Patient Education – Page 2

You Thought You Knew How to Stand

All these years you thought you were standing correctly. After all, it’s something we learn as children and use every day. But, unfortunately, standing doesn’t come with instructions. It’s like shooting a basketball. There are several ways to get the ball through the hoop, but when you do it the right way your chances of making the basket are much better.

When you stand and walk the right way, your chances of suffering from back issues is reduced.


  • Toes up
  • Feet Straight
  • Shift body weight back
  • Relax back and buttock
  • Reflexively engage lower abs to control falling backwards
  • Shoulder blades back and down
  • Tuck chin back

This might feel unnatural at first, but with practice you’ll notice that you do it easily and can then integrate the posture into how you walk.

Practice this standing posture frequently throughout your day.



Upper Back Activation

After sitting in a chair for several hours most people find their shoulders rounding forward. After a time you’ll experience pain in your upper back as those muscles get overstretched. The muscles across your chest will tighten, increasing the amount of time you spend with your shoulders forward.

Practice this every couple of hours to help remind you to sit straight, at the same time activating and strengthening your upper back muscles.

Shoulder Retraction:

  • Bend your arms at the elbows to 90*
  • Keep elbows tight to your sides throughout the exercise
  • Rotate your palms so that they face up 
  • Pull shoulder blades back and down
  • Allow for arms to rotate outward keeping elbows parallel and tight to side
  • Repeat following the same instruction but keeping your arms forward



One Exercise to Get Ready for the Day

This morning activation exercise will stimulate the muscles in your back to help improve your posture and reduce any back pain. Do this first thing in the morning on a flat firm surface. You can also do it several times during day after sitting at your desk, standing in one place or working at the sink in the kitchen. In each of these different situations people often sit with their shoulders rounded forward, stretching the back muscle.

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on floor or bed
  • Keep knees together and drop to one side
  • Tighten one buttocks to bring your hips back and up towards your spine
  • Take opposite side shoulder and rotate arm so palm is facing up.
  • Pull shoulder blade back and down towards spine
  • Repeat on the other side



It’s Not as Simple As Lying Down

You might think that lying down is simple. But, you could be adding stress to your lower back and neck if you are sleeping using poor posture.  You can also use this lying posture throughout the day in order to rest your lower back and hips.

Here’s a quick list of how to lie down without adding stress:

  • Flat on your back
  • Feet and legs straight
  • Rolled towel for neck support
  • No pillow for head support
  • Lie your arms to your sides with palms facing up
  • Squeeze shoulder blades back and down
  • Use body weight to pin shoulder blades in neutral position
  • If your hip flexor muscles are tight, put 3-4 pillows under bent knees