This was a question I was asked recently by one of my patients who was suffering with sciatica pain while standing after a short period of time, as opposed to most sufferers who get sciatic pain after being seated for a period of time. It turned out that they worked at a local supermarket and spent long periods of time standing on a hard floor.
As I also, at one time during my working life, had to stand in one place working a machine for hours on end, I fully empathised with their situation. Do not underestimate how much impact walking or standing on a hard surface can have on low back-related leg pain. In fact, most large joint pains, such as hip pain or knee pain. Places with really hard floors tend to be the worst to walk around such as shopping centres (malls) and airports.
Sciatica pain commonly results from nerves being trapped in one of three places: –
- the lower lumbar vertebrae.
- the sacroiliac joint.
- where the nerve passes through the gluteal muscles (buttock) and is commonly referred to as ‘piriformis syndrome’.
Sitting can cause sciatic pain to occur when pressure is applied to the sciatic nerve in any of these three locations. However, for pain to occur only whilst standing, it is likely that the pain is stemming from either the lower lumbar vertebrae or the sacroiliac joint.
So, what can you do to help relieve sciatica pain while standing?
- Invest in some well cushioned shoes and regularly move rather than standing on one spot.
- If your occupation involves standing in one location, i.e. behind a customer service desk or at a machine for long periods of time, approach your employer with a request for cushioned matting.
- Stretch as often as possible, and the simple stretch shown here can be done anywhere; if done regularly throughout the day it will relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve.
The full details of how to perform this stretch are explained in a previous blog called, ‘The Easiest Stretch for Sciatica’.
With regard to comfortable shoes for standing and walking; apart from good comfortable trainers and walking shoes, of which there are many various makes, it can be difficult to find well cushioned, smart business shoes. I can personally recommend Hush Puppies, Clarks and Rockport. My wife recommends Paver and Hotter brands. Alternatively, gel heel inserts can be of great benefit.
Once again, I hope this has been helpful in reducing sciatica pain while standing.