Also known as the backbone, your spine is the collection of bones, muscles, tendons and other tissues that stretch from your tailbone to the base of your skull. Each of the bones in your spine are of varying size, and are separated by what we call ‘discs’.
With all of these moving parts that make up your spinal cord, it’s surprisingly easy to tweak something out of alignment. This misalignment can go unnoticed, or it can also cause quite a lot of pain thanks to all the nerves in the area.
In this article, we’re going to highlight why spinal alignment is so important for your overall health, along with some of the things that can happen when your spine is out of position.
When your spine is aligned
When your spinal cord is in perfect alignment, your body is straight as it should be from head to toe. The straightened backbone allows your neck, hips, knees and feet to follow suit. This alignment allows your body to move as it should, providing you with the full range of motion, good posture, and an overall higher quality of life.
But besides benefiting us structurally and physically, spinal alignment also protects the functioning of our internal systems. Our central nervous system is impacted by the alignment of the spine, along with our digestion and circulation.
With the spinal cord in alignment, your entire body is able to function at its fullest potential without pain or discomfort.
Retain your full range of motion
Our range of motion refers to the extent or limit which a part of the body can be moved around a joint or a fixed point. With full range of motion, we’re able to move our bodies as we please. This allows us to remain active and do basic physical activity like yard work, play with our kids, clean the kitchen and play recreational sports.
Because our spine connects our entire body, a misalignment can severely impact our ability to move, limiting our quality of life. In a 2014 study of middle-aged and elderly people, some of the most common range of motion constraints found were limited shoulder flexion, neck and shoulder pain, and reduced back and grip strength. The spine keeps our whole body moving.
If you feel like you’re losing range of motion, contact a chiropractor and get your spinal cord realigned back to normal.
Avoid digestive and metabolism issues
The alignment of your spine has the ability to impact far more than just your movement – it also affects your body’s vital functions, such as digestion. In a 2008 study, misalignment of the spine was shown to increase the frequency of gastroesophageal reflux disease. And in a 2015 study, laryngopharyngeal reflux was more prevalent among people with lumbar kyphosis.
Lumbar kyphosis a spinal deformity in which part of the back curves forward, creating the appearance of a hump in the back. With a curve in your spine, more pressure is put on your stomach and esophageal system, which then makes it more difficult to digest food. That’s because your lower gastrointestinal tract is restricted with a curved spine, making it more challenging for food to pass through.
To avoid spinal misalignment that could lead to lumbar kyphosis and digestive issues, make sure to take regular trips to your chiropractor.
Improve your posture and keep pain away
The spine keeps your entire body straight, starting with your back and extending to your other major body parts like hips, knees and feet. With everything straightened out, your posture looks great and the back is pain-free. Strong posture makes you appear not only taller, but more confident, healthy and athletic.
A misalignment in your spine can be painful and uncomfortable, which forces your body to contort itself into a different position. Typically, this means slouching, which is visible when someone is standing up or walking. The bad posture not only looks bad, but is bad for your back and can lead to even worse posture and back pain down the road. This bad posture can even lead to muscle spasms, and will leave you more vulnerable to serious injury.
By seeing your chiropractor and doing at-home exercises, you can maintain good posture and spinal alignment while reducing back pain.
Strengthen blood circulation
Decreased blood flow caused by poor circulation can be dangerous, and can lead to serious issues like brain cell damage, stroke, kidney disease, visual impairment and hearing loss. And it can all start with a poorly aligned spine.
Misalignments in your back vertebrae can put tremendous pressure on your nerves, which transmit important messages to your brain. When this happens, your circulatory system can be affected. The fifth lumbar vertebra and nerve manages our lower legs, ankles and feet, so if that’s out of alignment you could notice swollen ankles and cold feet, along with pain or numbness in your legs.
By working on misalignments in your back and neck, a professional chiropractor can relieve pressure on the nerves and reestablish normal circulation to your brain, legs and feet.