Developing a healthy spine begins by understanding the three keys to this: strength, flexibility, and posture. Strength, flexibility, and improving your posture will go a long way towards improving your spine’s function, your health and reducing pain.
Your spine is made up of bones (vertebrae), and spinal discs that separate each bone. If you look at someone from the side, you’ll notice that the vertebrae and discs create three distinct curves: the neck (cervical), mid-back (thoracic), and low back (lumbar). What you may not realise is that you began your life with the shape of the spine being a ‘C – shape” – a single curve. The other two curves developed as you began to crawl and walk as a child.
As a baby, you had a single c-shaped curve – perfect for optimising growth and development in the womb. However, once you began to lift your head, your neck curve began to develop. Not too much after that, your low back curve formed as you started to take your first steps and walk upright.
The development of these curves is critical to posture as an adolescent and adult, and there are three key factors that support the development healthy spinal curves:
• Strength: Strong core, shoulder, back and leg muscles are essential to providing the proper support for your spine.
• Flexibility: Flexibility is necessary to maintain a full range of motion, which reduces your risk of injury.
• Posture: Strength and flexibility will help ease the stress on your back, as will focusing on the dynamics of your posture and being sure to frequently changing positions throughout the day.
Developing a healthy spine starts when we’re young. The habits and actions we take today will affect our quality of life for years to come. Set an example and encourage your children to stay active, keep an eye on their posture, and promote activities that strengthen their spine to help support the development of great posture, reducing their likelihood of poor health and back or neck pain.