques that provide back pain relief. The pioneering spinal health experts at The Spine Institute use state-of-the-art technology and innovative methods to help patients find relief from neck and back pain. Call one of our friendly representatives today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a consultation.