Wall Posture Stretch

Dose

Perform 15 repetitions per day, or when symptoms come on.

Purpose

Tension along the spine can contribute to symptoms in the mid-back and neck. This exercise may be useful for relieving tension, and it will also allow you to improve control of each part of the spine.

Method

Stand with your back to a wall with feet hip-width apart and a half-step from the wall. Squeeze the shoulder blades back and down and straighten the upper back to place the shoulder blades as flat as you can against the wall. You can bend the knees and lean into the wall as much as you need to to make sure the upper back is flattened.

Next, keeping the upper back as flat as you can against the wall, push your butt back so that it is also in contact with the wall. At this stage, the upper back will be flat, and the lower back will be arched away from the wall. Now, try to tuck the tailbone between your legs so the lower back flattens against the wall while you keep the upper back as flat as possible. The Standing Pelvic Tilt exercise may be helpful if you’re unfamiliar with tucking the tailbone under.

At this stage, the region from your tailbone to your shoulder blades should be as flat as possible against the wall. Now, tilt the head back so that the back of the head touches the wall. Keeping the rest of the spine flat on the wall, draw a line up and down the wall with the back of the head by bringing the chin down and in. You should feel a stretch in the neck and back as you tuck the chin. The movement may be small at first but will increase with repetition.

Common Mistakes

• Not keeping the back of the head in contact with the wall. Just bringing the chin down to the chest will not stretch the upper neck region as effectively as drawing a vertical line on the wall with the back of the head.

• Not keeping the shoulder blades tight enough. If the upper back is not kept tight on the wall, this laxity can prevent the neck from stretching when the head is moved. You may need to reposition the shoulder blades during the exercise by pulling them in behind you one at a time and using your weight to pin them against the wall.

Progression Threshold

You should be able to retract the head far enough to align the ear with the shoulder when viewed from the side before progressing.