Why Practicing Good Posture Is Not Enough To Avoid Back Pain

Avoid Back Pain

In the age of technology, when many of us spend the majority of our days seated at a computer, daily postural habits are increasingly cited as the root cause of back pain. Poor posture can throw your spine out of alignment and place pressure on nerves, inducing pain. However, sitting up straighter while you work is not enough to offset posture-induced back pain.

The Underlying Causes of Posture-Induced Pain

Have you ever stopped to consider what holds your body in an upright position? It is not your bones, although they do provide a rigid framework, much like the frame of a tent. Rather, it is your muscles pulling against your bones, much like the support lines of a tent, that hold the framework in place. If one or more of the support lines provides too much or too little tension, the frame becomes lopsided, and the tent may even collapse altogether.

When you sit for long hours, day after day, with suboptimal posture, some muscles become tight while others become stretched, making them lax. Over time, you create ongoing imbalances that throw your entire skeletal framework out of alignment, placing pressure on neural bodies and producing pain.

Common posture-related imbalances include:

  • Tight chest muscles and lax upper back muscles from hunching forward
  • Tight hip flexors and lax hip extensors from excessive sitting
  • Tight low back muscles and lax abdominal muscles from sitting upright
  • Reduced range of motion in the neck, trunk and shoulders from lack of movement
  • Imbalances in the quadriceps and hamstrings from sitting, driving and inactivity
  • Poor neck and head alignment from computer and device use
  • Imbalances at the ankle, knee, hip and pelvis from wearing high heels.

Strategies to Reduce Pain

It may seem logical to think that since poor posture created your back pain, improved posture can fix it. However, it is not that simple. Improved daily posture may help ease your back pain and keep it from getting worse, but it is not enough to eliminate it.

In addition to sitting up straighter, there are a number of positive changes you can make to your daily routine to help ease posture-induced back pain:

  • Reduce your total daily sitting time. Adjust your work station if possible so you can alternate between sitting and standing.
  • Take frequent activity breaks to stretch tight muscles and loosen up your joints.
  • Have an ergonomics expert reposition your desk, computer and chair for improved posture.
  • Avoid looking down at your phone or device for extended time periods.

The Ultimate Solution for Eliminating Posture-Induced Back Pain

Fortunately, muscle tightness and weakness can be corrected in ways that take pressure off joints and nerves, and enable your body to move with more fluidity. A balanced exercise program that includes walking or running, muscle strengthening and stretching can help restore optimal muscle tension that promotes good posture and eliminates pain.

A posture-friendly exercise program includes:

  • Daily walking with good gait mechanics, for a minimum of 30 minutes, which can be broken up into shorter segments.
  • Resistance training that addresses all your joints and muscle groups, two to three times per week.
  • Daily total-body stretching to relieve muscle tension and improve joint range of motion.
  • Core strengthening exercises two to three times per week to promote pelvic stability.

Your physical therapist can create an individualized weekly exercise routine that promotes healthy posture and relieves muscle tightness and imbalances.

Postural Correction Training at NYDNR

The physical therapy team at NYDNR understands the important role of posture in alleviating back pain. From gait analysis and retraining, to chiropractic care, to exercise programming, we have a drug-free, non-invasive solution for your posture-induced back pain. Contact us today to see why NYDNR is the best rehab clinic in NYC.


In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)


Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)


Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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