Yep, your spine is incredible, alright. Designed to allow for optimal mobility while still protecting your central nervous system, your amazing back bone is nothing short of a biological masterpiece! But it can only survive with your help.
Back pain will affect around 80% of us at some point during our lives; and lower back pain accounts for more lost hours than any other type of occupational injury. So the human spine tends to get a lot of stick! But a lot of the time, it’s our habits that are to blame for our back issues; and more specifically, how we tend to neglect the needs of our spines.
The problem is that we don’t always use our spines in the way that nature intended. Poor postures, prolonged sitting and inactivity are behaviours that our spines absolutely hate! And they throw these bad habits right back in our faces in the form of back pain.
Your spine is made up of 33 bones stacked on top of one another. The 4 bones of the coccyx are fused, as are the 4 bones of the sacrum. In between all of the other bones have two little joints called facet joints. These joints facilitate movement at each spinal segment.
We are born with fully functional and healthy spines but as life progresses, our movement tends to diminish. Of course, this has traditionally occurred with age, but these days, even some younger generations are guilty of living somewhat sedentary lives. In fact, modern day life can lead to all kinds of muscle imbalances around the spine, including tightness and weakness. Experts are saying that “sitting is the new smoking”; and they’re not exaggerating! When you sit down, intervertebral discs absorb fluid and become tighter, allowing less range of motion and promoting injury. Your body simply wasn’t designed to sit for long periods of time, so it will inevitably suffer as a result of doing so. Prolonged postures commonly lead to weakening and lengthening or tightening and shortening of muscles. The end result is often reduced movement and pain.
The facts are simple; the more you purposely move your spine, the better range of motion you will have and the less chance you’ll have of developing back pain. Ensuring your spine gets the movement it needs will enable it to get the nutrients it requires to stay healthy.