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To understand what a posture pole is and why we prescribe to it most of our patients, you have to understand what poor posture is and what it’s doing to your body long term.
Bad posture is something I see every day in practice – yes, EVERY DAY! But why is posture so important? it’s not because it simply looks bad, it’s because it sets off a cascade of events in the body which can lead to pain, and poor overall health.
When your head drops forward and your shoulders round forward, this sends an immediate signal to the brain to activate the Sympathetic nervous system (aka fight or flight response). This response should only be activated when there is an immediate threat to your survival, which requires immediate action (i.e. to fight or to run away).
Without realising it, you could be stuck in this posture all day long. Can you start to see how this is a big problem and why poor posture can be so detrimental to your health?
This is why we prescribe posture poles and other types of exercises to help improve poor posture.
A posture pole is a long foam roller that’s been cut in half resembling a half-moon shape. It is placed along the length of your spine, all the way up to the back of your head. Basically all you have to do is lay on it – it’s as simple as that!
The correct way to lay on a posture pole is by having your arms stretched out with your palms facing up, having your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. The posture pole must go length ways down your spine and must support your head and tail bone – this is very important!
Generally, we ask our patients to start by laying on a posture pole two times per day for 5 minutes at a time. Once they can lay on the posture pole for 5 minutes without pain or any feelings of discomfort, they can then progress by increasing the time they lay on the posture pole. The ideal amount of time to work up to is 15 minutes.
This helps rehab your posture by opening up the chest and back area, as well as realigning your head back to a neutral position, allowing the sympathetic nervous system response to dial down.
The point of the posture pole is to not only correct posture, but also to de-stress. While you are laying on the posture pole, it’s important to try and switch off – use of phones and other devices are not advised during this exercise.
Try using this time to focus on meditation and/or deep breathing for more benefits.
15 minutes of laying down with no interruptions might be easy for some people, but for people with busy minds it can be quite difficult.
If you’re finding it hard to switch off, try putting on some calming music in the background. Alternatively, you can break up the exercises into smaller time frames – i.e. 7-10 minutes in the morning and 7-10 minutes at night. Anything is better than nothing.
Once you start doing this every day, 15 minutes won’t seem as daunting and unachievable. You may even start looking forward to your daily 15 minutes of posture resetting relaxation.
Blog post written by Dr. Romina Troiani (Chiropractor)