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The ‘How’s Your Trunk?’ Series: Part 2

Following on from last week, we continue to explore what is actually meant by the term “core stability.”  This week we consider the marvellous feat of engineering that is our spine and what that means for it’s movement.

The engineering involved in your spine is amazing.

Your spine is “S” SHAPED from a side view.  It is meant to have curves in it and these curves allow it to take 10 times more vertical load than a straight structure.

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Our non-optimal ways of holding our posture can change the relationships and amount of curve in the spine.  This in turn alters it’s ability to take load, shock absorb and MOVE.  It will also impact on other areas of the body as everything is CONNECTED!  That is why your thorax can be responsible for shoulder pain, hip pain, bladder problems or knee pain to name a few.

The “shoulders back, head up” posture many of us have adopted and are now stuck in from childhood nagging, flattens out the thoracic curve.  Our shoulder girdles are meant to rest on a more rounded thoracic curve, not a flattened compressed one.  So, this posture not only alters the spinal curves but affects the shoulders, arms, neck and lower back, pelvis and legs. These relationships and connections are super important to make the whole body function in a beautiful symphony.  Continually being rigid in your spine will reduce your options for movement not only in the spine but in other regions too.

Your spine is meant to BEND and be SUPPLE, not be rigid and immobile.

It is a useful option to keep it stiff and rigid for instance if you are going to lift a very heavy weight.  You can make your spine stiff by switching on lots of muscle groups around the spine at the same time to prevent it bending.  This is what we call a “braced strategy.”

However, this stiffness should be a CHOICE, an OPTION that we can move in and out of according to what you are trying to do.  It is not helpful to be stiff and braced when trying to garden, dance, walk or run.

If we try to avoid bending our spine because we are sore or in pain, it takes away so many options for movement and in the long term is not good news for our body.

Here’s a question… Does making your spine stiff to control it give you better movement and function?  I, like many don’t think so.  We believe that there is more to the term “stability” than the ability to make and hold your spine in a rigid, braced, stiff way that occurs in a plank exercise.

Next week we will show you how the word “CONTROL” is a far more appropriate term to use when talking about movement of the body.