Daily Activities That Impact Your Spine. A Twin Comparison
Chiropractic is truly a wonderful addition to a person's wellness journey. Whether you're wanting to address some back pain or maintain your health, getting adjusted helps keep your body working at its optimal potential! So many of my patients see improvement right away after starting care. Removing the interference causing dysfunction in their spine has a dramatic impact on them leaving them feeling significantly better. However, sometimes their relief is only temporary or isn't improving as quickly as they would like. When this happens I'll get asked, "It's so much better but can you keep it from coming back?" This question will lead me to reinvestigate the issue to see if I need to modify the treatments I'm providing. But sometimes the answer to this question is, "no, but there is something you can do."
Did you know I have an identical twin brother? Fun fact, his spine looks drastically different than mine. See, Jake lives in Utah and doesn't get adjusted as much as he should. If he lived nearby I certainly would be taking good care of his spine! He also has a desk job and isn't quite as conscientious of his spinal posture. Now I'm sure it's not a surprise that his desk job negatively impacts his spine. Ideally, he would have a standing desk, the computer screen would be at or slightly above eye level, he'd be able to get up and walk around at least once an hour for a few minutes, etc. Those changes would be huge but there still are so many daily activities he neglects. He's my brother so naturally, I call him out on these all the time! Take a look at the bottom of this article to see X-ray images of his spine compared to mine!
Have you ever thought about posture while brushing your teeth or washing your hands? In your low back, you should have a good forward curve towards your belly button. If you're bending at the waist over the sink you're applying a daily pressure in the opposite direction. I have another brother who has two babies right now. Most parents will hold their child on the left side leaving their right hand (usually dominant) to be able to grab things. This results in offsetting your pelvis to the left constantly (for years!). I'd recommend switching it up as much as you can!
How about while driving. Do you think of your posture then? Do you stretch out your legs and lean back into the seat so your low back has less pressure or do you sit forward towards the steering wheel with a space between you and the seat? Do you have your arm hanging out the window to feel the breeze causing daily twisting of the shoulder?
Take a look at the X-ray below. The left is an image of my twin brother's spine and the right is mine. Now I know you haven't had any training to look at the biomechanics of the spine but at a glance, I'm sure you can notice some differences. Jake's lower back curve doesn't go forward towards his belly button nearly as much as mine. In fact, from his low back all the way up to where it says "T7" is pretty much a straight line. This is not ideal as your body can't absorb the compressive forces of your daily life as well. Also, take a look at his neck. This should also have a good forward curve towards the throat. Not only is Jake's curve decreased but in the middle, it actually goes the wrong direction! He and I both have short legs on the left (born this way) but that's okay! No one has a perfect spine, myself included, but getting adjusted and being conscientious of your daily routine can certainly make an impact.
The point of all this is to get you thinking about the daily stressors that negatively impact your spine. Bending at the waist to pick something up rather than squatting. Constantly looking down at our phones or computers. Even the way someone walks can have a negative impact. Patients only spend a few minutes getting adjusted but what happens outside of the office is just as important! Half of my job is adjusting the spine. The other half is addressing daily stressors like these. I hope this post proved useful!