Do you experience back pain when standing, or after standing? It’s a common issue. Not only can it be uncomfortable and inconvenient, it can also be a sign of various underlying medical conditions. In this article, we explore four potential factors that could explain why you experience back pain when standing.

1. Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is a condition where the discs between the spine’s vertebrae start to decline. As the discs decline, pressure increases on the vertebrae and this can lead to considerable back pain while standing.

What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

DDD is a chronic, age-related condition where the discs between the vertebrae start to wear down as you age, or as a result of injury. It causes lower back pain, numbness or tingling in the arms, neck, and legs.

Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease doesn’t always show any symptoms, however in some cases it can cause neck, lower back, and leg pain. You may also experience muscle spasms (tightening) in the affected area.

Diagnosing Degenerative Disc Disease

Your doctor will look for signs of DDD such as ongoing muscle stiffness and spasms. Along with a physical exam and medical history, your doctor may order X-rays or an MRI to diagnose DDD.

Treating Degenerative Disc Disease

If your doctor identifies DDD as the cause of your back pain when standing, they will likely recommend physical therapy or certain exercises. If the pain is severe enough, your doctor may suggest surgery or taking a course of corticosteroid injections.

2. Herniated Disc

Another potential cause of back pain when standing is a herniated disc. This condition occurs when a disc in your spine ruptures, creating compression of the surrounding nerve roots.

What is a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc is a disc in your spine that has burst and is pressing against your spinal cord and nerves. This is also sometimes known as a ‘slipped’ disc. It commonly occurs in the lower back but it can sometimes occur in the neck.

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Symptoms of a Herniated Disc

The main sign of a herniated disc is pain radiating from the lower back or neck into your buttocks, legs, or upper arms. You may also feel tingling or numbness in the same area. You may also feel tenderness and weakness near the area of the herniated disc.

Diagnosing a Herniated Disc

To diagnose a herniated disc, your doctor will start by asking about your symptoms. This will usually be followed by a physical exam and imaging tests such as X-rays or an MRI to observe if there is any damage to your spinal cord.

Treating a Herniated Disc

Treatment for a herniated disc will depend on the severity of your condition. In most cases, rest and anti-inflammatory medication can help reduce the pain and swelling. Physical therapy or certain exercises may also help with recovery. In rare cases, surgery may be required.

3. Sciatica

Another common cause of back pain when standing is sciatica. This condition is caused when the sciatic nerve is compressed, causing pain, numbness, and weakness in your buttocks, legs, and lower back.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a form of lower back pain caused by a pinched sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the body. It runs from the lower back, through your buttocks and down the back of your leg.

Symptoms of Sciatica

The most common symptom of sciatica is a shooting pain in the leg and lower back. In addition, you may experience tingling, numbness, or weakness on one side of your buttocks, legs, and feet. Pain may worsen with sitting, sneezing, coughing, or bending forward.

Diagnosing Sciatica

Your doctor will start by asking questions about your symptoms and medical history. Imaging tests, such as X-rays or an MRI, can be used to diagnose sciatica. In addition, your doctor may also recommend nerve tests and an electromyography (EMG) to confirm the diagnosis.

Treating Sciatica

Treatment for sciatica can vary depending on the severity of your symptoms. In most cases, exercises and physical therapy can be used to help manage the pain. Additional treatments, such as chiropractic manipulation, massage, acne medications and muscle relaxants may be helpful in reducing pain and inflammation.

4. Arthritis

Finally, arthritis can also be a possible cause of back pain when standing. Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints and can cause pain, stiffness and swelling in the affected area.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder which causes inflammation of the body’s joints. It is commonly seen in elderly people and can cause swelling, stiffness, and pain in the affected area.

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Symptoms of Arthritis

The main symptom of arthritis is joint pain and stiffness. You may also experience swelling, redness, warmth or limited range of motion in the affected joint. Other symptoms may include fatigue, fever, or weight loss.

Diagnosing Arthritis

Your doctor will start by asking questions about your symptoms and medical history. Images tests, such as X-rays, can be used to diagnose arthritis. Blood tests or joint fluid tests may also help diagnose the type of arthritis.

Treating Arthritis

Treating arthritis depends on the type you have and the severity. Your doctor may start with making lifestyle modifications such as modifying your diet, doing regular exercise, or getting more rest. Medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, or biologic medications, may also be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation.

People Also Ask

What is the most common cause of back pain when standing?

The most common cause of back pain when standing is degenerative disc disease, which is the gradual deterioration of the discs in the spine.

What causes upper back pain when standing?

Upper back pain when standing is usually caused by poor posture or joint inflammation due to arthritis. It can also result from overuse of the muscles in the upper back.

What does lower back pain when standing mean?

Lower back pain when standing may be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as herniated discs, sciatica, or arthritis. It is important to seek medical advice if the pain persists.

What can be done to relieve back pain when standing?

To relieve back pain when standing, you can use ice and heat therapy, practice good posture, and maintain a healthy weight. It may also help to do regular stretches and exercises to keep the muscles of your back flexible and strong.

How long will back pain last when standing?

The duration of back pain when standing can vary depending on the cause. Generally speaking, back pain should improve with rest and treatment. If it does not improve, it may be necessary to seek medical advice.

Final Thoughts

Back pain when standing is a common issue, and can be caused by several medical conditions, including degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, sciatica and arthritis. Understanding the potential causes can help you to seek appropriate treatment and improve the quality of your life. If you experience back pain when standing, we recommend consulting with a doctor.