Easy & Effective: Brugger’s Postural Relief Exercise

When looking at the body, each muscle group has a primary role it plays in maintaining proper function and movement. Although there is some overlap, generally these muscles can be categorized into 2 groups – postural and dynamic.

The postural group is involved in exactly what the name implies, helping to maintain good posture throughout the day. They are also known as tonic muscles. The upper traps, levator, neck extensors, pecs, and biceps are all part of this group.

Because they help with posture, they are always active and “on” to a certain extent. If they weren’t, we’d basically be like Jell-O unable to sit up straight or stand for any extended period of time. However, since they are always active, they tend to become tight and over-active with time.

The dynamic group on the other hand, is more involved with power, speed, and explosive movements. They tend to “fire” on demand or when we need them. This would be things like weightlifting, sport, or activity. They are also known as phasic muscles.

Muscles in this group would include the middle and lower traps (yes, there’s 3 parts!), rhomboids, serratus anterior, and triceps. Since their activity is based on demand, they tend to become “lazy” and inhibited. 

This laziness becomes apparent when a person starts to experience achy, sharp, or even burning pain between the shoulder blades with prolonnged sitting, slouching, or bending forward.

I use the term “lazy” because these muscles aren’t necessarily weak, they just need a little assistance to get them to “fire” every once in a while. Brugger’s Postural Relief exercise is a simple, easy way to do this, can be performed any time throughout the day, and will help reduce that stubborn mid back/shoulder blade pain.



Dr. Ryan Donahue was born and raised in Sioux City, IA. He attended the University of Iowa where he received a bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Physiology before graduating Magna Cum Laude from Northwestern Health Sciences University as a Doctor of Chiropractic. Dr. Donahue is a Certified Provider of Active Release Technique, RockTape kinesiology tape, and SMART Tools (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization). He has also had extensive post graduate training in various treatment and rehabilitation approaches that include McKenzie Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy and Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS).

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