Project Description

The Spine

Start your rehab today

The Spine

Start your rehab today

Have you got back pain which will not go away? Do you always get back pain when you are doing abs exercises? Have you got a disc prolapse, seen a consultant and had no idea what they were talking about? Or maybe you simply want to learn more about your spine?

At Complete Pilates we see thousands of people with problems just like these.

Our biggest advice is education is key.

The more you understand about your body, the more likely you will be to fix it! Remember, we can give you the skills but we cannot come home with you!

The spine is made up of 3 natural curves which together form an ‘S’ shape. The muscles in your core, around your back, diaphragm and pelvic floor, help maintain and support these curves. This means weight and force is safely and evenly distributed throughout.

There are 33 bones, or vertebrae, in total in your spine but only the top 25 move as your sacrum and coccyx are fused. Each vertebrae has unique features which help them perform their function.

Its main function is to support the weight of the head. It has the most movement because of the top two vertebrae which connect to the skull.

The first vertebrae (C1) is a ring shape which connects directly to the skull and allows you to nod. It is also called the atlas. The second (C2) is a peg shape and has a projection which allows the atlas to pivot on it, enabling you to shake your head. It is also called the axis.

When you are moving around, your neck should always be free to move rather than being fixed. It was designed for mobility so that we could spot danger and run away!

Its main function is to hold the rib cage and protect the heart and lungs. It is specialised for stability and keeping your body upright. The discs in this area are narrower.

Your thoracic spine curves outwards, so when you are lying on your back you will naturally feel more pressure here. This means that it does not extend very much!

This part of the spine is designed for weight-bearing and taking heavy load. To help with this the bones are much larger to help absorb the stresses of lifting or carrying large objects. The spinal canal is also larger to allow for more space for the nerves to pass.

The most typical thing we see is that people try to force it down to the floor when they are doing abdominal work or in a bridge. Remember, it has an inwards curve.

When you are doing abdominal work, try not to imprint your spine, but instead maintain its natural curves. This means that you are keeping the same shape you have in standing so will naturally get stronger more functionally!

Each bone in your spine is separated and cushioned by a disc which help with shock absorption. These discs get larger as you move down the spine from the neck.

Each disc has an outer ring called the annulus. This has crisscrossing fibres which make it really strong. Inside is the nucleus which is a filled with gel and held in place by the annulus.

With age, our discs naturally become flatter, with less fluid. This is one of the reasons we get shorter. The main reason for the speed of this happening is genetics.

The spinal cord connects the entire nervous system from the brain to the rest of the body and acts like a motorway, sending information back and forth. The brain sends movement signals down and the soft tissue sends sensory information back.

To help protect us we have automatic responses which are called spinal reflexes. This means that you do not have to think about something before you do it. For example, when you touch something very hot, you immediately pull away.

This is an automatic reaction which is us reacting without sending messages back up to the brain.

The spinal cord passes through a hollow column from your neck to your sacrum called the spinal canal. These nerves leave the spine at each level through channels called the intervertebral foreman. Two nerves exit at each level, one to the right and one to the left.

At your lowest thoracic, or highest lumbar vertebrae, the spinal cord splits into the cauda equina. Imagine this like the hairs on a horses tail.

There are 31 pairs of spinal nerves which come off the spinal cord.

Your nerves are like telephone lines which carry messages around your body and help control your movement and sensation.

Each spinal nerve has two roots. One of these carries all the movement signals and the other carries sensory signals. These fuse together to form the nerve and come out of the spinal canal at the intervertebral foramen.

Each nerve supplies a specific area of the body with sensation which is called a dermatome. Medical professionals can use this to identify a problem with a specific area in your the spine.

Without your spine, you would not be able to keep your body upright or even stand up!

It gives you support and structure to allow you to move freely. It helps protect your spinal cord which sends messages to your muscles telling them to work.

Lower back pain is also one of the biggest reasons for people missing work. By taking care of your spine, noticing any problems quickly, and investing the time to fix it is key.

As with any injury, the longer you leave it the harder it is to fix.

To help keep your spine healthy, try the following things:

  • Rotate  please link to book openings exercise video page to each direction regularly. You can do this in your office chair!
  • Try and sleep well to help recovery
  • Stay active with a variety of activity, not just heavy impact classes or heavy weights
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Stay hydrated
  • Work smart: organise your space and move regularly
  • Pay attention to warning signs and seek advice please load up a contact us form quickly.

We hope you have found this useful but if you do have any questions please just ask.

Start your rehab today

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