How to Use an Exercise Ball to Improve Posture and Treat Shoulder, Neck, and Back Pain

In this video, I demonstrate how to perform I’s, T’s, and Y’s exercises on an exercise ball in order to address lower and mid trapezius and scapula muscle weakness.  Poor posture (due to poor thoracic mobility) and poor scapular muscle strength are often major contributors to neck, shoulder, and upper back pain.

I’s, T’s, and Y’s exercises on an exercise ball can be helpful in treating the following:

  • Poor posture
  • Shoulder pain
  • Cervical pain
  • Headaches
  • Thoracic pain
  • Upper and lower back pain

Begin by performing these I’s, T’s, and Y’s exercises on a Thera-Band Exercise Ball.  Start slowly without resistance.  Keep your chin tucked and head aligned with the body.  Move your arms slowly up and down in each position of I, T, and Y.

For an advanced version, add a 1-2 pound weight in each hand.  To make it even more challenging, hold for time.  These exercises shouldn’t cause any pain in your neck, shoulder, or upper/lower back.

When this exercise is performed correctly, it engages and strengthens many critical muscles that help control many of our most common postures and movement patterns.  A slouched posture with a forward head and rounded shoulders can be associated with many common pain syndromes including: headaches; cervical pain, upper back pain; and shoulder pain.

It’s important to try to keep the proper postural alignment with your shoulders under your ears, and the shoulder blades set in a back and down position.  This is particularly important when performing any activity while using the shoulder.  This series of exercises can help to strengthen the important muscles that can help you maintain proper postural alignment.

In addition to muscle weakness leading to common aches and pains, poor mobility in the thoracic spine is also a common contributing factor in the pain syndromes mentioned above.  If you want to learn how to stretch and self-mobilize the thoracic spine, be sure to check out My Top 8 Stretches to Eliminate Neck, Upper Back, and Shoulder Pain.  By subscribing to my e-mail list, you will automatically gain access to this FREE resource.  Download the .pdf file, which is full of photos and exercise instructions, to get started!

If you continue to experience pain, seek additional help.  Don’t let the pain linger.  The longer a condition is left untreated, the more potential for harm and damage which potentially could lead to a longer recovery.  The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is an excellent resource for learning more about physical therapy as well as locating a physical therapist in your area.

Do you have a favorite “go to exercise” that you use to treat neck, shoulder, and upper back pain?  Please leave your comments below.

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4 thoughts on “How to Use an Exercise Ball to Improve Posture and Treat Shoulder, Neck, and Back Pain

  1. Thank you for this, it seems like a great and fun exercise that I want to try out for my posture. I sometimes get neck back pain from all the hours sitting at my desk job, so I’ll definitely do this in my time off.