Useful Tools

Welcome to the Useful Tools page!

I have tested each and every recommendation on this page. I know that they can help you with your posture!

Disclaimer: Please note that if you purchase a product from the Amazon links below, I will earn a small commission off the purchase (with no additional cost to you). This will help with the running costs of maintaining the website.


Categories

Most Recommended
Massage Tools
Posture Correction
Ergonomic Workstation
Exercise Equipment
Pain Relief


These are my favorite tools that I recommend to help improve posture.


 1. Adjustable Standing Desk (SHW)

If you work in front of the computer for the majority of the day, having a height adjustable standing desk is definitely a “must have”. Instead of being stuck in your chair for long periods at a time, the standing desk gives you the option to get out of the sitting position without having the need to stop working.

2. Theragun PRO Massage Tool

Do you like getting massages? I do! This tool is a powerful massage device that will help loosen up the tight muscles in your body. It is particularly useful in tackling those stubborn muscle knots that never seem to go away.

3. Kneeling Chair

Are you uncomfortable in your computer chair? You should check out this kind of chair. The kneeling chair involves the user sitting on a seat that is slightly angled forwards with the knees supported on a pad. This can help place the pelvis in a more neutral position.

4. Lacrosse Massage Ball

I literally use this massage ball every single day! It is a cheap and easy way to release the tight muscles in your body.

5. ASICS Gel Kayano 28 Shoes

ASICS shoes are not only the shoes that I choose to wear, it is also the shoe brand that I recommend to my patients. They have shoes that are specifically designed for your particular foot posture (…such as flat feet). So comfortable!

6. Body Back Buddy

This massage tool is great for releasing the areas of body that are hard to reach (…such as the area between the shoulder blades!).


Massage Tools

Feeling stiff? These are the tools that I recommend to release any tight structures in the body.


1. Foam Roller

This massage tool is effective at releasing large areas at a time. To loosen up a particular muscle, place the tight area directly on top of the foam roller and apply as much of your body weight onto the foam roller.

2. Massage Ball

Place your tight area directly on top of this massage ball and allow your body weight to do all of the work. This is a great way to loosen up your muscles yourself!

3. Pocket physio

If you are looking for something that is designed to release pin-point regions of a muscle, this is a great tool to help with that.

4. Roller Stick

This massage tool is great for releasing tight thigh muscles. All you have to do is roll it along your tight thighs.

5. Body Back Buddy

This massage tool is great for releasing the areas of body that are hard to reach (…such as the area between the shoulder blades!).

Posture Correction

The following tools can help improve your posture.

1. Upright GO

This posture device sticks to your back and monitors your posture throughout the day. Once you start to adopt a slouching position, it serves as a reminder to sit up right by producing a gentle vibration. The other neat thing is that it connects to a mobile app!

2. Yoga Wheel

By lying your back on top of the Yoga Wheel, this is an advanced way to address your bad posture.

3. Mobilization Wedge

A handy little tool that you lie on top of to help loosen up the joints in your spine. (… especially useful if you tend to have a hunchback posture!)


Ergonomic equipment:

So, what’s the best equipment to maintain good posture?


 1. Adjustable Standing Desk (SHW)

If you work in front of the computer for the majority of the day, having a height adjustable standing desk is definitely a “must have”. Instead of being stuck in your chair for long periods at a time, the standing desk gives you the option to get out of the sitting position without having the need to stop working.

2. Standing Desk

To minimize issues associated with prolonged sitting, you can place a portable standing desk on top of your existing table.

3. McKenzie® Lumbar Roll

If you find that your chair does not offer your lower back any support, using a lumbar roll can improve the position of your spine. This can make a significant difference to any back pain that you may have!

4. Seat Cushion

If you are experiencing tail bone and/or hip pain from sitting on hard surfaces, using a seat cushion can help reduce the amount pressure to these regions. It can be used with car or office chairs.

5. Wedge Pillow

If you tend to prefer being more up right in bed, this wedge pillow can certainly help. It can also be used to make reading and using your phone in bed more comfortable.

6. Pillow for legs

This pillow is good if you have difficulty sleeping on your back. Placing a pillow underneath your legs can make sleeping on your back more comfortable.

7. Orthotic Flip Flops

If you like to wear flip flops/sandals, I strongly recommend that you use the ones that have an arch support. (… The standard flip flops are terrible for supporting your feet!)


Exercise equipment:

Here are some simple equipment that can use with your posture exercises.


1. Exercise Stability Ball

A valuable addition to the resources page and a must have for everyone considering working on their core muscles.

You can even use it as an office chair if you wanted. (… just make sure you sit with good posture!)


2. Resistance bands

These elastic pieces of tubing are used to help strengthen your muscles.

There are used in a range of different exercises as mentioned throughout the blog.


3. Stretch band

Do you like to stretch?

Take your stretching game to a whole new level with the use of a stretch band.


4. TRX suspension

Want to challenge your core and stability?

Well… the TRX suspension band is the way to go.


5. Minimalistic Shoes (Vibram)

I love my minimalistic shoes! They force you to engage all of your foot muscles.


6. Finger strengthening bands

We use our hands and fingers every single day. That’s why it is important to make sure that they are strong!


Pain relief:

Pain sucks! If you are trying to relieve some of your pain, please consider using the following.


1. TENS Machine

Applying Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (or TENS) to the area of your pain will help disrupt the painful nerve signals going to your brain. Great for a bit of symptomatic relief!

2. Neck Traction Device

(Neck Hammock)

This device is used for loosening up stiff neck joints and relieving any nerve symptoms.

3. Anti-Inflammatory Gel

This cream is applied to areas of the body with increased inflammation.


Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section.

I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

59 thoughts on “Useful Tools”

  1. Hi Mark,

    So I’ve been trying to do posture exercises as much as possible, but Im finding it difficult to find the time to focus on every single posture issue I have. Im fairly certain I have the below issues:

    -Forward Head Posture
    -Forward Shoulders Posture
    -Hunchback Posture
    -Posterior Pelvic Tilt (from sitting too much I imagine)

    It takes me literally an hour just to go through your Forward Head posture routine, so how could I possibly spend upwards of 4 hours a day just going through all the Releases, Stretches, and Strengthening exercises for each posture issue? Is there not a way to target all of it, but it in a more condensed, reasonable timeframe?

    Thanks in advance!
    -Chris

    Reply
    • Hi Chris,

      Good question. As the hours of the day are limited, I would suggest that you prioritize the postural issues that you want to address.

      Out of the postural presentations mentioned, I would usually go after the Hunchback posture. The reason behind this is that improving the thoracic position will likely improve the forward head posture and rounded shoulders.

      I would not recommend addressing all of the areas at once as this is far too overwhelming. Focus on the thoracic spine for now. Get the most out of the exercises for this area. Once you feel you’ve done as much as you can, move onto the next area.

      Mark

      Reply
    • Hi Mark

      Thank you so much for this amazing website. Reading through your scoliosis exercises I have few questions. I have a S curve with the first curve in the thoracic spine on the right and the second one to compensate at the lumbar level on the left.

      Having double curves I have found it difficult to understand some exercises. For example: when you refer to thoracic Scoliosis -Bowing the spine – strengthening exercise -> by stretching into concavity – are you referring to concavity on my thoracic curve so the first one on the right? or the second curve on the left ? Because it is quite confusing. Same thing when you go through leg drop for lumbar scoliosis – are you referring to stretch the concavity on the second curve so the one on to the left?

      Also find a bit hard to understand which is my HIP Hike and HIP drop – looking myself into the mirror it looks like my hip hike is the one onto the left but I am not 100 sure. If the second curve has a concavity on the right it is correct that the hip hipe is the one on the left?

      Thanks

      Reply
      • Hi Lucia,

        For you – it sounds like you have 1) the concavity on the right side of the thoracic spine and a 2) concavity on the left side of the lumbar spine.

        You’ll need to stretch the right side of the upper back (thoracic spine) and the left side of the lower back (lumbar spine).

        If you have a concavity on the left side of the lumbar spine, it is more common to see a higher left hip. (not always though!) Check out this post: Lateral pelvic tilt.

        Mark

  2. Hey Mark! I’m a fellow PT. I’m very interested in what you are doing here and would love to discuss the products on this page. Please let me know if I can send you some questions. Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Hi Mark. Thanks for all the information!
    How does one know if one’s high arches are “structural” vs. due to tight or weak tendons/muscles? If structural, does that mean the exercises don’t help so much?

    Reply
    • Hi Ann,

      This is a good question but I don’t really have a full-proof answer for you. The way I advise people is to try out the exercises consistently for 3 months. If there is absolutely no change at all in the shape of the arch, then I would suspect it may be structural.

      If your foot arch is determined 100% by the structure of the foot, the exercises will not change the shape of your foot. Keep in mind- there are still many exercises you can do to strengthen the foot. The shape of your foot does not necessarily determine if you’ll have issues with your feet.

      Here are some exercise for high arches: Exercises for High Arches in Feet.

      Mark

      Reply
  4. Hi Mark

    I have just been diagnosed with flat back. I’m in so much pain at the moment. If you had to prioritize some purchases you think would help during the acute phase-what would they be.

    Thanks so so so so much for this site. I’ve literally been teasing everything I can get my hands on and this is 100% by far the best resource available.

    Thanks!
    Ciara

    Reply
    • Hi Ciara,

      Which part of your spine is flat? Feel free to check out this post for some exercises to help with flat back posture.

      In terms of your purchases, what are you trying to achieve with them? Eg. Symptomatic relief, releases/massage tools, every day life things.

      Mark

      Reply
  5. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the great information on your website. I noticed that the roller you use is a foam roller with no bumps on it. The Rumble foam roller link (above) takes me to a page that says that roller is no longer available. Can you recommend a different foam roller with no bumps on it?

    Thanks,
    Valerie

    Reply
    • Hi Valerie,

      Thanks for letting me know the link is broken.

      In terms of what foam roller – if you want the one with no bumps on it, you can get any foam roller. I bought mine for 5 dollars 5 years ago and it is still going strong!

      Just make sure that the firmness is relatively comfortable as you lay on top of it.

      Mark

      Reply
  6. Mark,
    I have brand new running shoes, New Balance Fresh Foam. They have a raised heel. I also use Good Feet orthotics to good effect after plantar facsiaitis. I am having pain just below the knee cap. I did not have this problem with Merrill shoes. Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • Hey Norman,

      I would caution the use of any shoe that has extra cushion as this will tend to exaggerate your foot positions.

      For example – if you tend to supinate naturally, the extra cushion in some shoes may actually cause you to supinate even more.

      This could lead to extra stress to the knee region, which by the sounds of it in your case, is the patella tendon.

      Mark

      Reply
  7. I have been looking for good rollers and equipment of that sort, however the ones I’ve found are expensive and wear out or break down rather quickly… what brands and items do u recommend?

    Reply
  8. Hi Mark,

    First off, WOW, thank you SO much for putting this site together. 2 sort of misc. questions:
    1. what’s the use case for the neck traction device? i have one and use it maybe once per day, and i find that my neck feels “a little better” after using it, but i’m curious about why it’s helpful and what types of people benefit from it. and in addition, i notice that i get a similarly good feeling in my lumbar region if i hang upside down from something (like a horizontal tree branch or something haha). i definitely have an anterior pelvic tilt and experience a lot of pain in that area. does that sort of lumbar traction seem useful to you?

    2. any thoughts on sitting cross-legged? i get really restless throughout the day and have difficulty maintaining a single position. if i can switch between the good sitting posture you outline on this blog, and sitting in lotus position or something, that would be awesome. but i’m not sure if various states of cross-legged sitting are suboptimal.

    thank you again so so much :)

    Reply
    • Hello Ezra,

      1. Traction helps decompress joints. Another way to think about it is that it creates more space between the joints so that they are not squashing each other. Traction can pretty much be applied to any joint (just like in your lumbar spine where you are hanging up side down).

      However – keep in mind that traction by itself is not enough. It is good for symptomatic relief, but is best used with some sort of exercise program.

      I think you might find this blog post helpful: Spinal Decompression at Home.

      2. Sitting crossed leg is fine, but I would suggest that you have an adequate amount of hip flexion and external rotation to have the ability to maintain lumbar neutral.

      Keep in mind – moving in and out of different sitting posture is the way to go! (Sitting 8 hours in “perfect posture” WITHOUT moving also has its negative affects on the body)

      Mark

      Reply
  9. Hi Mark,
    I want to buy the neck traction device and the resistance band. I clicked on the links that you provided and read through the comments and about the product on amazon. It says that it is only safe to use for 90 days and shouldn’t be used more than 90 days. What do you think? Did you use it for more than 90 days?

    Reply
    • Hey Daniel,

      Generally speaking – I feel that you could use it more than 90 days.

      However- if you are addressing the main issue, you probably won’t need to do it for that long.

      Mark

      Reply
  10. Hi Mark this is a great article!

    I notice that you are using a mobility wod supernova massage ball in some of the images and I was wondering if they are as good as advertised? I use a locrosse ball and I get decent results but I would be willing to fork out the cash for a supernova if they do provide more fascial traction and a deeper release. What is your opinion?

    Thanks
    Harry

    Reply
    • Hey Harry,

      I’ll be very honest. I still prefer to use a simple lacrosse ball over the supernova for the bulk of my releases. (plus it’s a fraction of the cost)

      My recommendation: You’l be perfectly fine with the lacrosse ball. Even better – get different lacrosse balls with different firmness.

      Hope this helps.

      Mark

      Reply
    • Hey Emily,

      I’ll be honest – I don’t know too much about bras but I would recommend something that provides an upward lift.

      You basically don’t want the weight of the breasts to pull your posture forwards/downwards.

      Hope this helps!

      If you ever find a specific type of bra that provides adequate support, please let me know.

      Mark

      Reply
    • Hey Kate,

      Yes – I can do that.

      In summary though, the 3 main areas of compression are:

      1. Between the scalenes
      2. Between 1st rib and clavicle
      3. Underneath pec minor tendon.

      If you can decompress these areas, you might be able to resolve your TOS. (But – I’ll see what I can do about writing a full blog post up !)

      Mark

      Reply
  11. Any chance you could write something about pes cavus? I have relentlessly tight calves with high arches (moderately high),

    Reply
  12. Hi Mark,

    I have a narrow diameter smooth foam roller, and one with longer textured grooves, but nothing with an aggressive texture like the one featured in your post. Would you recommend that I get myself a rumble roller even though I already have these two less textured rollers, or am I set with them plus a lacrosse ball for deeper release?

    Many Thanks!

    Reply
  13. Hi Mark,

    I really appreciate all these great free guides that you’ve published! I have most of the problems on your “common problems” page including forward neck, rounded shoulders, anterior pelvic tilt, hyperlordosis, and flat feet.

    I want to begin practicing all the exercises that you recommend for each but unfortunately I’m very short of time. Do any of the exercises overlap, and would I be able to shorten the sessions that I’m planning to do daily?

    Best wishes, Daniel

    Reply
    • Hey Daniel,

      For sure there will be some over lap.

      But I would recommend you to do all of them to begin with just to see which exact exercises are the most beneficial for you.

      From here – you can start focus on a certain few.

      Mark

      Reply
  14. Mark,

    Can you give any advice to those with veikvubgry tight muscles? I have spastic muscles due to cerebral palsy and even some of the basic stretches are difficult. Especially those involving muscles below the hips.

    Reply
  15. Hi, Mark. I am new to your site having been referred by my massage therapist. Do you have any suggestions for the following problems: bow-legged with the right leg having an external rotation, right knee abduction and right foot supinating. My left leg is mostly straight. Thank you.

    Reply
  16. Hi Mark!

    I am a personal trainer at the moment and I am working on getting registered as a Kinesiologist as I graduated a year ago now so this is a valuable resource.

    I am a huge fan of your site and I really like the fact that everything you post has a great explanation behind it, its far more informative than some other blogs/sites that I read which just tell you what to do and not explain the reasoning.

    Keep up the great work! Very Refreshing.

    Cheers,

    Ben

    Reply
  17. Hey mark do you have a program I can buy? I have forward head pasture and rounded shoulder that I think could lead to kyphosis so I want go tackle the issue now!! Thanks

    Reply
  18. Hi Mark – thanks for your excellent site. I am having a lot of low back muscle tightness due to flat back syndrome. (loss of lumbar curve). From your site, I read that strengthening erector spinae with bird-dog etc is recommended. But for me, these are the muscles that a constantly super tight and hurting. I assume they are chronically overstretched due to flat back, posterior pelvis tilt etc. When I try to strengthen them they just get even more tight.

    What would be your specific recommendation for this type of situation? Especially treatment that for paraspinals that I can use prior to starting a paraspinal strengthening program.

    Reply
    • Hey David,

      Instead of targeting the erectors first, you might get more benefit from stretching the muscles pulling you into a flat back. (eg. abdominals, hamstrings, glutes)

      From here – perhaps learning to control your pelvis would be the next step. You can try pelvic tilts in 4 point kneel.

      For more exercises, Check out this link: How to fix Flat back posture.

      Mark

      Reply
  19. Hi Mark,
    I have two issues –
    1. Neck – I can turn my head left or right, but at the ~90degrees, my neck muscle((over the shoulder/next to the ear) seems to feel constrained. No shooting pain, but just restriction and slight tolerable pain. Worse in the morning, improves over the day but never goes away.

    2. Muscles on the right rear (posterior?) feel pain when I lift my right arm. As I go through the motion of lifting my arm up (shoulder touching the ear motion) I also feel (muscular?) pain close to my deltoids and biceps. Again more of a restrictive type of pain+strain. I used the lacrosse type of ball to myofascial (sp?) treatment under and right of my right shoulder blade where I feel this muscular sensitivity. My motion becomes a bit better, and pain reduces, but then it comes back the next day or after the effect seems to diminish.
    Can you please suggest a sure way of fixing these two (separate?) issues?

    Reply
    • Hi Hitten,

      1. Is the pain on the same side that you rotate your head to? or is it on the other side?

      2. Can you locate the exact pain area on an image so that I can see where you are having your issues.

      Mark

      Reply
    • Hey James,

      Great for the short term. It helps serve as a reminder to maintain your posture.

      Not so great in the long term. You don’t want your muscles relying on it!

      Mark

      Reply
  20. Hi mark i do have high right hip and lower /dropped left hip. this may be the caused of one sided sleep positioning. and maybe because of aging too. I only noticed this imbalance when one time i ride in a public utility vehicle when i was about to alight i suddenly felt the pain in my lower back and from them on when i check on the mirror i noticed this. And the pain is unbearable. My question is will this pain goes away once i successfully follow by heart the exercise therapy. What would you recommend for pain relief. thanks

    Reply
  21. Hi There Mark,
    Do you do on-line consultations? I’d love to buy an hour of your time for my 21 year-old son who seems to have a painful scapular winging issue. Please just let me know – thanks! -Paul Buchanan

    Reply
  22. re massage : some years ago I was in physical therapy. I was given a massager Acuvibe 6002A . It allows you to focus on the trigger points and its long wand allows you to reach all areas in your back. I highly recommend it!
    I have a pain in my shoulder blade and your exercises are helping me greatly. Thank you!!!

    Reply
    • Hey Alicia,

      Great to hear your shoulder blade pain is getting better with the exercises.

      And thanks for the recommendation of the massage device. I will check it out for sure!

      Mark

      Reply

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