Exercises to Improve Posture
and Reduce Back and Neck Pain
For proper alignment, your head should be straight, not tilted forward or to one side. Shoulders should be pulled back and down. Your abdomen should be tucked in without tilting your pelvis. Knees should be slightly bent, shoulder width apart.
While sitting or standing, look straight ahead with your shoulders rolled back and down. Place two fingers on your chin, tuck your chin slightly and gently push your head back. Hold for 3-5 seconds and release. Repeat 10 times.
Stand with your head, spine and glutes against a wall, feet about four inches from the wall. Bend your elbows and raise your arms so they are parallel to the floor, as shown in the image. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for 3 seconds. Then straighten your elbows and raise your arms to form the letter ‘Y.’ Don’t lift your shoulders. Then go back to the previous position and hold for 3 seconds. Repeat 10 times. Do 2-3 sets.
Place your hand on the doorjamb with your elbow bent and fingers pointing toward the ceiling. Your arm should be parallel to the floor. Lean slowly into your raised arm and push against the doorjamb for 7-10 seconds. Relax and repeat, this time lunging slightly with your legs so your chest moves past the doorjamb, as shown in the image, for 7-10 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.
Hip Flexor Stretch
With your left foot flat on the floor in front of you, kneel onto your right knee. Toes should be down. Put both hands on your left thigh and press your hips forward until you feel a stretch in your hip flexors. Pull your abdominals in and slightly tilt your pelvis back, keeping your head straight ahead, as shown in the image. Hold for 20-30 seconds and switch sides.
While sitting or standing, inhale and raise your shoulders to your ears. As you exhale, pull shoulders down and together. Repeat 5-10 times.
Standing Side Bend
With both feet flat on the ground, touch your left hand to the side of your head. Guide your head to the right until you feel a stretch on your left side. Take 3-5 breaths and switch sides.
While these exercises are a good way to improve posture and alleviate common causes of pain, if you find them difficult or painful consider scheduling an appointment with a physical therapist. At your appointment, the therapist can evaluate whether you are performing the exercises correctly, identify any issues that may be causing the problem you are experiencing, and develop a treatment plan. Call Brunswick Physical Therapy at (732)967-1000 to set up an appointment.