Help prevent back pain!
October 7, 2007 6:45 PM   Subscribe

I just started a minimum wage job at a department store sushiya. What can I do to prevent the back pain I get from standing in one place all day? I also have access to a gym two times a week, so let me if any workouts have helped you in your standing job.
posted by Citizen Premier to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
what kind of shoes are you wearing now?
posted by lia at 6:47 PM on October 7, 2007

You need good shoes.
posted by hooray at 6:47 PM on October 7, 2007

Ask the store to put in some chef mats. I'm sure there are a variety available out there.
posted by pineapple at 6:53 PM on October 7, 2007

Response by poster: I get no foot pain whatsoever. Are your sure I need good shoes? And we already have mats.
posted by Citizen Premier at 6:56 PM on October 7, 2007

Yes, you need shoes. Thick-soled, heavy-heeled, unsexy and with orthotics or padded inserts. It'll make all the difference in the world.
posted by mr. remy at 6:59 PM on October 7, 2007

Some answers in this thread perhaps.
posted by unknowncommand at 7:01 PM on October 7, 2007

Ditto the the above- support (or lack thereof) for your feet is definitely correlated to back pain. What you wear on your feet can play a large role in how your back feels.
posted by bobdylanforever at 7:03 PM on October 7, 2007

Ditto the shoes. I had the same problem with one of my first jobs. My Mom made me buy some SAS shoes. So, so unattractive but they solved my back problem. Good Luck!!
posted by pearlybob at 7:26 PM on October 7, 2007

Do you really have to stand in one spot all the time? Maybe you could find excuses to move around a bit: tidy up the merchandise, help a customer find something, etc. Walking around a little might ease your back muscles a little - I always finding standing still is harder on my back than walking. Good luck!
posted by Quietgal at 7:29 PM on October 7, 2007

Good shoes gets my vote. I've had a few retail jobs where I couldn't move around too much. The days my back hurt most were the days I opted for style over support.
posted by gummi at 8:28 PM on October 7, 2007

I found that stretching every morning seemed to help keep things loose. A yoga teacher once told me that stretching your hamstrings improves posture and strengthens your back. That may not be true, but if you're paying better attention to what's going on back there, you might be more aware of what exactly is causing the aches and shift your posture/stance accordingly. Regardless, standing in one position for more than an hour or two totally sucks and I can empathize with you.
posted by erpava at 8:34 PM on October 7, 2007

I don't know if your foot wear can alleviate back pain. In my experience footwear alleviates FOOT PAIN. But feel free. Dr.Scholls feels great. take this to heart; no pain, no gain. You Will get used to it in about a week or two in. I promise. Your back will get stronger on it's own trust me. No need to work out. Move around a little. Bend forward, take bathroom brakes and sit on the toilet for 2 minutes. I've been through it 10+ times. If it's just plain excrutiating or you can't take it think about excersing at the local or city gym. It's another new start anyway, I'm there with you!
posted by Student of Man at 9:44 PM on October 7, 2007

I worked on elaborate poses with my feet without actually moving my upper body.

I found that the most comfortable way for me to stand was with my feet touching and facing almost opposite directions and me leaning on my right foot.

People always told me how weird it was [back in my HS days] but it saved my back and my feet. Well not my feet so much but definitely my back. Don't ask me why.
posted by Mr_Crazyhorse at 9:57 PM on October 7, 2007

working on your abdominal strength helps, because you carry less tension in your back muscles that way. avoid slouching whenever you can. sometimes the height of the benches you are working at are at the worst possible level, so you just gotta deal. doing stretches (especially ones that involve leaning backwards) and keeping your abdominal and back muscles strong through exercise is the best recommendation i have
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 4:13 AM on October 8, 2007

Seconding abdominal work; keeping your abs contracted while standing will take some of the load off your back. Also, I have found a foam roller to be surprisingly effective at keeping the back loose.
posted by backupjesus at 6:41 AM on October 8, 2007

Good footwear and good posture. Get some lessons in posture - Pilates/Alexander Technique/Feldenkrais should provide you with a solid foundation in posture and movement and should assist you to stand and move effortlessly.
posted by goshling at 7:06 AM on October 8, 2007

Get TWO pairs of different good shoes mentioned above. Don't wear the same pair every day.

When the initial comfiness wears off a bit, add good insoles (half-insoles work for me, because I need heel padding, but experiment with whatever works for you).

And although it might seem obvious, TAKE ALL MANDATED BREAKS! I've had co-workers pass up breaks because they had nothing to do, but really--get away, walk around, stretch, flex, even if it's just for five minutes.

@pineapple--thanks for the name for those things! I stepped on one behind the counter at Trader Joe's when I threw something away in the cashier's wastebasket, and immediately thought that we needed one for in front of the stove and in front of the sink! They're amazing.
posted by wintersweet at 9:18 AM on October 8, 2007

I have a set of aromatheraphy shoe inserts which are also of a gel like substance. I find that they bare great when I know I need to do a lot of walking and standing on concrete floors.
posted by chairish at 11:32 AM on October 8, 2007

I actually have a pair of Nike Frees that have been vastly better for long periods of standing than my orthotics-enhanced, heavy-arch-support New Balances. Dunno why, but the difference has been astounding.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:26 PM on October 8, 2007

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