Spinal Health Week
An intiative of the Chiropractic Association of Australia, this is a great way to raise public awareness of the importance of the spine in your overall health.
Ok, so what’s so great about Spinal Health Week?
Your spine is of course central to the health of the body. It is indeed the primary control mechanism of the body.
A recent community based cohort study of older adults in Japan showed a strong correlation between spinal posture and future dependence in activities of daily living.
According to the authors:
Accumulated evidence shows how important spinal posture is for aged populations in maintaining independence in everyday life.
However, the cross-sectional designs of most previous studies prevent elucidation of the relationship between spinal posture and future dependence in activities of daily living (ADL).
We tried to clarify the association by measuring spinal posture noninvasively in a community-based prospective cohort study of older adults, paying particular attention to thoracic curvature, lumbar curvature, sacral hip angle, and inclination to determine which parameter is most strongly associated with dependence in ADL.
Basically the study concluded that the more spinal decay, the more hunched over you are – a kyphosis – particularly in the thoracic spine (mid back) the greater the level of incapacity.
This is pretty intuitive really.
However increased sagittal kyphosis is usually used as a ‘poster child’ for Osteoporosis marketing campaigns.
This study had nothing to do with Osteoporosis per se, but showed how the activities of daily living would become compromised with poor spinal function.
This correlates well with a study published in Spine, 2005 examining the impact of positive sagittal balance (basically your stuck bending forward) in adult deformity and disability.
The findings by the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine where that patients with relative kyphosis in the lumbar region had significantly more disability than patients with normal or lordotic lumbar sagittal Cobb measures.
This study shows that although even mildly positive sagittal balance is somewhat detrimental, severity of symptoms increases in a linear fashion with progressive sagittal imbalance.
The results also show that kyphosis is more favourable in the upper thoracic region but very poorly tolerated in the lumbar spine.
Interestingly in this study, whilst they identified that patients had increased likelihood of disability with thoracic (mid back) kyphosis, disability markers increased if the kyphosis came from the lumbar spine (lower back).
Indeed we often talk about the spine being a key to your health.
This is not just a sales pitch – I genuinely don’t know how people go without some type of neuro-musculoskeletal care.
A prospective study of older men and women, published in 2004 showed that poor posture (being hunched over) was a predictor for mortality.
Objectives: To determine the association between hyperkyphotic posture and rate of mortality and cause-specific mortality in older persons.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Setting: Rancho Bernardo, California.
Participants: Subjects were 1,353 participants.
Conclusion: Older men and women with hyperkyphotic posture have higher mortality rates.
Our body is designed to be healthy.
It works well without interference. Particularly nerve interference.
All homeostatic mechanisms – indeed our innate intelligence – is controlled and coordinated by our nerve system.
That nerve system is housed in and protected by our spine. The function of our spine and the function of our nerve system are intimately connected.
So it makes sense that if we want to live a life where we’re free to do what we want, without dragging around our sick, tired, sluggish body, then we need to pay attention to our spinal health and wellbeing.