SUSYPHOTO3Susy Russell is a physical therapist with over 20 years of clinical experience and a Masters in Science from Duke University.  She is also a Postural Alignment Specialist certified with Egoscue University.   After working at the University of Virginia and in various outpatient clinics in Charlottesville,  Susy developed extensive manual therapy skills working with the spine and  orthopedic injuries.  As the co-founder  and previous co-owner of Pain Free Performance in 2006, she began focusing on overall body alignment and posture utilizing the Egoscue technique.

You may have tried a traditional physical therapy approach which focused on the area of pain.  If you were unable to fully abolish your  symptoms or found only temporary relief of the pain only for it to return in the same location or a new location, then most often,  the missing link is the ALIGNMENT.

Most musculo-skeletal  pain is related to imbalance in the body or when the body is out of alignment.  Some muscles are overworking and others are not doing their job.   This creates stress on the joints  and over time, leads to pain.  Stretching and strengthening does not permanently alter posture.  You can temporarily force yourself into good posture but it is  impossible to sustain this.  To correct  alignment, the body needs gentle repatterning with specific positions and movements. This will reset the body and create a permanent change .  When  you guide the body to optimal alignment,  function will be restored and most often pain abolished.

Perform a self test:  stand with your heels against the wall and feet about hip width apart.  Notice if the back of your head rests on the wall or if you have to tip your chin up to touch the back of your head on the wall.

For every inch that the head sits away from the wall (or the ear is  in front of the shoulder) the weight of the head increases 10 pounds.  In other words, if the back of your head is 3 inches from the wall,  instead of the muscles in the neck having to hold your head that weighs 10 pounds, the muscles have to work 3 times as hard and it is as if they are holding up a 30 pound weight.  This is just one example of how poor alignment creates stress on the body.

In her practice,  Susy provides one on one treatment  in a quiet environment. The initial visit will include a full  postural  analysis.   Photos are taken in order to educate you as to where the imbalances are occuring in your body and this will be correlated with gait analysis and functional movement testing.   Once you have an understanding of the source of your  symptoms, a sequence of exercises will be developed specific to your needs.  These exercises or positions allow the body to re-set or re-pattern so that a permanent change will take place in your overall alignment.  My goal is to give you tools to empower YOU to make the changes. When the body regains balance and alignment is improved, movements are more efficient, the joints will have less friction and pain is diminished.

In many situations, the body has developed significant joint or muscular tightness that will benefit from manual therapy techniques.  Exercise and repatterning of the body is a critical part of healing; however,  when the manual  physical therapy techniques are added to the treatment,  this speeds the process and  optimizes the potential for mobility and recover of function.

Your body has incredible abilities to heal itself… it simply needs proper guidance.  I look forward to assisting  you on your journey to a HEALTHY BODY !

Contact Susy:   434-249-9578  or email:

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Posture Exercises….


POSTURE EXERCISES.…what really works?

To correct your posture, most people try to consciously force their body upright.  I have never seen this work.  The second you get distracted, the body returns to its original posture.  The position below will change posture permanently!

Try this effective position known as Static Back or the 90/90 Rest position:

Static Back

Find a comfortable spot on a carpeted floor. Place both legs up on a chair, ottoman or couch.     Relax your arms out to the side at a comfortable distance from the body and roll the palms up.

In this position breathe into your abdomen allowing the belly to rise when you inhale .  Breathe out slowly  and feel your lower back relax  into the ground.  If your head is tipping back, place a hand towel under the back of your head in order to give it support and a neutral position.

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Exercises for Posture

Exercises for Posture are often focused on stretching the chest muscles and strengthening the back muscles.  While this might help,  the only way to permanently change alignment is to perform exercises for posture that address the entire body.

Try my exercises for posture and experience for yourself the changes that you can make.


Elbow Opener

Elbow Closer










  • Sit on the edge of your chair
  • Place feet firmly on the floor pointed straight ahead with the legs hip width apart
  • Place your knuckles at your temples
  • Open the elbows out as far as you can and breathe in
  • Close the elbows together and breath out
  • Repeat this 10-20 x

Tell me if you feel taller after you do this exercise.   Share your results below by leaving a comment.

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Common Stretch for the hip…. Will it help my posture??


The video below is an exercise that is often considered important for stretching the hip musculature.    While the stretch does often help relieve tightness temporarily, the long lasting effects are not felt because the overall postural misalignment in the body will cause the muscle that was just stretched to tighten up again.

It is critical to look at the overall alignment and function of the body first!

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What is correct posture?   Correct posture is when the body is in balance and there is symmetry from one side to the other!  Correct posture is when the ankle, knee, hip, shoulder and ear are all in line!

The video below reports how important it is to relax the shoulders in order to achieve correct posture.  I agree with this point but disagree with the demand of tightening your abdominals and buttocks muscles. When the body is symmetrical and balanced, the abdominals and gluteals or buttocks will do their job without forcing them to work!

Watch this video and stay tuned for future exercises and videos on my blog which will help you CORRECT YOUR POSTURE without holding your muscles tight all day long…..

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CORRECT POSTURE…. for your work station…


Take advantage of my $1 POSTURE GUIDE in the offer link above

Ask yourself these questions…

How many hours to you sit each day in front of your computer?

How often do you get up to move around?

Here are a few tips from OSHA

According to OSHA or Occupational Safety and Health Administration:


Sitting Posture To understand the best way to set up a computer workstation, it is helpful to understand the concept of neutral body positioning. This is a comfortable working posture in which your joints are naturally aligned. Working with the body in a neutral position reduces stress and strain on the muscles, tendons, and skeletal system and reduces your risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD). The following are important considerations when attempting to maintain neutral body postures while working at the computer workstation:

  • Hands, wrists, and forearms are straight, in-line and roughly parallel to the floor.
  • Head is level, or bent slightly forward, forward facing, and balanced. Generally it is in-line with the torso.
  • Shoulders are relaxed and upper arms hang normally at the side of the body.
  • Elbows stay in close to the body and are bent between 90 and 120 degrees.
  • Feet are fully supported by the floor or a footrest may be used if the desk height is not adjustable.
  • Back is fully supported with appropriate lumbar support when sitting vertical or leaning back slightly.
  • Thighs and hips are supported by a well-padded seat and generally parallel to the floor.
  • Knees are about the same height as the hips with the feet slightly forward.

Regardless of how good your working posture is, working in the same posture or sitting still for prolonged periods is not healthy. You should change your working position frequently throughout the day in the following ways:

  • Make small adjustments to your chair or backrest.
  • Stretch your fingers, hands, arms, and torso.
  • Stand up and walk around for a few minutes periodically.

Please add comments and questions.  I am here for you as a resource on IMPROVING POSTURE!!!

Also take advantage of my offer in the links above.

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Posture exercises

As a Physical Therapist for over 20 years with a Specialization as a Postural Alignment Therapist,  I have evaluated many exercises for improving posture.  This video demonstrates a few exercises that can be helpful when working to improve posture, however,   many people do not have the mobility in their back to tolerate these exercises and will actually experience back low back pain if they push through these without proper preparation.

Follow my future blogs and videos for further guidance…..

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2 Quick Tips: How To Fix Bad Posture and Get Rid of Back Pain

Over the years of treating back pain, I have come to believe that you must  FIRST fix bad posture,  THEN you will  get rid of back pain.

When the body is out of alignment or you have bad posture,  this places stress on the joints throughout the body.  The increased stress very  often results in pain.  From the youth who slouch to the adults who stoop, poor posture is an epidemic.   Statistics show that over 80% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives.

Most people look for the magic cure to fix bad posture or get rid of back pain….

Here are 2 quick tips that will begin the process to  fix bad posture and get rid of back pain…. they require consistent effort.

1.                     Start with getting OUT OF YOUR CHAIR!    Every hour you need to MOVE!! how to get rid of back pain and fix bad posture




2.  Add at least one Re-alignment/ Posture exercise into your day.  how to fix bad posture and get rid of back pain

Keep your feet hip distance apart and pointing straight ahead.  Allow the chest to sink and the stomach to relax.  Try to create an arch in the low back.  Tighten thighs,  BREATHE and hold for 1 minute.


When you decide to fix bad posture and get rid of back pain, you will move more freely,  feel more energetic and enjoy life more fully!

I would love to answer any questions or hear any comments that you might have regarding how to fix bad posture and get rid of back pain!

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The following article from provides an excellent resource for upper body strengthening exercises.  As far as changing posture; however, I do NOT believe strengthening exercises are the key to IMPROVING POSTURE!   I  spent over 20 years as a physical therapist working with clients trying to restore posture,  I believe that it is critical to focus on ALIGNMENT first before trying to strengthen.

If strengthening and stretching was the key to good posture, why do so many people at the gym have poor posture?  The key is to allow coordination between the shoulder girdle, pelvis and lower kinetic chain.  This will allow a retraining of the body which then allows strengthening to be much more effective.

Try this exercise:  WALL ALIGNMENT STRETCH   before heading into the strength routine described.

Stand with your feet hip width, pointed straight ahead.  With your hands on the wall,  walk your feet back.  Allow your chest to sink and the stomach to relax.  Try to keep an arch in the low back area.  Finally, tighten the thigh muscles and HOLD for 1 min.



Now that you have begun to address the alignment of the body, try the excellent  strengthening exercises described below.

This is from  by Paige Waehner

When I was young, I used to walk around the house with a book on my head, convinced that I could become a rich, famous model if I could just perfect my posture. Unfortunately, balancing books on my head got me nowhere in my modeling career, but it did force me to stand up straight…something that we all struggle with as we spend hours at the computer, in the car or slumped on the couch.


All that slumping can wreak havoc on the back and neck and your first order of business should be, of course, to sit up straight (putting a book on your head is optional). It helps to have a giant post-it note on your computer that shouts, “POSTURE!” just to remind yourself to sit up straight throughout the day. Sitting on an exercise ball may help as well and there are some exercises you can do to strengthen the ‘posture’ muscles of the upper back and shoulders. Below are just a few of my favorites:


Rear Delt Fly


Standing or sitting, hold a resistance band in the middle, arms straight out in front of you. Squeeze the shoulder blades together and pull band so that arms are out to the sides like an airplane. Return to start and repeat, keeping tension on the band the entire time. Repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-15 reps.


Shoulder Shrugs


Do this sitting or standing and feel free to hold weights for added intensity. Shrug the shoulders up towards the ears and release, repeating for 1-3 sets of 10-15 reps.


Horizontal Dumbbells Rows

Prop the left foot on a step, supporting the body with the left hand on the thigh. Hold a dumbbell in the right hand, arm hanging down and the palm facing the back of the room. Engage the shoulder blades to pull the arm up to shoulder level, perpendicular to the body. Lower and repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-15 rep

Please share your comments or questions.

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Posture exercise at your desk

Improve your posture
You must watch this video, then comment and share below

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