Our spines are incredible structures. They are flexible, resilient, and strong. Wait – what? Flexible, resilient, and strong??? Not words that generally are the first thing we think about when we think about our spines. We often have so many negative thoughts ingrained in us from ads, images, and even medical providers that intentionally or unintentionally have given us a mindset that our spines are just the opposite – stiff, fragile structures that are sure to cause us trouble and wear out. In my practice I’ve learned it’s quite an uphill battle to change this mindset, but I am passionate about helping all of us cultivate a different relationship with our spine.
Here are a few tips to optimize that relationship.
Tip #1: Create flexibility
While our neck is the most mobile of all the parts of the spine, the middle and lower sections should move too. There’s an old saying “move it or lose it” and that certainly applies to the spine.
Tip #2: Create balanced strength
One of the most amazing features of our musculoskeletal system is that our tissues respond to stress (or lack thereof) that we put on them. It is a common misconception that once a spine injury occurs or once there is back pain present that continued or recurrent issues are unavoidable. Muscles can get stronger, joints can gain range of motion, and tissues can gain flexibility.
Tip #3: Create confidence in your spine
While flexibility and strength can go a long way, we still need to believe that our spine isn’t fragile. Here are a few conversation starters. When in doubt, speak to a medical professional trained in pain science and try to get a realistic picture of your individual situation. Dr. Google and your neighbor can perpetuate fear and hopelessness.
- When medical doctors try to blindly match images of spines to patient histories the success rate is no better than 50%. Interpretation – a nasty looking image DOES NOT equal pain.
- “degenerative” changes are not progressive over time. Our spines are not tires, they do not wear out and need replacing.
Want to learn more? Join us on Wednesday, September 28th from 5:30-7 for an interactive workshop to help you learn more about how to keep your spine healthy and happy. Click here for more details and to register.