Did your mom ever tell you to stand up straight when you were growing up? Maybe to stop slouching at the dinner table? If so, tell her your chiropractor thanks her. Your parents may have just been aiming at making you a more presentable child, but what they were actually doing is encouraging you to protect your natural spinal curves. The spine you were born with develops into an “S” shaped curve as you grow and learn to roll over, walk and crawl. Fully grown adults should have around a 45 degree curve forward in their cervical spine (neck) and lumbar spine (low back.) The mid back has a curve in the opposite direction. From the front, the spine performs best when it is straight up and down. This overall structure allows for the most stability and efficient movement when weight bearing, walking and performing more difficult tasks.
When curves go wrong, the potential for problems is greater. From the front, a sideways curve may be called scoliosis. From the side you may see excessive tilting of the pelvis front or back, changing the curve of the low back or a forward head carrying position which decreases the neck curve. The curve, or lack thereof, may not even be something you are aware of if you are not experiencing pain. The problem is that the presence of changes in spinal curvature is evidence of a lack of stability in the spine. When there is no stability, the body has to compensate in many different ways, such as building up bony spurs or creating muscle spasm. These compensations are what leads to greater problems.
So now your question is probably, “What do I do about it?” Well, I’m a chiropractor so it should be no surprise to you that I highly recommend regular adjustments to restore the best motion possible. This alone will help, but the real power lies in an integrated approach. At the Ozzie Smith Center, I have the privilege of being able to send you down the hall to my trusted colleagues- physical therapy for rehabilitative exercises and regenerative medicine for healing of ligaments and therefore added stability. Consider getting your curves checked out so we can help you function at your very best.