The curvature of your spine is a fundamental part of what makes up a functionally efficient body, one that is able to absorb the pressures that we put on our backs on a day-to-day basis and will, for the most part, work towards preventing injury and increasing the longevity of the health in your spine. Our spines also work as protection for the vital nerves that carry signals from all different parts of the body to your brain and vice-versa, so for that reason you may find that if you have an injury to your spine it will not just affect your back but also may affect other areas of the body. When you injure your spine, it usually will also affect the area in which that injured part of the spine carries the signals for.

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Measuring your Spine at Home

When analysing your spine in the comfort of your own home, you may find that holding your back against a wall may be an insightful and easy method of testing how good your posture is. But it’s important to know what parts of your spine should be touching the wall, and which parts should not. If you’re standing against a wall, the only parts of your body that should be touching the wall should actually be your buttocks, mid-back (thoracic spine), and your head. Other areas such as the neck and lower back, should be comfortably away from the wall. If you have good posture, you should find that there are smooth arcs in your spine, in the right places – this means that while the buttocks are against the wall, the lower back should smoothly arc inwards, with your mid-back against the wall, your neck arching inwards like the lower back, and the head against the wall.

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The Impact of Dysfunctions in the Spine

There can be many dysfunctions in the spine that happen over time as a natural consequence of your day-to-day lifestyles – and while these happen naturally and most often without us really noticing too much – they are things that need to be fixed if you want to have a spine that has the best defense against injury and will not degrade too early and cause you pain that often tends to strike when you become middle-aged. Oftentimes we see spines where the lower back has too much or too little curve, or where the neck has become straight, or likewise has too much or too little curve. During activities in the day such as sitting at a desk, or having a job where there is significant manual labor like cleaners, painters or decorators – generally these are the occupations in which we see spines that have strayed away from the natural, ideal curvature. While you may not notice any effects from having a dysfunctional spine in the short-term, not paying attention to your posture can have serious knock-on effects later on in life so it’s important to correct the spine early on, to avoid these problems later on.

The Ideal Curvature

The natural curvature of the spine has an impressive ability to shock-absorb from the pressures that we put on it in our daily lives. From weightlifting at the gym, high-impact sports such as running or tennis to name just a couple, to lifting heavy things in the home or at work, our spine when it’s in an optimal position, can for the most part absorb these stressors without causing injury. But if you lose that natural curvature, it then leaves our bodies susceptible to injury because the body is unable to shock-absorb as efficiently. This creates a knock-on effect in quite a simple way – if the spine is unable to absorb shock, or it’s structured in a way that has become abnormal, it can lead to more pressure being placed on areas of the spine that aren’t really designed to absorb that much pressure. This commonly happens in the lower back or neck, the areas most susceptible to injury. With that increased pressure on the vertebras in the spine, leads to increased pressure on the discs in those areas. While they initially may cope under the stress, it can lead to reduced disc space, degeneration and dehydration of the discs, which can eventually make it more likely injuries such as disc bulges or herniations should occur. From these disc bulges or herniations you will then perhaps see radiating symptoms – perhaps in the form of frequent headaches, tingling or pain in the arms, hands, or legs and feet – or symptoms like sciatica start occuring.

Solving the Problem Early-On

If you’re using the technique at home of measuring your spine against the wall, you may find that you have to maneuver your spine into a position where the right parts of the spine are touching the wall. This could mean having to tip your head back so it’s touching the wall, or pulling your lower back inwards in order that the buttocks are against the wall while the lower back is not. If you’re at a point where you’re seeing few symptoms that occur with poor posture, for example the odd ache or pain, or maybe a headache from time to time, you may find that with due diligence you are able to correct the problem. This would involve needing to be checking in with your posture regularly throughout the day, especially if you have a desk job – as the day goes on and you become more tired, you may find that your posture starts to falter but it’s important to keep on top of it from the beginning and persevere as you will begin to see results once your body has strengthened its supportive muscles that allow it to stay in that position much more comfortably.

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Specialist & Targeted Treatment

If however you’re finding that you’ve been experiencing pain on a regular basis in your back or neck, or you’re noticing a lot more difficulty in correcting your spine – it may be best to seek the help of a local osteopath or chiropractor who can give you the best advice as to how to correct your spine. At The Mayfair Clinic, we use a specialised series of orthopaedic tests that can help us to determine what kind of problem you may have with your spine. With our in-depth knowledge of the spine and ability to actually measure your spinal curves with x-rays, we are able to see specifically what needs to be rectified in order to give you a healthier spine in the long-term.

If you’re based in the London area, are looking for a professional and expert team to assess your spine or are looking for treatment to target specific issues that you know exist in your spine – we can help. Contact our team today either by calling the clinic on 0203 947 3222 or you can email us with details of your problem to info@themayfairclinic.com to book your first visit. Within your first appointment with us we offer an examination, complete with x-ray imaging if clinically relevant to carefully analyse and better understand your spine, which allows us to also provide you with a diagnosis and your first treatment.