Friday, January 16, 2009

Safety Saturdays: Back Care

This will be a series of ... I don't know how many parts. I haven't decided. Let's talk about back safety. Remember in the last Safety Saturday Sunday post when I talked about how wearing heels can hurt your back? Well, I thought we should talk about your back. When your back hurts, your quality of life is impacted dramatically.

So let's just review some anatomy. Our back is curved into an "S" (well, sort of): the "curves" actually strengthen our back.

The top portion (roughly our neck) is the "cervical" portion of the spine. Next is the thoracic spine. Our lower back corresponds roughly to the "lumbar" spine. And the bottom is the saccral spine (also called the saccrum) and the coccyx (coccygeal spine, or the tail bone).

Our spine itself is a series of vertebrae (the bones in pink) connected by discs (purple with the blue centre). Each disc is actually made of two things: an annulus (purple - think of this as a car tire) and a nucleus (blue - think of it like a jelly doughnut).

The spine is strong when in its natural S-curve. What would happen if you twist or bend that strong "rod"? The tire is strong and somewhat flexible, but what would happen if you overstretch a car tire? And what would happen if you squish a jelly doughnut? I'll get into the relevance of why I ask those questions in future posts.


The Pissed Off Bride said...

Interesting post.

I will show my fiance. He has this weird obsession about posture and keeping his back in good shape.

Krista said...

I'll take about what happens if you twist your back next week.