How incredible is it that the human body is supported by a single column of 33 individual stacked bones? That column we’re referring to is our spine – the reason we’re able to stand upright, bend over (and if you’re talented, backward) and twist our bodies rather effortlessly.
Naturally, the adult spine follows an S-shaped curve comprised of three divisions of curves: the cervical curve (neck); the thoracic curve (the mid-back) and the lumbar curve (low back). While the cervical and lumbar curves have concave, or inward, structures, the thoracic curve has a slight convex, outward, structure. These three curves all work in alignment to absorb shock, maintain balance and allow for a range of motion throughout the spinal column.
Practicing correct posture is vital so that the least amount of strain or pressure is placed on the spine in order to maintain these natural spinal curves. Here’s how you can tell that your spine may be out of alignment or may be developing an abnormal curve.
Your foot flares out when walking
Examine your feet when you walk. Do they point forward, or does one foot (or both feet) tend to point inward or outward? Foot flare can signal a problem in the lower spine or hips or stress in the upper neck or base of the brain.
You have frequent headaches, neck aches or backaches
Constant stress, soreness or tension/tenderness in muscles or joints are common signs of subluxation (misalignment of the bones).
You have difficulty concentrating
Subluxation can also affect brain health. Studies indicate that adjustments of the spine impact the function of the prefrontal cortex specifically – the area of the brain where higher learning and cognition happens.
The heels of your shoes wear out unevenly
If you take a look at the bottoms of your shoes, does one heel seem to be more run down than the other? This could be explained by uneven leg length or stress along the length of your spine. If you’ve been told that one leg appears obviously shorter than the other, check with a health professional for common diagnoses including scoliosis, herniated discs, foot pronation or pelvic misalignment.
You find it difficult to take a satisfying deep breath
Breathing and spinal health are interrelated. The most important muscle for respiration is the diaphragm, which is attached to the thoracic cage and also includes the 12 thoracic bones in the spine.
You often have to “crack” your neck, back or other joints such as your fingers
If you regularly feel the urge to crack your knuckles, back or neck, but never seem to feel satisfied after the fact, this may be due to locked, jammed or irritated areas of your spine. A chiropractor can help to realign your joints and prevent the feeling of pressure or pain.
You are often fatigued and stressed
Most functions and movements rely heavily on the spinal cord, so an imbalanced spine can understandably drain our energy levels. It also causes the rest of our body to work overtime to maintain proper posture.
If more than three of these symptoms sound familiar, it may be time to see a chiropractor to get your spine back into alignment. If you don’t recognize any of them, you can still take preventative actions for good spine health. Try incorporating these back-strengthening exercises into your daily routine along with regularly practicing good posture: https://mayfieldclinic.com/PE-EXER.HTM.