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What causes lower back pain when standing or walking?

Lower back pain sit walk

The misery of lower back pain is an almost universal and unfortunate experience. Some people are lucky enough to get only the occasional discomfort, but the problem is often chronic for millions of people. Their lower back hurts when standing up too much, or they’re in so much pain they can barely walk. Let’s look at what causes lower back pain when standing or walking and how to find relief.

Main causes of lower back pain when you walk or stand up:

Most adults deal with lower back pain at some point in their lives, and people with sedentary jobs suffer the most. If you’re sitting down right now reading this post, take a few seconds to examine your posture.

Is your back straight? Does your chair properly support your back? How long have you been sitting at your desk, one hour, two?

1. Poor posture

Poor posture and prolonged sitting are among the most common causes of lower back pain. Maybe you don’t feel it now, but you will certainly do when you stand up and try to walk. Some people experience sharp acute pains, while others are left with a dull throbbing pain.

Wearing high-heels all day every day also strains your spine, and you will pay a heavy price for it. Carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder might also cause back pain. Maybe making a striking impression at the office was worth it, but keep in mind that constantly torturing your spine might have serious consequences later.

2. Not being in shape

Having a higher weight increases your risk of suffering from back pain. That’s for the obvious reason that the lower back, the part of your spine below the ribcage, has more of you to support.

To make matters worse, being chubby often goes hand in hand with being out of shape, as in not exercising enough. Carrying the pizza box to the couch does not count as exercise, nor does making the trip all the way to the fridge to grab another beer! Your spine needs strong muscles to help it do its job.

3. Low back pain while sitting or walking? It could be a herniated disc

Chronic back pain is often the result of a herniated disc caused by the simple wear and tear of the lumbar vertebrae. This one is an increasingly common problem for the over 50s.

But you can also get it when you’re younger, as I did when I had sciatica. Not fun having pain radiating down your legs either!

4. Lumbar spinal stenosis

The insufferable pain is caused by the narrowing of the spine, which puts pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves. Ouch!

While it can happen anywhere along the spine, it often is in the lower back. The most common cause of lumbar spinal stenosis is osteoarthritis.

How to deal with lower back pain:

Now that you’re thinking about the potential causes of the ache, what can you do about it? Here are some at-home remedies:

1. Rest

While it can be slow and requires patience, rest is often the best medicine for lower back pain. In some cases, unfortunately, the relief might be only temporary.

Find a comfortable position in bed and take it easy for a couple of days. That may do the trick.

2. Walk or stand with hot/cold packs to relieve low back pain

They are usually recommended to speed up the healing process. You’ll have to discover which of the two works for you.

Try taking a warm bath and then apply a heating pad to the affected area. If that doesn’t work, try an ice pack. A bag of peas from the freezer will do; just make sure you wrap in a towel so it doesn’t touch the skin directly.

3. OTC medication

It can help alleviate the pain, even for a short time. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, better known as NSAIDs, include ibuprofen or naproxen.

They are very effective for some people in reducing swelling and discomfort. Always follow the label and never go above the recommended dose.

4. Improve your posture

Start paying attention to how you hold your back while standing and sitting. You might want to invest in a better chair that provides adequate support to the lumbar region.

Be patient as it can take several weeks to fix your posture. That’s especially true if you have been slouching for several years.

5. Lose weight

Losing weight is another way to alleviate lower back pain. Be sure to do so gradually, rather than trying an unhealthy fad diet to try to get quick results.

You might hit the gym to alleviate the burden on your spine and get toned muscles. There are many other places to exercise too if the gym isn’t your thing, such as outdoors or even in your living room.

6. Get a massage or go to a chiro

Consider massage therapy to relax your muscles or do yoga to strengthen your body and improve mobility. A registered massage therapist has the training to provide a custom treatment plan based on your body’s needs, pain level, existing medical conditions, and other factors.

A chiropractor can also help treat an achy back in some people. An initial consultation will help you determine if this treatment is right for you.

Takeaway on lower back pain when standing or walking

If nothing works, it might be time to see a doctor. The professional might offer the same advice as above, as surgical procedures are typically last-resort options.

If you’re approved by the doctor to do so, try some stretches or take a short walk. Hoping you feel better very soon!

6 thoughts on “What causes lower back pain when standing or walking?”

  1. Hi Christy, this is a most informative article. Lack of exercise is a big contributor to lower back pain and there’s been a general increase since the lockdowns in March 2020. People just aren’t moving around enough while working at home.

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