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Stretches & Exercises for Better Posture

Woman stretching arms while seated at a table with laptop

7 Exercises to Improve Posture & Relieve Pain

Over 16 million Americans suffer from chronic back pain, and research reveals that improved posture can help relieve symptoms like an aching back, shoulders, and neck. Fixing your posture with daily exercises and relieving pain with Doctor Hoy’s® natural topicals can help you get through every day with less pain.

Woman standing with good poster vs slouched with bad posture

Is bad posture causing your neck and back pain?

Slouching at your desk, staring at your phone, and daily stress are just a few factors that can cause poor posture. Muscles that affect posture support the spine to help maintain alignment of the back and neck. Without proper care, these muscles weaken, causing wear and tear on your spine and chronic pain from an aching lower back to migraines.

Bad posture can not only cause pain, but also increases your risk of injury, overstraining your muscles and joints while throwing off balance and alignment. Improving posture can prevent pain by strengthening supporting muscle groups that encourage healthy alignment.

Relieving pain from poor posture involves a combination of strength exercises as well as pain relievers that reduce inflammation. A natural topical analgesic like Doctor Hoy’s Pain Relief Gel or Arnica Boost Recovery Cream can help reduce body inflammation and make it easier to combat neck and back pain as you improve your posture.

Man using pain relief gel roll on on neck; woman using arnica cream on shoulder

Will stretching fix bad posture?

Exercises and stretches for bad posture can help relieve pain and improve alignment, flexibility, and overall strength. Stretches for better posture can even increase body awareness so you have an easier time correcting and controlling your posture daily with less effort.

To fix bad posture, you must be consistent with a daily stretching routine. Doing yoga can help relieve pain and poses that stretch and lengthen the spine along with core exercises can correct bad posture.

When stretching or better posture, the goal is to return your head and spine to a more neutral position. The most effective way to relieve neck and back pain is doing both neck and back stretches for posture together, balancing and strengthening weakened postural muscles.

7 Exercises & Stretches for Posture

The following posture exercises focus on strengthening the stomach and lower back muscles that support the spine as well as the muscles in the neck. Try to do three to five poses twice a day for two minutes each. If your pain worsens with exercise, stop and talk to your healthcare provider.

1. Child’s Pose

Woman in child’s pose for better posture

This resting pose lengthens the spine, glutes, and hamstrings while releasing tension in your lower back and neck:

  1. On a soft surface, sit on your shins with your knees together. Your big toes should touch, and your heels should sit out to the side.
  2. Bend forward at your hips and place your hands on the floor in front of you.
  3. Bring your hips downward with your thighs hovering just above your calves and rest on your heels.
  4. Extend your arms ahead of you with palms on the floor or keep them rested at your side.
  5. Slowly place your forehead on the floor and turn your head to one side.
  6. Breathe deeply and evenly as you relax for up to five minutes.

            2. Forward Fold

            Woman standing in forward fold

            Dropping into a forward fold, you should feel your lower and upper back open and lengthen. This standing stretch releases upper body tension and stretches your hips and legs:

            1. Stand with your toes touching and your heels apart.
            2. Slowly fold forward at the hips, releasing your hands to the floor or resting them at your ankles.
            3. Slightly bend your knees, relax your hips, and allow your spine to lengthen towards the floor.
            4. Tuck your chin into your chest and let your head fall, freeing tension in the neck.
            5. Stay in this pose for one minute, then slowly roll your spine up to a standing position.

                    3. Cat Cow

                    Man performing cat cow yoga pose for improved posture

                    The cat cow pose relieves shoulder and neck tension and promotes circulation. While a standing cat cow pose loosens tightness in the back, this grounded pose actively works the spine:

                    1. Get on your hands and knees. Your knees should be below your hips and your palms under your shoulders.
                    2. Inhale as you drop your stomach toward the ground and extend your spine forward and up.
                    3. Exhale as you arch your spine up and tuck your chin into your chest.
                    4. Slowly repeat these motions for one minute.

                          4. Plank Exercises

                          Man outside in plank pose

                          Planks are back exercises for posture that strengthen your core. They relieve body stiffness, encourage balance, and maintain neutral alignment to strengthen muscles that support the back:

                          1. Get in a push-up position on the floor and raise your body so only your toes and palms touch the floor.
                          2. Ensure your back is straight, your core engaged, and your palms rest under your shoulders.
                          3. Look down at the floor as you lengthen your neck and soften your throat.
                          4. Keep your chest open and avoid slouching.
                          5. Hold for one minute.

                                  5. Cobra Pose

                                  Woman doing cobra pose inside

                                  The cobra pose is one of the best posture exercises that prevent slouching. This back extension exercise for posture strengthens your back muscles all along the spine:

                                  1. Lie face down on the ground.
                                  2. Place your palms on the floor under your shoulders with your elbows bent back and hugging your sides.
                                  3. Look down, keeping your neck in a neutral position, and anchor your pelvis to the floor.
                                  4. Inhale as you lift your chest up and roll your shoulders back. Keep your lower ribs and body on the floor.
                                  5. Keep your gaze on the floor and your neck in place.
                                  6. Hold for five breaths, then release and repeat twice.

                                            6. Chest Stretch

                                            Woman doing chest opener exercise for better posture

                                            By opening the chest as you stretch, you build strength that prevents slouching, so you stand up straighter:

                                            1. Stand with your feet hip width apart and your head, neck, and spine aligned.
                                            2. With your arms behind you, interlace your fingers and press your palms together or use a towel to hold onto.
                                            3. Inhale and lift your chest toward the sky, bringing your hands down and gently squeezing your shoulder blades together.
                                            4. Inhale and hold for five breaths.
                                            5. Release and relax, then repeat for one minute.

                                                    7. Chin Tuck

                                                    Woman tucking in chin then standing with chin out

                                                    Posture exercises for neck pain help pull the head back into alignment with the shoulders, stretching and strengthening the neck muscles. The chin tuck is one of the most effective neck exercises for posture:

                                                    1. Stand with your back against a wall and your feet a few inches away from the wall.
                                                    2. Your head should start at neutral position between your shoulders with your chin slightly down.
                                                    3. Pull your head backwards until it touches the wall.
                                                    4. Hold for 5 seconds, then gently release to neutral position.
                                                    5. Repeat 10 times and perform this exercise seated or standing five times a day.

                                                            Tips to Improve Posture with Exercise

                                                            Chronic pain can make it more challenging to perform certain movements as working on your posture might irritate some muscles and joints. These tips can help you get the most out of doing exercises for better posture:

                                                            • Focus on your breathing: Oxygen is important for muscle function and strength. Avoid holding your breath during each exercise and inhale through your nose then exhale through your mouth in even breaths.
                                                            • Use slow, controlled movements: In yoga and Pilates, slow, controlled movement is the key to developing muscle strength, flexibility, and balance as you focus on specific muscle groups.
                                                            • Engage your core: Weak core muscles contribute to slouching and bad posture. To strengthen them, keep these muscles engaged during exercise, pulling them in and up towards the spine.
                                                            • Relieve muscle pain naturally: Doctor Hoy’s Pain Relief Gel provides fast-acting, long-lasting relief from muscle soreness, joint pain, and more. With a natural pain reliever, you can work on fixing your posture comfortably and avoid the side effects of NSAIDs.
                                                            • Set a movement reminder: If you sit at a desk most of the day, set a reminder on your phone to go off once every hour. This alarm tells you to get up and move whether that means doing laps around the building or standing up to stretch.
                                                            • Try standing more: Standing more at work can also increase your activity levels and encourage better posture when you engage your core and avoid slouching.
                                                            • Work stretches into your routine: Fit these posture exercises into your daily schedule once or twice a day such as during your lunch break, before bed, or as soon as you get up in the morning. 

                                                            How to Relieve Posture Pain with Doctor Hoy’s

                                                            Your back or neck pain could be a result of poor posture. Fixing it with posture exercises and stretches can help alleviate and even prevent pain. Use these exercises for improved posture with Doctor Hoy’s pain relief topicals to help ease muscle soreness, inflammation, and pain associated with bad posture.

                                                            References:

                                                            Cooper, S. (2023, January 17). Back Pain Statistics and the Importance of Good Posture. Innerbody.

                                                            Cramer H, Mehling WE, Saha FJ, Dobos G, Lauche R. Postural awareness and its relation to pain: validation of an innovative instrument measuring awareness of body posture in patients with chronic pain. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2018 Apr 6;19(1):109. doi: 10.1186/s12891-018-2031-9. PMID: 29625603; PMCID: PMC5889545.

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