The Slouch-Overcorrect Exercise for Posture

1
The Slouch-Overcorrect Procedure

Poor sitting posture may cause spinal pain.
Slouched sitting posture may put excessive strain on your spine and cause low back pain. Brett Sears, PT, 2011

If you have low back pain or neck pain, then you understand how debilitating this can be. The symptoms coming from your back may make it difficult to sit, stand, bend, walk, and perform basic day-to-day tasks.

A visit to your physical therapist is a good first step in caring for your back or neck pain. He or she can assess your situation and can offer specific exercises and strategies to help decrease your pain and improve your mobility.

Your physical therapist will likely prescribe back exercises to help improve your overall range of motion and strength in your back. This can help you get moving better, and exercises performed regularly may help you prevent future episodes of back and neck pain.

Postural correction is also an important component to any physical therapy program for low back or neck pain. Attaining and maintain proper posture can help keep pressure off of spinal joints and discs and can help relieve pain that is coming from your back.

A simple exercise to perform to help train your body to recognize proper posture is called the slouch-overcorrect procedure. It can help you understand what it feels like to have your spine in the optimum position to maintain proper posture. This can help decrease back pain, and proper posture may be one way to help keep the pain from coming back.

To start the slouch-overcorrect exercise, sit in a chair with your back unsupported. Then, slowly allow your back to slouch down into a forward flexed posture. Your movement into this position should be slow and purposeful.

After you slouch down, hold this position for 1-2 seconds, then move on to the overcorrect portion of the procedure.

2
The Overcorrect Position of the Slouch-Overcorrect Procedure

Proper sitting posture for the spine.
Overcorrect your posture, hold for 2 seconds, then release 10-15% of the strain to attain proper sitting posture. Brett Sears, PT, 2011

After you spend 1 or 2 seconds in the slouched position, it is time to perform the overcorrect position of the exercise. To do this, try to sit up with upright posture as straight as you can.

When you sit upright, a forward curve in your spine, called a lordosis, should be accentuated. Your posture should be so upright that you feel unnatural, and you should feel slight strain on your low back, neck, or shoulders.

Once you are in the full upright and overcorrected posture, hold the position for 1-2 seconds, and then slowly release your posture about 10 to 15%. You should feel the stress and strain that was in your neck, shoulders, or low back go away. The forward curve in your low back should still be present, just not fully accentuated.

You should now be sitting in proper posture for your back. This position may feel unnatural at first, but as you progress with the slouch-overcorrect procedure, it will start to feel more and more natural. Once you have attained proper sitting posture, the use of a lumbar roll or small pillow behind your low back for support can help keep your spine in optimum position.

You can repeat the slouch-overcorrect procedure for 10 repetitions, and it can be performed several times each day to practice attaining and maintaining proper sitting posture.

Exercises and proper sitting posture are proven methods to help decrease low back and neck pain. By performing the slouch-overcorrect procedure, you can teach your spine to be in optimum posture to help decrease and eliminate pain and keep the pain away.

Source: McKenzie, R., & May, S. (2003). The lumbar spine mechanical diagnosis and therapy. (2nd ed.) Waikanae: Spinal Publications New Zealand.

Continue Reading