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Whether you are working or needing to be out and about, standing on your feet all day can begin to affect your body. If you do stand for long periods of time, these tips may help. They will address each region of your body. In addition, they will explain how to help ease the pains you can have from standing too long.
Why Standing Still Can Cause Pain
When you experience difficulty standing for long periods of time due to pain, then it is important to understand why standing still can take a toll on your body.
Burden on your Muscles
Standing still for long periods of time takes a toll on your muscles. This is because when you stand still, only a few of your muscles are working to keep you upright and support your body.
The calf muscles are the ones that take on most of the burden. When you are walking and moving about, your other leg, thigh, and torso muscles come alive to take on more of the burden.
Lack of Rest
When you are standing still, there is no rest or break for the muscles in your feet and legs. They need to keep a consistent tight composure to ensure you remain standing. If you are standing for long periods of time, you tend to lean all your weight onto one leg and then switch to another.
When you walk, your weight is transferred. The muscles in your legs take turns tensing and relaxing as your weight switches from each leg as you walk. While it is a very brief break, the working of the muscles makes it easier on your body.
While your heart is one of the most powerful organs in your body, it is unable to efficiently pump blood back up your body from your feet when you are standing still. Therefore, if you stand still for long periods of time, you may experience swelling and pain in your feet.
Walking helps your heart by allowing your muscles to contract. The contractions help by giving your heart more of a pumping support to help keep the blood flow regular. You can also wear compression socks, which will keep your leg muscles tight and constricted. This will help encourage more blood flow in your feet when you have to sit or stand for long periods of time.
Hard on Feet
Standing for long periods is hard on your feet for obvious reasons. They are at the bottom and have to hold all your weight. Your feet are also pained by standing still because you are resting on the balls or heels of your feet with little to no relief.
Similar to how walking helps distribute your weight around on your legs, the same can be said about your feet. When you are actively walking or moving around, your feet are distributing your weight through your foot and not just to a specific hot spot.
Wearing better supporting shoes or inserts can help when you have been standing for long periods of time and have foot pain.
While these issues can cause pain for you when standing still for long periods of time, the good news is that most are able to be avoided by walking and moving around. Walking will also help by pumping endorphins into your body. This gives you an all-over feel good that can help ease back and other pains from standing all day.
At work, you may have to keep still for hours at a time. Make sure that during your breaks you are incorporating walking around as much as possible. Adding in small walks throughout the day can help ease these common issues and help keep pain at bay.
From your Back to your Feet
When you are dealing with pain from standing all day, it can be focused in various places along your lower body. Let’s take a look at the different areas which can be affected by standing still too long and the best way to help relieve pain.
Back Pain From Standing Too Long
One of the most common complaints from people is back pain from standing all day. Back pain, upper and lower, can be cause by a series of problems. A few common things that cause back pain from standing all day are as follows.
- Poor foot support
- Muscle Tension
- Poor fitness
- Tight Hamstrings
When you are having trouble because standing for long periods of time hurts your back, then take a deeper look into these issues. Then, look at ways to adjust or fix them.
Poor circulation occurs when you are standing for prolonged periods without moving or walking. Blood will start to pool in your feet, which can cause back and foot pain after standing for long periods.
A good way to combat this is by wearing compression socks. They help by compressing your feet and legs. This allows for good circulation throughout long periods of sitting or standing.
You can also do various foot exercises. These will help keep your circulation flowing and cut down on blood pooling and causing pain.
Poor Foot Support
When you wear little to no support, it can lead to feet that hurt after standing for a long time. It also can lead to lower back pain because of the lack of support.
Flat shoes and older shoes offer little to no support. If you hold a job that demands you stay on your feet for hours at a time, you need to purchase good shoes on a regular rotating basis.
Most shoes are made for about six months of daily wear. Work boots and shoes that are constantly worn outside in rougher conditions have a shorter lifespan. To know if your shoe needs replacing, check the outside for any detrimental structure wear. Also, listen for any popping or clicking. This would indicate the shoe is loose.
If you notice the support in the shoe has diminished, you can always opt to replace the insole. Dr. Scholl’s offers great insoles which come in a variety of materials and needs for day-to-day support care.
When you are standing still for long periods of time, your muscles may become tense from the lack of support and not being able to rest. When your muscles become tense, it can contribute to back pain that occurs while standing for a long time.
Incorporate walks during the day to help with tense muscles. You can also take a pain reliever or try doing some stretches to help ease the ace and relax your muscles. Relaxed muscles are a good way to combat lower back pain while standing.
Your weight can have a lot to do with your back pain. If you are excessively overweight, this can hinder you from being able to stretch your muscles properly in order to find relief from tension.
Simply being more active by incorporating daily walks or playing a recreational sport can help you strengthen your muscles. This will also allow some of your weight to diminish. Being in better shape can help strengthen your back and increase your overall well-being.
When you have back pain, you may think you need rest and heat to heal. However, exercise is a great way to heal and strengthen your back muscles. When you exercise, it moves your spinal discs which in turn allows them to exchange fluids.
While this can sound odd, when your back discs exchange fluids it is how each disc receives its nutrition. A disc that is in good health will act like a sponge. It will absorb water and then squeeze it out.
The fluid in your discs will also help with any swelling around the discs in the soft tissue. A back that is regularly exercised will have less swelling and healthier discs.
You don’t need to be a fitness guru to achieve a healthier back. Instead, you can relieve your back pain from standing all day with simple exercises. When you have a healthier back, you can avoid having chronic back pain when standing for a long time.
While you may not think that muscles in your thighs could contribute to back pain, the hamstrings are essential for a healthy back. The hamstring runs from the top of your thigh all the way down to the back of your knee. When this muscle is tight, it can affect your lower back and cause pain there.
To relieve tightness and pain in your hamstrings, there are a few stretches you can do to ease that tightness. A simple stretch you can do is the seated hamstring stretch.
Simply sit up straight in a chair with both legs straight in front of you. Move one leg forward and place the heel on the floor, while having your toes face upwards at an angle.
You will begin to feel a stretch in your hamstring just from this pose. Keep your back straight and your shoulders down. To deepen the stretch, move your torso forward and lean towards your legs slowly.
Hold this pose for fifteen to twenty seconds before slowly pulling out of the stretch. Then, do the same with your other leg. Be careful not to harm or over-stretch your hamstring by using jerky movements or trying to bend into the stretch too much. If there is pain in stretching, do not stretch at such a severe angle or consult your doctor.
Your posture is everything when it comes to dealing with back pain from standing all day. While you may think you have great posture, you could actually have poor posture and need to realign to give your back and body a better overall support.
If you have a sitting job, you could easily be slouching when you lean over a desk or table. Even if you stand, you could be slouching or standing with too much weight on one leg.
An easy way to fix your posture is to straighten your shoulders. When sitting or standing, lift your shoulders and pull them back until they are even with your neck. Remain in this position while you are standing or sitting.
If you have bad posture, it will not feel as comfortable. This is because you will be stretching and using muscles that have been slouched or too relaxed. Try to hold your good posture position for as long as you are able throughout the day and remind yourself not to slouch.
It can take a little time to rebuild and straighten those muscles. Your back will thrive when you have good posture and it will keep the discs and spine in a healthy condition.
You can also invest in a wearable back support for standing all day. A back support belt like the ProFlex 1650 will offer support while keeping you limited to your bending movement. Belts like these were made to remind you how to use your legs to lift and not bend at the waist.
There are several other reasons that can contribute to consistent back pain. One of those is exclusive to women, and can develop for women with larger breasts. The weight can cause back pain over the course of time. Investing a well supported bra will help to alleviate some of this.
Another reason could actually be hereditary. For this, it is best to see your doctor and learn more about what solutions might work.
Any one or more of these issues can be to blame if your back hurts when standing too long. Now that you know more about them you can work towards fixing or adjusting your area of weakness. This may help you get rid of the pain if your lower back hurts when standing too long.
Stretches To Help Back Pain
When you are having back pain from standing all day, these simple stretches may offer relief. It may take a few accumulative times of stretching, before you begin to notice a lot of relief.
It will take some time for your muscles to feel relief from stretching. Don’t give up after one try. Set a daily timer on your phone, so you remember to stretch and take the time to help relieve your back pain.
The first few times you stretch, take it easy. Don’t go into a full stretch. Ease into each position and listen to your body as you stretch. If you over stretch the first time, you are at risk of harming your muscles which are not used to being stretched.
The best way to stretch is to ease into the position and avoid bouncing or quick movements. Stretching should always be pain free. If you are feeling pain, reduce the depth of your stretch and ease back towards it over a period of time.
If you are unsure about how well you can stretch, listen to your body. It will tell you how far it can go. Over time you will notice you can deepen stretches with little to no trouble.
Also, make sure that while you are doing these exercises, do not over arch your back. It is important to keep your back straight as you stretch. This posture ensures you are stretching your back muscles properly and relieving your back pain after standing too long.
Back Flexion Stretch
Lay on your back and pull both of your knees to your chest. Flex your head forward until you can feel a comfortable stretch from your mid to low back. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds before releasing. Rest and repeat a few times.
Make sure you ease into this stretch. Don’t go all the way into it unless your body is used to stretching like this. Also, don’t rush the stretch. Ease yourself onto the floor, stretch and hold. Rest, repeat a few times if you can, and then ease yourself back up when you are done.
Kneeling Lunge Stretch
Start by kneeling on the ground. You can use a mat to help make it a more comfortable position. Move one of your legs forward and place that foot flat on the floor.
Make sure you keep your weight even through the hips and do not favor one side over the other. Place both hands on your elevated thigh and gradually lean forward. You will feel the stretch in the front of your leg.
This stretch will work on your hip flexor muscles. They are attached to the pelvis. If they are too tight, it can affect your posture. Doing this stretch can help alleviate back pain. It can also help correct your posture if it has been compromised by tight muscles.
This stretch is very helpful if you have a lower back that hurts when you are standing too long.
Knee to Chest Stretch
Lie on your back with both of your feet flat on the floor, which will have your knees up and bent. Place both your hands behind one knee and gradually pull it towards your chest.
This will stretch your glutes and the piriformis muscles in your buttock. Stretching these muscles can help with lower back pain after standing for a long time.
While these stretches will not fix your back in 48 hours or less, they will get you on the road to a healthier and less painful back. Try to make time in the day to stretch. But, please remember to not overdo it. Start by stretching twice a day and then build onto that as you go.
Start each stretch with the bare minimum required to warm up and work your muscles. As you continue stretching each day, you will begin to deepen the stretch gradually. This will allow your muscles to adapt and save them from being strained and over-stretched.
Other Pains From Standing Too Long
Your back isn’t the only part of your body that can be negatively affected from standing too long. From your feet all the way to your head, standing for too long can cause pain throughout your body. Below, we’ll go over some common areas, and how to reduce pain from standing too long.
One of the last pains you would expect is having stomach pain when you have been standing for a long time. This pain is not limited only to pregnant women. It can be a sign of a more serious issue such as a slipped disc or internal stomach issues.
If you are experiencing any stomach pain when you are standing for long periods of time, it is best to make an appointment and consult your doctor to find the root of the pain.
Hip pain can also be a symptom of a slipped disc in your back. When you have hip pain from standing too long, you should talk with your doctor about getting an x-ray and treatment.
One easy stretch you can do is a figure 8 hip rotation. While you are standing still, alternately place your weight on your legs. Use easy movements with your hips to make a figure eight motion. This stretch will help with your hip muscles and can provide relief for some leg pain as well.
Make sure you see your doctor and let them know about your hip pain if it persists or does not ease after a few days. It could be a more serious injury such as a slipped disc or problems with your hip bone.
Leg pain after standing for long periods of time occurs because only a few muscles are being used to support your body and carry your weight. When you are moving around and walking, your weight distributes. Your muscles are able to flex and then relax as you walk.
If your legs hurt after standing all day, especially in your calves, walking around when you are able may help. You can also try a few leg stretches like the calf stretch to help ease tense muscles.
For the calf stretch, all you need is a wall to brace against. Place one foot forward and bend the knee while keeping the other leg behind you straight. As you lean forward you will be able to feel your rear leg stretch in the calf area. Hold this stretch for about ten seconds and then alternate to the other leg.
This may help you stretch and relax your calf muscles.
Knee pain can occur when you are standing for long periods without a break. One of the most common reasons individuals have knee pain after standing for long periods is because they don’t practice good posture.
When you are slouched or not standing correctly, pressure is put on your knees and will cause them to ache. Exercises or stretches are not needed to fix pain in your knees from bad posture. This can be easily remedied by practicing the correct posture and not slouching.
The correct knee posture for standing is to have your knees straight but not locked. Make sure your feet are straight and set in equal lines to your hips. Use this correct posture to help when you are standing for long periods of time and have knee pain.
Standing for long periods of time will give foot pain if you don’t wear the right support for your feet. This doesn’t mean you have to wear ugly yet comfy shoes. It means you need to wear the right type of support in your shoes.
When you are spending long periods of time standing, you need to invest in a good pair of shoes that have support built in. You can also purchase inserts for extra support or to add support to shoes which do not have much.
Dr. Scholl’s Massaging Gel Inserts are great for when you have been standing too long and your feet hurt. The massaging gel works as you stand or walk to provide support while gently massaging your foot muscles as you move.
If you wear a certain type of work shoe, it is also recommended you buy new shoes every six months. That is the general rule for shoes. However, you can see the wear and tear on your daily work shoes and use your best judgement for replacing them.
Another way you can help your feet is to use an anti-fatigue mat. These mats are made to help individuals that have heel pain after standing for long periods of time. They are hard enough to be supportive while soft enough to add comfort for long periods of standing.
When you are pregnant, your body requires more rest and help with circulation. The biggest issue pregnant women encounter is foot pain and swelling due to reduced blood flow. If you have to stand for long periods of time while pregnant, these tips may help you.
While you can wear compression socks to help with circulation, it may be more difficult to get them off and on during the late stages of your pregnancy. Instead, try to elevate your feet as much as possible. If you have to stand for work, find a place during your breaks and lunch that will allow you to put your feet up.
This will help reduce swelling and promote more blood flow. Walking around some during the day instead of standing completely still will also help with keeping your blood flow regular.
Another thing you can do when you are standing too long during pregnancy is to have a small box or stool nearby. Prop one foot up on it at a time and then switch. This will also help give your feet relief when you need to stand for long periods of time.
When you are dealing with back or other body pain from standing too long, knowing the root cause and adjusting can be the biggest help. Walking, stretching, good posture, and having the right foot support can help ease your pain and have you back to enjoying your days again.