To to dive a little deeper into the subject of good posture, let’s have a look at the most important structure concerning posture: your spine. We are talking about the structure that enables you to stand upright, twist, bend and most importantly, it protects your spinal cord. It consists of 33 individual bones, or vertebrae, and it has natural curves.
Why would you want to learn about your spine? Because then you will understand better why good posture is so important and what good posture is.
- When you know more about the function and anatomy of your spine, you’ll better understand good posture and its importance
- Your spine is made up of 33 individual bones, or vertebrae, with discs in between them to absorb shocks and allow movement
- Your spine has a natural S-shaped curve
- Good posture is very important for your spine since it can prevent damage to it
The individual bones that make up your spine are called vertebrae. Try to imagine these vertebrae as if they were bricks, precisely stacked on top of one another. These 33 individual bones can be arranged into five regions, which each have unique features to perform their specific function:
- Cervical: these seven vertebrae are tasked with the support of the head. The cervical region is special because it provides the great range of motion from the neck thanks to two vertebrae that connect to the skull.
- Thoracic: in this middle back region, twelve vertebrae hold the rib cage and protect the heart and lungs. Try rotating this region of the spine; you will find almost no motion is possible.
- Lumbar: the lower back has five, relatively large, vertebrae that are burdened with the weight of the entire body. Perhaps now, it is easier to imagine the importance of good lumbar support in your sitting posture.
- Sacral: these five vertebrae, which are fused together, are mainly connecting your spine to your hip bones.
- Coccygeal: ever fallen backwards and landed on your buttocks? You probably experienced a painful ‘tailbone’, or coccyx. It consists of four vertebrae and provides an attachment for ligaments and muscles of the pelvic floor.
The spine enables you to stand upright, twist, bend and it protects your spinal cord.
By now, you know that the spine’s main function is protecting the spinal nerves and supporting the body. You have also seen that every regions has a specific function; yet every of these vertebrae looks practically the same. Pictured below is one of the bricks that makes up your spine, a vertebra. Between every two of these bricks, lies an intervertebral disc that allows slight movement of the spine. When you have bad posture, any movements made by your spine can stress the vertebrae since the discs cannot facilitate good movement.
It also has the crucial role of being a shock absorber. When you hold your spine in an unnatural position, the shock absorbers cannot work at their full ability. Since the connection from your brain to the rest of your body runs through your spine, it is such a vital structure.
When someone tells you to ‘’walk up straight’’, it does not mean that you should have a straight spine. Imagine viewing yourself from the side, you will see a natural curve that is S-shaped. The picture below shows a healthy and normal spine. When you look at the curves in the spine, you can reason what bad posture does to its alignment. When you are in a hunched over position, you will lose the curve in your neck, your thoracic curve will become more extreme and your lumbar curve will become less clear.
We hope that you now better understand what good posture is and why it is so important to protect your spine by having good posture. Let us know on twitter or in the comments below what you take away from this article or ask any questions that you might have!