Why Does Standing Still Cause Lower Back Pain?

Discover why standing still causes muscle fatigue and lower back pain, and why walking actually helps relax the muscles.

Why Does Standing Still Cause Lower Back Pain?
Photo by Christopher Boswell / Unsplash

Imagine standing in place for an extended period.

Your back starts to ache, and you feel the urge to sit down or move around.

But why does standing still often lead to discomfort in the lower back, whereas walking for the same amount of time doesn't have the same effect?

The Muscular Mechanics

When you stand still, the muscles in your lower back remain tense to provide stability and support.

This sustained contraction can lead to fatigue and discomfort.

On the other hand, when you walk, these muscles go through a cycle of contraction and relaxation, reducing the buildup of tension.

Muscle Fatigue and Blood Flow

Standing in place requires a consistent effort from the muscles, which can lead to quicker fatigue compared to when walking.

The lack of movement can also hinder blood circulation, depriving the muscles of adequate oxygen and nutrients.

Comparing Physical Strain

To illustrate the point, consider doing 20 pushups in 5 minutes.

Now, imagine doing only 1 pushup in 5 minutes but staying in a lowered position throughout.

The sustained effort in the latter scenario puts more strain on your muscles, similar to standing still for an extended period.

Posture and Body Alignment

Another factor contributing to back discomfort from standing still is the tendency to slouch or adopt poor posture when stationary.

Conversely, walking encourages a more natural alignment of the spine and promotes subtle movements that can alleviate pressure on the lower back.

Impact of Prolonged Inactivity

Standing still for long periods can lead to a lack of motion in the lower back and hip areas, which may contribute to stiffness and discomfort.

The absence of natural shifts in weight distribution and movement patterns can strain certain muscles and ligaments.

Interesting Thought

The next time you find yourself standing for an extended period, try incorporating subtle movements or changing positions to alleviate the strain on your lower back.

Simple adjustments could make a significant difference in how your body feels after prolonged periods of standing still.