The post-holiday season has us sporting more curves than necessary so why not start the New Year on focusing on the curve that matters the most.
While the word ‘curves’ is associated more with vanity and the fashion industry --- physical therapists are also interested in your curve --- but not the fashionable one ---the functional one.
The most important curve in your body is your ‘spinal curve” and the loss or gain of it sets you up for a lifetime of niggling and annoying pains. The stiff back on long car rides, the need to stretch your neck when staring at a computer screen, the shuffling in your seat at a movie theatre – if this sounds familiar then you have compromised your curves. It's these ignored pains that can sometimes lead to severe problems which in turn lead to major surgeries.
The human spine has 3 curves—cervical, thoracic and lumbar curve. The balance between the three curves is optimal for functioning and getting through the movements that occur in daily life.
The cervical curve is the inquisitive curve as it allows us to move to discover our world. Functionally it supports the weight of the head (approx. 8-10lbs) and when optimally balanced allows for 180 degrees of rotation or looking over each shoulder (think backing up a car).
The thoracic curve is like the powerhouse curve as it supports the weight of both arms (approx. 15-18lbs each). Then it also supports 24 ribs that protect the heart and lungs and viscera. Then it also has to expand and contract while we breathe all this while allowing us free arm motion.
Then the lumbar curve it’s the expensive curve compensated most for increased movement and lack of strength. It costs us billions per year in medical cost. Just look at the stat below.
The prevalence of pain has a tremendous impact on business, with a recent report by the Institute of Medicine indicating that the annual value of lost productivity in 2010 dollars ranged between $297.4 billion to 335.5 billion. The value of lost productivity is based on three estimates: days of work missed (ranging from $11.6 to $12.7 billion); hours of work lost (from $95.2 to $96.5 billion); and lower wages (from $190.6 billion to $226.3 billion
But fear not….. All problems have solutions ---and so does the spinal curve!
Dr. Carolyn Richardson as Australian physiotherapist and researcher has spent her career studying the spinal curves and has proven hypothesis and theories by doing research on astronauts. I have had the pleasure to study with her and learn her system called “GRAVITY FIT” that offers real world solutions to spinal and peripheral joint pain. Learn more at www.gravityfit.com.au
Renuka Pinto, PT, MA