When you sit for a prolonged period of time do you notice some neck, back, or shoulder discomfort? We have all been there at some point in our lives. We can guarantee your back doesn’t feel great after sitting still for 8 hours. Do not worry, this is completely normal. It is a good thing that your body is sending signals to your brain telling you it’s not comfortable, listen to your body and move! Posture is a hot topic and is a bit misunderstood. There is no science backing up the perfect posture, however, this article will break down some of the best posture exercises you can integrate into your daily routine in as little as 5-10 minutes!
What Are Effective Ways To Improve Postural Pain?
Do you want to know the key to avoiding postural pain? Keep your body moving! Don’t let your body adapt to one specific position. It is better to stay moving from a poor position to another poor position than to find the “perfect” posture and stay in that position for 8 hours straight. We believe there is no posture that is off-limits. However, if there is a certain position that contributes to someone’s symptoms (maybe a bad posture for you temporarily) then we would recommend avoiding that position at least for a little! Many professionals have exaggerated the problems associated with posture. Telling someone there is a perfect way to sit induces fear if someone is in any other position. As humans, we are NOT meant to stay still all day. WE ARE MEANT TO MOVE. We want to stress the point that it’s not actually the sitting that is bad, but the lack of movement that is detrimental. The image puts the importance of posture into perspective.
Is “Perfect Posture” Hurting Your Back?
People are told to sit up upright, with the chest out and the spine neutral. Those low back muscles are working extremely hard to hold this position. You know what we see this lead to? some back discomfort. This is not a natural position for your body to be in.
So will sitting in the “ideal perfect posture” for 8 hours straight help you decrease your pain?
But will getting up out of the chair every hour and constantly varying your sitting posture help you decrease your pain?
➡️ We believe so, which is why we want you to take home this quote to heart:
”Your next posture is your best posture”
Another big piece to improve postural pain is to take frequent breaks. Exercise breaks are GREAT. Not only do exercise breaks keep you from sitting for too long, when performing the correct exercises, but they can also help stretch or strengthen you in the opposite position of the one you are likely spending endless hours in.
The Ultimate Program That Will Improve Your Postural Pain
Do you have tightness around your shoulder blades and mid back area due to staying in one position for too long? Many people around the world are moving less and are sitting more now than ever before. Your best posture is your next posture, and we have the perfect plan designed to help improve your posture! Learn more HERE
6 Posture Exercises
With this exercise, don’t hold your breath, use it to your advantage. Breathe in when you round forward, breathe out when you open up your chest. Squeeze your shoulder blades together ➡ by driving your elbows out directly laterally if you can.
Elbow On Wall Overhead Stretch
Sample Mid Back Posture Program Exercise
- HOW: Place your hands against the wall at about shoulder height. Hinge at your hips and bring your body forward, this will be a body-on-arm movement which will increase the amount of shoulder elevation you are working into. Be gentle and move within your comfort. Change the width of your arms for comfort.
- FEEL: You should feel a stretch in the shoulders or the mid-back region.
- COMPENSATION: Avoid pushing into the wall with your arms, this is a relatively passive exercise meaning your arms shouldn’t be working during this stretch.
Quick Tips To Improve Your Posture!
Low Back Flexion <> Extension Against Wall
Sample Mid Back Posture Program Exercise
- HOW: While placing both hands up against the wall for support, begin by sagging your hips to arch the back. Then push back into a child’s pose against the wall, the goal is to stretch the back into a rounding position. Repeat this movement back and forth with control.
- FEEL: When you drop your hips you will feel the abs and the low back stretching into the arched position. When you bring your body down towards the floor you will feel the low back muscles being stretched
Pec Major Stretch
Sample Mid Back Posture Program Exercise
- HOW: Get set-up next to a wall or doorway and place your hand up on the wall to create a 90-degree angle at your elbow, your elbow should be at shoulder height and your hand should be above head height. Perform the pec stretch by leaning your body forward and maybe rotating your chest away from your hand. Focus on keeping your shoulder and shoulder blade in a good position by keeping it back to increase the stretch.
- FEEL: You should feel a stretch in your pecs and the front of your shoulder. You shouldn’t feel any numbness or tingling or pins and needles in your arm/hand if you do back off.
- COMPENSATION: Try to focus on just a pec stretch, do not lean too far forward or rotate your chest too far away. Don’t let your shoulder fall forward, keep your shoulder blade back.
This is an easy exercise you can perform while you are sitting at your desk!
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Banded Pull Aparts
- HOW: While keeping your elbows at your side, focus on spreading the arms as far as you can while holding onto a band. Initiate this motion with the shoulder blades and allow your arms to follow. The firmer the band (Double up the band if appropriate) or the more you tighten up the band, the more challenging this exercise will become.
- FEEL: Primarily the muscles on the inside of the shoulder blade with some assistance with the muscles on the back of the shoulder.
- COMPENSATION: Keep the low back from arching.
Does bad posture = future pain or injury⁉️ This is probably one of the HOTTEST debated topics. Posture and pain/injury is complicated, science suggests no at this time, but that doesn’t mean we are going to promote bad postures. Our message is simple, stay moving, and take frequent breaks! For all of these exercises – an easy place to start is by performing 2×30 second holds for the stretches and 2×10 reps for the activation exercises performed every hour. You don’t have to perform all 6 of these at once, however, pick and choose which exercises feel the best for you. Knowledge is potential power, hopefully, you learned something that you can integrate into your daily lifestyle to improve postural pain!
Optimize Your Mid Back Mobility and Enhance Postural Habits
When we think of the thoracic spine one word comes to mind; neglect. Thank you for striving to replace that word by completing this program! The thoracic spine is structurally designed to allow mobility to happen. If this area becomes neglected, the lower back and shoulders can become angry neighbors. The solution becomes restoring peace in the neighborhood by owning thoracic mobility. The block party is 8 weeks away and you are hosting the thoracic spine, get ready to impress your neighbors!
About The Author
Arash Maghsoodi, PT, DPT, CSCS
[P]rehab Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer
Arash Maghsoodi received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California. For his undergraduate studies, he attended San Diego State University and studied Kinesiology. After sustaining a career-ending ankle sprain while playing collegiate soccer, he realized how disabling and life-altering injuries can be. Arash currently resides in beautiful Santa Monica, California. His clinical experience is primarily in the orthopedic and sports setting. He has treated a wide variety of conditions ranging from the post-operative individual to the professional athlete. Arash is keeping the family legacy of becoming a physical therapist, as his mother is a practicing clinician of 30 years in the Orange County area.
Disclaimer – The content here is designed for information & education purposes only and is not intended for medical advice.