Treat your own back by improving your posture

Poor posture has been cited the number one cause of low back pain. How we sit,  stand and move about our day – it’s all relevant and you may already know my favourite mantra is “posture is the foundation we bring to everything we do!”  When I was working with military recruits I would have them repeat this at the beginning of each Warrior Workout session.


Earlier this week I enjoyed a few hours walking around the New Forest Show and as always happens when people find out I’m a physio, they regale me with details of their back pain, neck pain etc. Call it an occupational hazard (should I pretend to be an astrophysicist?!) On this occasion we recorded Brad telling his story; see how he actually identifies the cause of his problems. All he needed was encouragement to know that he was thinking along the right lines and then gain a basic understanding of what was happening in his body and what he could do about it.

Both Sphinx pose (Salamba Bhujangasana) and Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) can work very well to treat postural low back pain by introducing movement in the opposite direction. We discussed these in principle and Brad felt much better the next day having had a swim in the sea – breast stroke similarly restoring the natural hollow in his low back.

So what is the benefit of using the Buttafly in these situations?

If you spend a lot of time sitting without the “normal” curves of the spine in place, this will feel “normal” to you and so you will take this same posture through to your daily activities. As Brad experienced, moving in the opposite direction can be very effective in resolving or at least reducing pain but the key to avoiding recurrent episodes and a chronic problem is to restore good posture with the natural spinal curves in place in place.

This is where the Buttafly can prove very useful. Lying in supine with a Standard Buttafly placed low down under the bottom facilitates an unwinding of spine, releasing habitual postures and re-establishing neutral. Many people say they feel more aligned afterwards, admitting that they didn’t know they felt “out of line” beforehand.  Many also say they feel longer, taller and altogether more comfortable without knowing exactly why. Most find they come into a better standing posture without even trying.

There could be an argument for introducing this re-alignment before doing the lumbar extension exercises discussed above. It’s a working hypothesis and I would be very interested to hear your experiences.

Yours in Yoga