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3 Ways to Overcome Sciatica Pain While Standing

3 Ways to Overcome Sciatica Pain While Standing

sciatica pain while standing

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?

  1. Invest in some well cushioned shoes and regularly move rather than standing on one spot.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Stretch for sciatica pain while standing

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.

Ian

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Amy
Amy
20 days ago

What about an inversion table? Would that do more damage?

Elizabeth Lewis
Elizabeth Lewis
26 days ago

Hello I have a slipped disc L5/S1. I have been in extreme pain 3 months. I can’t walk, or stand and have pain the 1st 5 mins of sitting.I have tried a steroid injection 2 months ago which gave me 25% relief for 2 weeks and then the pain slowly got back up to 10. I tried simple yoga style exercises from a physio at the same time. I have now started with a new therapist who has treated many people and is starting by trying to stretch my lower back. In the meantime the hospital is offering a nerve block pdf treatment where they warm the nerve affected. I have decided to try this although the therapist says it won’t help much. If my pain doesn’t decrease in another 2 months I think I will ask for surgery.

David WILKINSON
David WILKINSON
2 months ago

Hi
Started with sciatica pain in March. I had 10 adjustments with a chiropractor no progress.
I could not sit or drive for long. For instance I went on holiday in June to Menorca and stood for two hours on the plane both ways.
I could walk and play golf when taking ibuprofen. It lasted about 5 hours then the pain returned.
Now I’m in September I can’t walk at all apart from about 50 yards because I’m in such pain, but I can drive and sit down which is the opposite of my early sciatica.
Just had a scan 22/9 awaiting results.
Anyone similar situ??
David WILKINSON

Elizabeth Lewis
Elizabeth Lewis
Reply to  David WILKINSON
22 days ago

What did your scan show?

Enda Francis
Enda Francis
11 months ago

Hi SPRC, x6 months ago I had a fall on a bench then high pain in which could hardly stand. Doctor sent me to MRI in which shows disk herniation L4-L5 compressing on my right side nerve. Sent to a Orthopedic I was then put on a Physio program + stretching with painkillers. In which I have improvements(70%) as no pain at all sitting, but I strangely still have inconsistent pain on my right back it’s not radiating down but just then on my right ankle everyday. Is there anything you could please recommend that I could fully heal?

Thanks,

Enda

C.W. Jeter
C.W. Jeter
11 months ago

My husband – six months ago – was a very active fast walker (6-9 miles/day at a 14-15 min pace). Sciatica started rather mild at first, but with rehab, some mild medication, an MRI, and later two steroid injections, he is actually worse. During that time, though, as a very active man (older than 55) he continued to mow the lawn, do yard work and attempt to walk. It was very difficult for him to just rest, and he did not want to take much medication. Two weeks ago after an MRI and being referred to a surgeon who does not want to perform surgery — not knowing exactly where to target since he has multiple issues with his back (some disk issues/spinal stenosis) – he is feeling very despondent. He can sleep soundly at night, he can walk approximately one quarter of a mile without too much pain. But later he has aching in his lower back, glutes and down the leg. Generally this will occur later. He is on a very low dosage of gabapinten that probably isn’t helping that much and possibly changing to Lyrica. In the meantime, I am a runner and understand the value of staying active – I used to walk many miles with him, as well as my own exercise. I am trying to keep him active by encouraging him to walk feeling that it is still better to keep him moving than to just sit down. I would like advice as to whether I am doing the right thing. It is difficult to get good advice as to how to keep going forward while waiting for the next doctor appointment.

Brian D
Brian D
1 year ago

My pain is exactly as discussed in your article. Sitting is fine. Cycling is even fine. Standing/walking is agony. This pain started about six weeks ago and has not let up. Today, at the grocery store, I noticed that doing a kind ifc”push-up” on the shopping cart relieved the pain and I could walk quickly.

I had a sacroiliac steroid injection two weeks ago: no change. Now they want to do an intradisk injection L3-L4. I can’t reconcile that with no pain while cycling. You give me something to ask about on another visit. I may want to see them to discuss your article.

Raquel
Raquel
Reply to  Brian D
9 months ago

Hi Brian,

I’m wandering if you figured out what the problem was or if you found a way to help with the pain. I’m in the same situation as you and the same push-up motion relieves the pain too. I haven’t been successful in figuring out the problem.

Verna david
Verna david
1 year ago

I have sciatica but broke my femur 6 years ago had a rod put in then had a parochial knee replaced the other day I decided together something in my tall pantry so I put my right foot on chair to stand did that twice instead of getting a ladder I am only 4’10 my sciatica acted up on My right butt then in morning I could not sit to pee or put my foot down I almost passed out from pain called the Dr he said muscle relaxer and tenatole drug I woke up next day still could not sit to pee it was like. Mussels spasm in my femur he gave me a shot it is a week today still in morning can’t sit to pee until spasm goes away I lay on bed put leg up and massage it until my pain med works did I damage my femur.

myofitness
myofitness
1 year ago

Hello…
The blogs are really appreciable and one can trust the knowledge and information provided in the writing.

Frank Buck
Frank Buck
1 year ago

The pain when I am driving is unbearable I have to stop every 30 minutes get out of my car and walk around it stops hurting when I stand how can I get this pain to go away

Fizz
Fizz
1 year ago

My MRI shows I have disc herniations 4mm at L4/L5 and 10mm at L5/S1. Initial pain started in October 2020 where my lower back on the right aside had tremendous pain to the point it was hard to walk. This gradually started moving toward my right piriformis muscle where it was a stabbing pain. After shortening my piriformis muscle with stretches, the pain in my buttock went away. Shortly after is when the Sciatica kicked in about Jan 2021. I couldn’t lay down, sleep, or stand/walk for more that 5 minutes. Chiropractors tell me my sciatica is related to my pelvis but I find that hard to believe since several adjustments haven’t helped at all. I took an epidural injection and that relieved some of the pain. I am now able to find a position that doesn’t hurt to sleep well but I still cannot stand or walk for more than 5 minutes without feeling sciatica in my hamstring and right outter foot. Its been 1 month since the injection and 6 months since the injury. I can deal with the lower pack pain but I cant get rid of the sciatica that kicks in after I stand or walk for more than 5 minutes. Any advice?

Lisa
Lisa
Reply to  Fizz
1 year ago

Hey, I have had EXACTLY the same problem and I’m at my wits end. Back pain to where I couldn’t walk, then right buttock pain to where I couldn’t straighten up and now it’s behind my knee down to my right foot. Strange cuz I can bend my back all over the place with zero pain but my leg…. I can’t even stand for 5 minutes! It feels like a hamstring injury. It’s so debilitating. I’ve had pain medications and nerve medications from the doctor, even had the nerve medications doubled. I’ve been doing yoga and physio but nothing seems to help. This is month 4 now and I’m tearing my hair out. Any advice is welcome.

Kelly
Kelly
Reply to  Lisa
2 months ago

This is awful, I honestly feel your pain.
I had surgery back in May for a discectomy and 9 weeks later the pain is back worse than before.
I had another mri last week and going to see my surgeon again.
I can’t stand or walk for longer than 10 seconds without the pain starting in my lower back, buttocks, leg, calf and foot. It’s so painful it takes about an hour or two to calm down. And that only happens when I lay down straight on my back.
I’m back on all my pain meds I was previous. I have cried every day for the last three weeks .
I’m learning to know what I can and can’t do at the minute. I have tried physio and stretches but it’s so painful I can’t get into the positions and the ones I can I can only do for a few seconds and that’s it I can’t move for an hour or so.
It’s no joke

GRAEME MANN
GRAEME MANN
Reply to  Fizz
1 year ago

I am a Butcher I had to stand at a block all day and Road Sweeper. I am having problems putting on my sock and tie my right hand side foot. After i have pain up my side.

Louis
Louis
Reply to  Fizz
1 year ago

I started feeling pain at the back of my right leg in June 2020 my doctor prescribed pain killer drugs for me. I used them but no results and after like three months the pain left me.
Again on July 2021 the pain arose. I have been using pain killer drugs no results. I have also undergone x-ray twice and the physiotherapist after going through the film results he said nothing is wrong with my bones but the pain is around my buttocks, back of my legs till down.
Please what do I need to do?

Rashania Dewberry
Rashania Dewberry
Reply to  Fizz
1 year ago

Hello!
I had a work injury in 2018 which resulted in 2 herniated discs. L4-L5 and L5-S1. I’ve been dealing with this for all this time and I can be honest; I didn’t follow my treatment plan as I should’ve because I was terrified to move and the doctors were telling me to stretch despite the pain.. I thought they were crazy!! Fast forward to the present.. I did a lot of research on my condition, which I finally came to the realization that “movement is butter”.. and YouTubed a bunch of PT stretches specifically for my condition. Plot twist.. my back feels better than it has in years but for some reason I got a new symptom. Immense pain that starts on my left buttcheek (so debilitating) runs down the outer side of my thigh..down the outer side of my knee.. into my calf and down to the foot. I can’t sleep, sit, walk for too long or stand for too long. I’ve done stretches for sciatica, piriformis syndrome, lumbar stretches etc. I I’m trying not to give up but being 31 and crying like a toddler is getting exhausting. Please help.

jesus zuniga
jesus zuniga
Reply to  Rashania Dewberry
8 months ago

I feel your pain literally. I started that way when I got my sciatica and never experienced back pain. Doctors don’t know much really and they can’t help aside from drugs or therapy or surgery. Just think about what a doctor can do and you’ll realise they can’t do much because they don’t know much. My point is that we have to figure out our pain triggers and stay away from them as much as possible. Then we have figure out what work from the volumes of information on the web. Once you accomplish that then just ask the good Lord for patience, courage, and strength to tolerate your new life, I do all of that and it helps.

Lalo Romero
Lalo Romero
Reply to  Fizz
5 months ago

I recently had 2 herniated disk in my lower lumbar area of the back and it finally healed after 3 months. Now my sciatica has flared up on my right side of the body which I was able to cope with still cutting the yard, going to the gym and work, but now out of nowhere my sciatica pain has been killing me in my toes/foot when standing for a few minutes. I just got an epidural shot a few days ago and Dr gave me some pain medication to help me sleep. Nothing seems to be working or getting any better but we’ll see. It’s just hard not being able to shower, brush my teeth or sit at the table with the family. Almost like life is passing me by while I’m in severe pain. Family and friends don’t understand how painful the sciatic nerve can be!

Fi
Fi
Reply to  Lalo Romero
4 months ago

Lalo, I totally relate to your experience. I am going for my MRI this week but I have been in and out of physio, chiropractor, pcp, orthopedist and ER. Walking and standing is the worst for me. I can’t describe the pain to folks as it is so debilitating. I have only found steroids to help take the edge off while I am in therapy. 4 months of this and still looking for relief. My new physio is definitely doing something good – so keep looking for the right Physical therapist if you are not getting relief with physio.

Claire McNulty
Claire McNulty
Reply to  Fi
4 months ago

I am exactly the same. This is my third sciatic nerve event in 4 years and I am rattling with meds from the doctor. I drug myself up to get sleep only to be woken every day around 1am to immense pain. I have asked to pay private for epidural but no response yet. I am going on holiday next month and not sure how to deal with that much pain abroad! I cry every morning getting out of bed but still go to work and move about the best I can.
Its a living nightmare and I want the operation to shave the nerve and do not care about any risks

Eva
Eva
1 year ago

Hello Gale,
I started having sciatica around March of last year and I was really worried since I’m only 17 years old and I’ve only ever heard that it occurred for people that were a bit older than me. This past year has been very hard since I am a competitive dancer so I’m always active, but it does hurt a lot and I do have to sit down quite often. I have scoliosis aswell so I think that has something to do with it, I’ve consulted my doctor several times and they’ve only given me muscle relaxers and have told me to walk for 20 mins. I only get the pain when I’m standing up not when I’m sitting down. Do you know what may be causing it since I’m so young? Also anything that could help get rid of the pain? Or atleest not be able to feel it all the time.
Thank you

Gale Slayton Harris
Gale Slayton Harris
1 year ago

Hi, I’m planning on a visit to my doctor, but she’s on vacation this week, so in the meantime, I’m hoping to gain some insight. My bum started feeling sore on the left side about 2 weeks ago, and progressed into pretty intense pain down my leg, weakness on that side too. But everything I could find said I shouldn’t stop stretching or exercising, so I kept doing gentle yoga stretches for opening hips and cat/cow type back postures for back, also walking between 1/2 and 1 mile a day up and down my driveway. Since it’s winter in VT, that probably wasn’t the smartest thing. I felt things were not going forward, deteriorating. I also tried riding my stationary bike, but now the pain is sharp nerve jolts in my feet and toes. What should I be doing? Even the over-the-phone visit with my health clinic said to exercise, but I can’t sleep, sit, lie down, or stand for long if I do so. I feel better just resting, truthfully. I have 5 days before in-person doctor visit, and I’d like to lessen pain till then. Thank-you.

Richard baltruschat
Richard baltruschat
Reply to  Gale Slayton Harris
1 year ago

I have awful pain whilst standing for 15 mins or more.i have spine problems sciata which results in very high pain in the legs when.i tried 100s sciata spine decompressing exercises for a year. Had accupunture.pain killers. Tried everything.can you help as it’s getting desperate

Dinorah king
Dinorah king
2 years ago

I had an injection in 2014 it hit my sciatic nerve my right butt cheek did not walk for a year now I’ve been fine is for the 4 1/2 years up till this point all sudden. I am in excruciating pain going to help after stretching .going to a chiropractor had my veins checked to make sure it’s not a blood clot is it possible for nerve damage caused by injection be dormant and then react again if so what should I do in your opinion

Natalya Oram
Natalya Oram
Reply to  SPRC
9 months ago

Hello my name is Natalya, i think i have pinched my sciatic nerve in my right leg. I’ve had it for about two months now. It comes and go. I have the symptoms of it. During the morning time I’m fine until the afternoon and the pain gets worst. Sometimes can stand straight but other times I can’t. I’ve been trying to get exercise everyday. I walk at least 2km twice a day. At first it was hard but it’s gotten easier but I still struggle from time to time.

Karen C
Karen C
2 years ago

I can walk around my house and even do yard work for about 20 minutes then my hip and leg feel weak and painful and I get intense pain on lateral side of calf. It goes away when I take weight off leg. I can do yoga no problem. I have recently had epidural injections at 4 levels in lumbar spine with no relief. I have not been able to go for a “real” walk in over 3 months.

Gemma Shallaker
Gemma Shallaker
Reply to  SPRC
1 year ago

Really intense pain in my calf feels like cramp constantly. pain goes down in to my ankle like a stabbing pain. I can only walk for stand for a couple of minutes.
When in bed I can feel calf muscle cramping.

June Watson
June Watson
2 years ago

Hi, I’ve been having this pain off and on for the last 8 years but for the last 12 days now it’s right down my leg I can only stand for 5 minutes and I need to sit down. My leg cannot take anymore pain. Anything I can do? I am worried about this now.

Lakshmi
Lakshmi
Reply to  June Watson
2 years ago

I am suffering from sciatic disc issue . I have too much pain just after walking up. I do have two storey house . Is it okay to climb stairs 3-4 times a day slowly ? Will it aggravate my condition.

Thanks and I look forward for your reply.
Lakshmi

Kiran
Kiran
2 years ago

Dear Sir
I am having backpain since 40 days now it has moved to hip and bum not able to sit down

Stefan
Stefan
2 years ago

I am having symptoms due to cycling mostly. Yet cycling is my mode of transport to work and back. I am currently feeling discomfort and slight pain down the back of my left leg/thigh. I try to stretch but this doesn’t do much. I have used Max strength Deep heat too. I am not really wanting to go in to taking lots of painkillers as they don’t go well with me, especially while i’m at work.

Larry Huffman
Larry Huffman
2 years ago

My pain starts from my lower back, it goes down my right leg all the way to my foot. It occurs when I stand but as soon as I sit down it goes away. I’m looking for some type of stretching technique to help me. Or should I consult a physician?
P.S. My foot start tingling and numbness sets in from standing but as soon as I sit down, it goes away.

Larry Huffman
Larry Huffman
Reply to  SPRC
2 years ago

Thank you for replying. I will definitely do that.

Morna L. Rogers
Morna L. Rogers
2 years ago

My pain lately have increased it go all way to my neck and side of my head. I can’t sleep I can’t seat no more than 6-8 min. can’t stand for to long my right leg at times give up on me.

Gareth Evans
Gareth Evans
Reply to  SPRC
2 years ago

Hi I recently had a slipped disc at work, the pain from that has almost gone apart from if I try to stretch, but the last five days I’ve had a terrible pain going from my bum to the back of my knee I can only stand for about 1 minute without having to lay on the floor as sitting also hurts, it’s absolutely agonising.

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