For many of us, standing for long periods of time, even all day, is unavoidable. If your job or your life forces you to stand, these tips should help prevent or reduce low back pain.
If possible, stand with one foot up on a footrest and change positions frequently. Bending your knee takes some of the pressure off of the muscles that frequently spasm and exacerbate low back pain.
Of course, wearing a comfortable shoe with good arch support makes all the difference. High heels can be harmful because they tilt the pelvis at an unnatural angle, throwing off the foundation of the whole spine. I cannot emphasis enough how important it is to wear good shoes with plenty of cushion and shock absorption on a daily basis.
Many people complain of back pain after shopping for hours in a mall. Unlike carpeted or wooden floors, concrete floors have absolutely no give. The discs in your spine act as shock absorbers. The discs and joints are compressed when you walk on hard surfaces or wear shoes with no cushion for extended periods of time.
Stretch frequently and move around whenever possible. Keeping your knees bent also helps take some of the pressure off of the lower lumbar discs. Moving your legs slightly back and forth or contracting the muscles in your legs while standing also helps stimulate blood and nerve flow.
To help you become more aware of your posture, try the following exercise while standing in front of a mirror. Imagine two gentle hands on either side of your head pulling you upright, and a light helpful hand at your back pushing your shoulder blades together. Think tall, lengthen your neck, and let your head move upward, with the chin slightly in.
Breathe deeply from your stomach, pushing out your chest. Concentrate on lengthening your spine, still imagining the top of your head reaching toward the ceiling. Keep your stomach in and buttocks tucked. Slightly bend your knees without locking them, since locking your knees puts unnecessary stress on your lower back.
Now, visualize yourself walking in a way that projects self-confidence and inner strength. Picture yourself with excellent posture, head held high, shoulders back, feeling tall, proud, and self-assured. Imagine yourself on top of a sunlit peak reaching your arms toward the sky, radiating pure life, pure energy, and pure health.
With continued practice you will start looking and feeling like the self-confident person that you have always known you are.
I have always loved the old saying “To be, act as if.” When you assume the body posture of a strong, energetic, and confident person, walking with a spring in your step and a smile on your face, you will find that the physiological changes also positively affect your mind and soul--lifting your spirits and sometimes even changing your whole outlook on life.