How To Improve Your Posture To Reduce Pain While Performing Physical Therapy Exercises For Your Back
When you're going through a physical therapy program for back pain, chances are good that you are going to be experiencing pain for the first few weeks as you perform the exercises, realign your back, and strengthen your back. This can make it difficult for you to do your physical therapy exercises on your own and can cause issues with motivation. It's hard to go to an activity where you know that you are going to be in pain. In order to keep your motivation high and to make completing physical therapy easier, here are some tips to follow outside of the physical therapist's office that will reduce your pain while doing the exercises.
1. Maintain Good Posture
If you already have back pain, slouching is going to increase the pressure that you put on your back. Good posture, especially when you are sitting, is going to be crucial to reducing that stress and therefore reducing any pain that you might feel while you are doing your exercises. Your physical therapist will be able to correct your posture while you are doing the exercises in his or her office, but good posture outside of the office is up to you.
Here are some checks that you can follow in order to make sure that you are maintaining good posture. First, look towards your ear by using your peripheral vision. If it feels like your ear is right in line with your shoulders, then you are going to need to move your shoulders back because they are too far forward. Once you move your shoulders back, check your peripherals again. If you can still see your shoulder easily, then your back is rounded. Straighten up so that you can barely see your shoulder blade. Following these two checks will allow you to make sure that you maintain good posture throughout the day.
There are a number of apps and devices that will beep if they sense that you are slouching. Bringing a mirror into the office will also allow you to visually check your posture.
2. Don't Read in Bed
Try to avoid reading in bed if possible. Even if you are propped up on pillows, your head is going to be forced forwards to read the book or papers unless you hold them directly in front of your face. Forcing your neck down is going to make your back pain worse.
3. Tilt Your Rear View Mirror Up Slightly
Finally, while you are driving, sit up perfectly straight and perform the posture checks mentioned above. Then, tilt the rear view mirror up slightly so that it is only fully visible if you are sitting upright. This will force you to maintain good posture while you are driving.
For more information, talk to a physical therapist, like those at Bonita Community Health Center. He or she might be able to recommend an over-the-counter painkiller to take just before physical therapy in order to further help with your pain during the session.