What You Need to Know About Spine Alignment
The spine plays a pivotal role in our function as human beings. Without its innate stability and protection of some of our most vital neural tissue, the brainstem and spinal cord, it would be impossible to live a life of vitality and purpose. Thus, it should make sense that we need to take care of our spines holistically for an optimal quality of life. A big piece of the puzzle with spine health is ensuring that it is properly aligned.
The Function of the Spine
Before we dive further into the importance of spine alignment, let’s first look a little closer at the many functions that the spine provides.
- Meaningful movement- the spine attaches to every major muscle group in the body, allowing for proper coordination while maintaining both flexibility and stability in the trunk itself.
- Shock absorption- the fluid filled discs and other cartilage within each of the vertebrate in the body help it endure daily impact with activities without damage.
- Protection- as already briefly mentioned, a large portion of the central nervous system is housed in the spine, allowing it to send and receive messages (aka neural energy) for coordinating every bodily function uninhibited.
What Does Proper Spine Alignment Look Like?
If the spine is out of alignment, it can disrupt the three core functions that we just discussed above. This can lead to low energy, pain, brain fog, and other general health related symptoms. Unfortunately, spine misalignment is more common than most of us realize. There are some telltale signs of poor alignment that you can use for self-assessment. However, it is always best to get in touch with a spine alignment specialist, like a chiropractor, that is trained to identify even the most subtle of spine changes that may be affecting your health.
Keep in mind that these are just general guidelines to follow. Each of us are unique and the help of a professional is always optimal. Here’s a few basics to keep in mind:
- When facing forward in a mirror, the ears, shoulders, hip, and knees should all be aligned from side to side.
- No evidence of rotation in the spine while at rest- this may be detectable from assessing the position of your shoulders, ribs, or hips, plus bending forward shouldn’t reveal a rib hump on one side.
- When facing sideways in the mirror, the head, shoulders, hips, and knees should fall in a relatively straight line, while the spine itself will resemble an “S” shape from the head to the butt.
What Causes Poor Spine Alignment?
Since spine misalignment is common, you may be wondering what actually causes it in the first place. There are a lot of factors that can play a role in the development of spine misalignment. These include, but are not limited to:
- Chronic poor posture- with prolonged sitting, standing, or even sleeping and a less than optimal position
- Poor lifestyle choices- a nutrient devoid diet, lack of exercise, and poor stress management skills all put you at a higher risk for tissue damage in the spine.
- Plus, you are also more likely to be overweight which can also affect your spine alignment significantly
- Injury- a car accident, repetitive motions, a fall, or other high impact injury can strain the spine and put the spine completely out of balance
- Growth deformities- genetics and development changes with growth can also lead to spine misalignment. These are usually more obvious than other causes
Why You Need a Chiropractor for Your Spine Health
Now that you understand why spine alignment is so important and how easy it is to get out of balance, it’s time to consider your options for optimizing your spine health. First, it’s important to assess your current lifestyle and make appropriate changes, such as being more active, eating better, and managing your stress. From there, the guidance of a professional can expedite your health to the next level.
Chiropractors understand the underlying nuances and delicate balance that is required in the spine. If you are suffering specific acute symptoms, such as pain after a car accident, you can seek immediate treatment and start getting some sustainable long term relief. Additionally, there is also a benefit to regular checkups with your chiropractor so that they can detect and treat any subtle spine changes. This can help prevent unnecessary suffering and leave you feeling your absolute best.
Find a Chiropractor You Can Trust
Good spine alignment is one of the key pillars to holistic health. The entire team at North Alabama Spine and Rehab in Decatur and Huntsville, AL are dedicated to improving your health from the bottom up. If you suspect spine misalignment is an underlying issue, or even if you aren’t sure, get in touch with their clinic today to see how they can help you reach your best possible health and other goals via good spine alignment.