Skip to content

Lower Back Pain When Standing | Causes, Patterns, & Relief

There comes a time in many folks' lives where they look in the mirror and say, "I'm a pretty healthy guy/gal. Why do I have such crippling lower back pain when standing?" and you find yourself on this article. There are a plethora of triggers that can induce lower back pain, and standing is one of the least suspecting. Here is why you likely have lower back pain when standing and what you can do to fix it.

pain in lower back when standing

Action Shot Of Lower Back Pain When Standing (Not An Actor)

What Is Lower Back Pain When Standing?

Lower back pain when standing is differentiated from general lower back pain because it is induced by prolonged periods of walking, standing, or doing anything long term while on one's feet. Common triggers of lower back pain while standing include walking, hiking, standing in church, or just spending more than 5 minutes on the feet out of the chair.

Lower Back Pain When Standing - Pattern & Symptoms

To make sure we can help you with your lower back pain from standing, we first need to clarify we are talking about the same pain. The pain referred to from here on out is a muscle pain induced by a predictable set of muscles in and around the back. These muscles are typically tame at rest, but cause strain when they are forced to function in a standing or walking position.

lower back pain when standing pain pattern

Pain Pattern Caused By The Gluteus Medius Muscle [1]

Lower Back Pain When Standing - The Muscles:

There are 3 main muscles that tend to contain knotting, tension, and a resulting pain in folks who mention standing as a lower back pain trigger. These 3 muscles are Quadratus Lumborum (QL), Gluteus Medius, and Gluteus Minimus.

Check out the linked resources here for more information on each muscle, and keep reading for how to resolve the problem of lower back pain when standing:

Your lower back pain while standing could be caused by one, two, or all of these muscles. Analyze the pain patterns of each and take the appropriate steps of deep tissue release, stretching, and strengthening to bury your pain for good.

How To Fix Lower Back Pain When Standing

There is a 3 step process to eliminating your standing-induced lower back muscle pain: 1) deep tissue massage, 2) stretching, and 3) strengthening. Step 1 should relieve any active knotting or hot spots contributing to your pain, and steps 2 & 3 will help build your resilience so you can stand longer and longer without triggering pain.

Step 1 - Massage: The point of step 1 is to iron out all of the knotting and trigger points in the 3 muscles mentioned above. Muscle pain at its root is caused by constant muscle tension, which pulls on joints, impinges nerves, and can be extremely uncomfortable. The goal here is to thoroughly break up all of your tight, angry muscle tissue of its tension.

How To: Deep tissue massage of the QL, Gluteus Medius, and Gluteus Minimus can be done by the hands of a physical or massage therapist, or at home with a purposefully made tool like QL Claw.  I love QL Claw for this because you can grab and use it exactly where and when you need it.

Step 2 - Stretch: Once your muscles are rid of all constant muscle tension and pain, it is important to stretch build lastly length in the muscles - which will free up your lower back pain when standing even more. This video has a few great stretches for opening up the upper glutes and relieving tension on the lower back.
Step 3 - Strengthen: Strengthening your lower back and upper glute muscles is key in building the strength and stamina it takes to be able to stay on your feet all day. These 3 exercises are a few of my all time favorites for relieving lower back pain when standing by building up the QL muscles:



[1] Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019.

Leave a comment

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive emails every few days with back pain relief tips, testimonials, and resources