Standing and moving around for eight hours a day can be a pain — and lead to chronic pain. People who work in jobs that keep them on their feet all day often suffer from debilitating back pain caused by this strain. You probably can’t just leave your job, but there are some precautions that you can take to not only ease existing pain, but to help prevent complications brought on by constant wear and tear. Here are steps you can take right now to help ease the pain from an active job:
Stand Up Straight
Though it may feel unnatural at first, practicing proper posture will go a long way toward relieving back pain. When you’re standing fully upright, your head is in a “neutral” position and isn’t putting any stress on your spine. Slouching, however, can put tremendous pressure on your spine and your muscles. Over time, this can constrict nerves and blood vessels, as well as exacerbating back pain. For proper posture, you should have a straight line from your ears to your ankles — that means that your head, neck, shoulders, tummy, hips, and knees should all be “stacked” straight, one above the other. If this feels uncomfortable to hold, work up to it by standing straight for as long as is comfortable, then releasing. Over time, correct posture should come to feel more natural — and really, it’s what’s best for your body.
Even if you’re mainly standing in one spot, you can still move around a bit to help relieve muscle tension and keep your circulation up. Simply shifting elements of your positioning can help. Instead of standing with both feet next to each other, place one foot in front of the other for a few minutes, then switch. Rock up on your toes, then ease back down to stretch the muscles in your legs. Though it’s tempting to sit down as soon as you have a break, it’s a good idea to walk around a little during the day to help ease muscle tension.
Performing a few simple stretches can also help relieve muscle tension and keep pressure from building up in your back or joints. A simple quad stretch can help to relax the muscles in your thighs. While standing, hold on to a counter or other stable surface with your right hand for balance. Bend your left leg, bringing your foot up behind you, and grab your ankle with your left hand. Hold for a moment, then release and switch sides. Another way you can stretch while you’re working: Put something low (like a sturdy box or bench) in front of you, and alternate placing one foot on it. Just picking up your feet from time to time will relax your hamstrings and allow you to move some of the muscles in your legs.
Get a Good Base
When it comes to dealing with back pain, an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure. One place where you can make a major difference? Your feet. Even carpeted flooring can be hard on the soles of your feet, leading to chronic pain. If you have to stand in the same spot all day, a padded mat can make a big difference. Whether you’re standing or on the move, proper footwear is key. Comfortable shoes with solid arch support can help support your feet and your overall health.
Don’t let a job that keeps you standing up all day leave you with chronic back pain or joint pain that keeps you up all night. If you’re suffering, the Spine Institute Northwest offers a wide range of nonsurgical and minimally invasive options that could help provide relief. Call us today at 206-496-0630 to learn more.