Is your spine loose and limber? Do you consider yourself flexible? You might be surprised to learn that while you may be able to touch your toes or arch your back just fine, there’s a lot more to spinal movement than just these 2 examples. In fact, there are actually 5 ranges of motion that help to define a flexible spine. Having good mobility across these planes is extremely important in maintaining good overall spine health.
At Graybar Chiropractic, one of our chief goals is teaching Wilmington, Wallace, and Clinton, NC patients how to keep their spines limber and healthy, with proper range of motion. This all starts by identifying the 5 types of spinal movement and helping patients to identify where their range of motion is limited or lacking.
- Extension: This refers to bending your back by pushing your chest out and your pelvis back. Think of someone performing a bridge, with their hands and feet on the floor, with their navel being pulled up towards the ceiling. Spinal extension is important because it strengthens the lower spine and stretches out the chest muscles, which in turn support the spine.
- Flexion: The opposite of extension, flexion is the act of contracting your abs and pushing your back out. Think about someone standing up straight and touching their toes – this is flexion. Flexion is an extremely important movement to consider because it counteracts the sitting lifestyle by strengthening the thoracic spine and abdominal muscles.
- Rotation: Stand straight and twist only your torso from side to side, or only rotate your hips without moving your upper body. This is rotation! It’s important for a wide range of daily activities and is a core movement in overall spinal wellness. Your spine rotates every time you turn your head or turn your body, so it’s important to keep this range of motion open and fluid, to prevent injury.
- Lateral: Lateral movement is the vertical equivalent to extension or flexion. Put one hand above your head and reach it over to the opposite side of your body, stretching out the entire side of your body as you reach. This is lateral movement, also known as “side bending.” Your body relies on this type of movement for everything from lifting to running, making it important to have a loose, limber spine at all times.
- Axial: This movement is the one most people have trouble with, due to spinal compression issues. Axial movement is your spine’s ability to lengthen and contract as your body does. For example, think about hanging from monkey bars and reaching your toes towards the ground. You’ll notice that as your spine relaxes, you’re able to get just a little bit closer to touching. This is axial movement at work. Having healthy axial movement means not having disc compression issues.
Knowing all 5 spinal movements is one thing; having a healthy spine based on these movements is another. Often, people with back or neck pain can connect their condition to poor range of motion across one or more of these movements. It’s a chicken and egg scenario – lack of movement causes stiffness and pain, while stiffness and pain restrict movement.
The purpose of a chiropractor is to pinpoint limits and setbacks within each type of movement, to help patients regain the full mobility of their spine and the wellness that comes with it. At Graybar Chiropractic, we use Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) to measure spinal deviation from the norm, to test range of motion where spinal misalignment exists in our Wilmington, Wallace, and Clinton, NC patients.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and to learn more about the 5 types of spinal movements and their effect on your overall wellness.
Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.