#2 Spine Shape, Posture and Spine Health
Most of us get away with less than ideal posture because, unlike Pisa's Tower, our framework is not rigid but flexible enough to adapt to our postural indiscretions, (see Blog #1).
Our spine is infinitely complex and consists of three major, off-setting curves when viewed in profile. Those curves are made up of 26 bones and are not there by accident. They provide flexibility, shock absorption, and adaptability. They are part of a 200-joint spine system that permits breath-taking gymnastic agility and jaw-dropping strongman locomotive pulling. When one joint moves, they all move, at least a little. How the brain and nervous system orchestrate this infinite spine system dexterity and then instantaneous shift to rock-solid stability exceeds current scientific understanding.
The point is, when we allow our bodies to lazily slouch, we're allowing gravity to insidiously pull the rib cage forward and downward. The middle spine curve then becomes more rounded, which reduces one's ability to inflate their lungs and breathe normally. Some say it also affects digestion. It definitely affects the neck which must compensate by lifting the head upward so you can see where you're going. That simple head-lifting maneuver causes neck muscles to chronically shorten, which weakens and annoys them. It also forces small joints in the back of the neck to jam more tightly together. Over time they begin to ache and eventually make a grinding sound as they wear themselves away. It's called crepitus and it's not a good thing. You don't want the neckaches or the grinding!
Lazy posturing also affects the lower back, to be discussed in a later blog. The bottom line is, our 30 years of study identified 46 orthopedic conditions, from neck problems to foot problems, associated with postural decay and structural decline. If you want to avoid as many of these potentially life-altering problems as possible, sit, stand, walk, work and play as uprightly as possible. Make your mom proud!