Proper posture -- keeping your body parts in alignment, balanced and supported -- helps prevent back pain and allows proper functioning of your muscles, joints, lungs and other organs, says chiropractor John Schubbe. A foam roller, a long, circular device made of dense material, can help improve posture by stretching tight muscles in the chest and shoulders and strengthening abdominal or core muscles.
Spread a mat or towel on the floor and position the foam roller lengthwise on top of it.
Sit on the lower edge of the foam roller with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
Lie back slowly, supporting your spine and head on the foam roller. Keep your knees bent.
Relax your shoulder blades and rest your arms on the floor on either side of your body.
Take a deep breath, expanding your diaphragm.
Exhale, flattening your abdomen and pressing your back against the foam roller.
Breathe in and out, stretching your chest muscles as you inhale, for one to three minutes once or twice a day.
Straighten your arms toward the ceiling, palms facing and fingers reaching upward.
Relax your shoulder blades, squeezing the roller between them.
Reach upward again, then relax, repeating each motion slowly five to 10 times.
Place your left arm on the floor next to your body and raise your right hand over your head.
Raise your left arm over your head as you lower your right arm to your side.
Alternate raising and lowering your arms slowly 10 to 15 times in succession.
Place both arms at your side, feet flat on the floor and knees bent.
Raise one leg slowly off the ground, then lower it.
Raise the other leg off the ground and lower it.
Alternate lifting and lowering one leg at a time, 10 times in succession. Repeat for two to three sets of 10.
- “Foam Roller Workbook: Illustrated Step-by-Step Guide to Stretching, Strengthening and Rehabilitative Techniques”; Karl Knopf, M.D.; 2011
- "Advances in Functional Training: Training Techniques for Coaches, Personal Trainers and Athletes"; Michael Boyle; 2010
- Spine-Health; Good Posture Helps Reduce Back Pain; John Schubbe; May 17, 2004