Risk Factors for Low Back Pain with Prolonged Standing

Man with low back pain standing and bracing himself on a wall

We normally ask our low back pain patients about pain with prolonged sitting, but do you ask them about pain with long periods of standing?

Low back pain (LBP) will impact 70-85% of adults throughout their lives, exacting significant social and economic costs. Those experiencing acute LBP will have a recurrence within the first year after onset 78% of the time, and 10-20% will progress to chronicity. Approximately 85% of LBP is classified as “non-specific”.

One approach to identify individuals prone to LBP has been to observe responses to long duration standing tasks, as studies have demonstrated that symptoms experienced during standing are similar to symptoms experienced by people with LBP.  Prolonged standing pain developers (PSPDs) have been compared to patients with non-specific, chronic, and recurrent LBP, as well as indirectly to non-pain developers (NPD).  The PSPDs have demonstrated altered muscle activation, alignment and movements patterns that may make them more susceptible to developing LBP based on a kinesiopathologic model of LBP. As such, PSPDs are potentially a pre-clinical LBP population, reporting symptoms of the same quality and location during prolonged standing as those typically experienced by people with LBP. Understanding the characteristics and risk factors of a potentially pre-clinical LBP population may identify the role for preventative measures. 

It is important to note that the research has revealed contradictory findings with respect to muscular, psychological, and postural variables, as well as with movement patterns. As such, the aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to provide a coherent picture of PSPD characteristics and risk factors associated with standing-induced LBP. 

RESEARCH REVIEW: Risk Factors for LBP with Prolonged Standing

This paper was published in Scientific Reports (2023)

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