How Physical Therapy Can Improve Posture and Reduce Back Pain

Occupational Health Physical Therapy Minnesota

How Physical Therapy Can Improve Posture and Reduce Back Pain

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How Physical Therapy Can Improve Posture and Reduce Back Pain.

How physical therapy can improve posture and reduce back pain? Why does sitting at my desk give me pain? I’m not doing anything why do I hurt? This line of questioning is commonplace in a physical therapy conversation.  Not knowing or understanding the origin of your back pain can be frustrating, stressful, and mentally fatiguing.  But is this the correct line of questioning to gain a better perspective on your injury and pain?

How Can Physical Therapy Improve Posture and Reduce Back Pain?

Our bodies are amazing structures.  We can move in thousands, probably more like millions, of different movement patterns.  So predicting what that “something” is we are doing to contribute to our back pain can be an extremely difficult task.

However, due to our modern conveniences and work demands, we usually perform only a fraction of the movements available to our bodies, and often the movements are performed repetitively.  As a result some muscle groups become shortened, tight, and over used; with others becoming under-stimulated, weak, and rather flaccid.  This presents as poor posture and often coexists with back pain.

Taking this information into account maybe we need to approach the causation question from a different direction.  Maybe it isn’t what we are doing that contributes to the back pain we experience but perhaps what we are not doing, which is the actual culprit.

For example, many jobs require us to sit at a desk pounding away at a keyboard or mouse.  Our bodies are in a constant state of hip flexion and rounded upper back.  Most people are frequently in this position during the day for 4+ hours and this does not include a similar position we adopt during our commutes to and from work.

Let’s ask the question from our new approach, what is not happening here?  One answer is hip and spine extension.  Two easy ways to increase hip and spine extension at work are: kneeling on a pad (or pillow) at your desk,

and/or, standing up and adding a backward stretch.


Adding a position change (kneeling) and a stretch throughout the day will reduce the strain our bodies experience with the common slumped seated posture many of us adapt at our work stations.

Another opportunity to increase hip and spine extension can occur when you arrive home after the sitting commute. A third option, lying on your stomach propped up on your elbows, or as we refer to it “Tummy Time”. 

All of which will get your body out of the common hip flexed and rounded upper back position, thus actually addressing the more probable culprit, what you are not doing throughout the day.  As a result posture will improve and back pain will lessen.

 By adding the opposite stimulus and reducing the regular and repetitive strain to our bodies, many musculoskeletal issues can be mitigated, including but not limited to back, neck, and shoulder pain.  Doesn’t reducing pain sound like a better option and a better existence?

In Summary

Changing how we think about managing posture, back pain, and the pains of our body can make an enormous difference in the long-term outcome or our injuries.  By introducing a simple concept of adding the opposite position, and/or activities, throughout our day we can promote a significant improvement in our overall quality of life.  Compcare physical therapy will be able to provide many ideas for you to add within your day and do just that, improve your quality of life.  Schedule an appointment at any one of our three MN locations (Rochester, Eagan, Cottage Grove) and begin your pain reduction journey to better quality of life.

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