We have all heard the word ‘Backbone’ used to portray an image of strength or support, like when we hear something described as “the backbone of America”. Of course, when we think about the spine, our actual backbone, we also think of strength and support.
This prehistoric-looking bony tower is meant to hold us upright, house our nervous system, and provide space for our organs. The spine’s strength actually comes from a complex web of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia that holds this curved tower in place, not the bones themselves.
Without these supports, the spine would actually crumble under less than 5 kg of weight.
But we can’t always rely solely on the back to do all of the heavy lifting for us.
After all, if the spine is the backbone of the body, what is the “backbone” of the spine?
The answer: the Core. While the muscles of the spine are working hard to keep the bony structures in line, the dynamics of the inner and outer systems of the core must work equally hard to create a balanced equilibrium of the entire torso–and that’s way more than just your “six pack”.
In an ideal world, the spine and core are working harmoniously to carry the weight and movement of our torso and limbs, while we come up against numerous forces throughout the day that constantly challenges these supports.
I like to think of these superficial and deep muscular structures as crossbeams, much like those used to hold up the roof of your house. The X patterns of muscle that crisscross the torso and create an unbreakable support system, or do they?
Sometimes these crossbeams can be misaligned, bear uneven weight, or thanks to hand dominance, have excessive pushes and pulls on one side versus the other. These factors among others create a downward spiral into pain and dysfunction throughout the entire body, especially the back, pelvis, shoulders, and neck.
Creating a structural support system that distributes even weight and force against and among these crossbeams, allows our backbone to do its job while the backbone of the backbone, the Core, lends a helping hand.
A highly-trained movement specialist can provide valuable tips and tricks to help you use your entire core to support your spine and feel strong in your body with less pain. Click HERE to learn more about ReActive Movement’s Functional Pilates and Therapeutic Exercise programs customized for your specific needs.
Holly Wallis, Certified Movement & Rehabilitation Specialist, PMA®-NCPT
Director of US Operations, Body Harmonics Pilates & Movement Institute
Studio Director, ReActive Movement, 6200 LaSalle Ave, Oakland, CA 94611
www.bodyharmonicsUS.com (Pilates Teacher Education)
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