Staying Aligned

The magic of combining Chiropractic with Core Exercise…

PilatesOne of my favorite questions that comes up during treatment is: “What can I do to make sure I stay aligned?”

In order to understand how you can make sure you are doing your best to keep your spine aligned, you must first understand the two different muscle systems at work in your body.

Firstly, you have a system of Global Mobilizing Muscles. These muscles are large in size and create movement at your joints when they contract. These guys enable you to walk, run, jump and squat; skip, dance, brush your hair and drink your coffee!

The joints of your spine, however, are not stable enough to provide a good scaffolding for this kind of movement, and require support from your Local Stabilizing Muscle system. This muscle system does not create movement on contraction; rather their contraction creates a healthy amount of stiffness around the vertebrae of your spine, providing support while your Global Mobilisers are at work!

The local stabilizing system is popularly known as your core. When your core is healthy, strong and working as it should; it automatically contracts before you move your “mover muscles” in order to give the spine the support it needs, and prevent injury or locking during movement of your arms, legs and trunk.

 

If your core is not working as it should, your spine is exposed to potentially harmful forces and movements because you are unable to effectively brace your spine. Furthermore, as your spine provides a bony casing for your spinal cord, any resultant tension in your spine may lead to inadequate functioning of your nerves too!

This is often where Chiropractors come in. One of our main goals is to “unlock” any jammed-up joints to restore normal, healthy movement in the spine and relieve tension on the nervous system. While this is a highly effective form of treatment which serves to reduce pain and allow optimum musculoskeletal system functioning; it is impractical to rely on Chiropractic treatment alone. Your body needs some help and reinforcement from you too!

The key to staying aligned is in the combination of appropriate manual therapy and establishing and maintaining good core strength to provide your spine with the support it needs.

Standup-Paddle-Boarding-Wallpaper-2Pilates is one of the first forms of exercise I recommend to anyone with a weak core and lower back or neck pain. It is a great place to learn how to locate, activate and strengthen you core, whilst making sure you are able to use it correctly while moving the rest of your body. Once you have the basics down, the sky really is the limit! There are many, many fun and interactive sports which require a huge amount of core control; ranging from Stand Up Paddle and Paddle Ski, to Yoga, Ballroom Dancing and Rock Climbing! In truth, no matter what sport you are doing, your core muscles should always be engaged!

In my practice I have seen this combo-treatment to be extremely effective and empowering for patients, as it enables them to become active members in their own spinal health! (Never mind the added benefits of rocking a lean bod, a buzzing social life and enhanced athletic performance).

This could not be better news! How lucky we are that achieving and maintaining spinal health can be so enjoyable! Through simple manual therapy and a lifestyle of getting active and challenging our bodies with like-minded people, the goal of staying aligned is absolutely achievable, and remarkably enjoyable!

So next time you hit your Pilates mat, or head out into the wide open ocean for a SUP session, forget the burning in your butt and abs and think about the fantastic favor you are doing your spine!

Remember that different spinal conditions prefer different types of movement, so before getting stuck into a new core strengthening program, be sure to consult with a physician you trust to make sure it is safe and beneficial for you.

Let’s get Core-Savvy and make moving a part of your spinal health commitment!

 

Move Well. Live Well.