What is the Spine?
The spine is our backbone and extends from our necks to our tailbones. A healthy spine is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. The spine consists of 33 relatively small bones, called vertebrae. The neck part of the spine, called cervical spine consists of 7 vertebrae. There are 12 vertebrae in the upper and mid back (thoracic spine) and 5 in the low back or lumbar spine. Five bones fuse together in the tailbone region to form the sacrum and below that is the coccyx, formed by 4 bones. The spine is an integral part of the body. Without it, we would not be able to stand upright. The spine houses and protects the spinal cord, absorbing shock and allowing us to bend and twist. Hundreds of muscles, ligaments and tendons are attached to the spine, as well.
Why look after your spine?
Unfortunately, approximately 80% of the population suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. The reasons for this vary but if you are overweight, smoke or undertake regular manual work then you're more likely to be a sufferer. As back pain is so common, it's important to look after your spine to reduce the number instances and their affect on your overall wellbeing. Poor spinal health impacts upon the nervous system which in turn reduces our capability of living a normal, active life.
- Keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly
- Helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis
- Decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together
- Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions
- Prevents fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy
- Prevents strain or overuse problems
- Prevents backache and muscular pain
- Contributes to a good appearance
Proper Posture Requirements
- Good muscle flexibility
- Normal motion in the joints
- Strong postural muscles
- A balance of muscles on both sides of the spine
- Awareness of your own posture, plus awareness of proper posture which leads to conscious correction. With much practice, the correct posture for standing, sitting, and lying down will gradually replace your old posture
What Contributes to Bad Posture?
- Weak muscles
- High-heeled shoes
- Tight muscles; decreased flexibility
- Poor work environment
- Poor sitting and standing habits