What matters most in life? If you search for it on the internet the top seven most important things in life include well-being. Well-being matters and, for most of us, we take it for granted until a part of it is lost and we’re unable to do what matters most to us during daily activities because our well-being is lost.
It’s easy to lose something that you don’t understand much about. In contrast, that which we value and care for gains greater protection for it. The spine and its role in well-being is one area of misconception and vulnerable to being depleted in its integrity due to the lack of investment back into it.
Understanding that spinal function promotes a role in overall well-being is vital. If asked what the purpose of the spine is in the body, most would fall victim to childhood educational context focused on a two dimensional diagram of the spine with bones stacked one on top of the other.
We get taught at an early age that the spine is a vertical stack of bones like a tower of blocks with one supporting the stability of the next. Vertical stacks of bones or a column of bones require a base of stability and though there are stable points built into the spine, the stability of those base points are in flux and moving at most times. This theory of bones stacking upon others to keep the body in position doesn’t account for several factors that must be considered from a logical and physiological standpoint.
First, the human body is not a tower of sorts with stability grounded and not moving. Our entire body is fluid and moving more similar to a balloon than a rigid tower. This includes the spine. The spine is a functional, mobile network of tissue supporting multiple angels of movement and leverage for degrees of freedom.
Second, the human body takes in stress and destructive forces from the outside-in and inside-out and this includes the spine. In fact, the spine could be considered the lever point where these forces meet. The spine is built for taking on large compressive stresses during activities of daily living. Activities like carrying groceries, sitting to standing, climbing stairs, sleeping, sitting, yard work, running, walking and even concentrating. The spine is designed to sustain these destructive forces without causing injury to the bones, discs and connective tissue in order to protect what’s inside and around the spine-the nerves.
The human body strives towards coordination and healing, and at the forefront of that objective is the neurological system. The neurological system coordinates every part of physiology through communication of vital electrochemical mental impulses. It’s the leading system for adaptation to changes both internal and external to the body.
At the position of prominence for coordination is the brain. All organizations including that which is alive require a position of leadership and the brain takes that role for the neurological system. The spinal cord extends down from the brain and is theoretically an extension of the brain and labeled part of the central neurological system. Together, the brain and spinal cord are wrapped with bone to protect the jelly like billions of neural connections keeping the communication between the brain and the body safe from external destructive forces.
In order for the body to have degrees of freedom of movement, the bones in the spine are separated from each other. In between the separation of the bones are neurological roots connecting from the spinal cord to the tissues, glands, organs and extremities creating a highway of communication between the body and the spinal cord and brain. This highway of communication is full of vital information to regulate the tissues, glands and organs, creating a body chemistry balance of hormones and chemicals that influence the activities of human performance on most if not all areas of the body.
With the spinal cord and nerve roots being encased and protected by the vertemere, external or internal invasive forces that meet within the spine must be effectively converted into positive constructive forces in order for the protection of the neurological system to occur.
Integrity within the structural and functional relationships of all parts of the spine is a complex and masterul architectural system built with tensegrity for optimal adaptation to stress and destructive forces or tension exerted on the body.