A common saying in the chiropractic world is “the spine is the window to your health.” Your spine is more than a part of the central nervous system, it is the foundation that holds your skeleton together. Just like the foundation of a house, whenever there is a shift, crack, or structural damage, problems can manifest elsewhere. That is why it is important to maintain proper posture throughout the day to prevent premature spinal decay.
The spine is made up of 24 bones called vertebrae. There are 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 in the mid back, also known as the thoracic spine, and 5 in the lumbar spine. The sacrum is made up of fused vertebrae. Within this casing of 24 bones is the spinal cord. The spine also has three curves to make it more resilient to various forces and movements. Through stress and other traumas, however, the spine’s shapes and curves can shift and change, and that can cause dysfunctions to develop. These compensations make your spine unhealthy.
Here are five signs to tell if you have an unhealthy spine:
1. One Side of Your Body is Lower or Higher or Shorter Than The Other
This includes one leg looking shorter than the other, one hip being higher, or one shoulder being hiked up. Uneven shoulders, for example, are indicative that something is imbalanced. You can see if your shoulders are uneven when standing in the mirror while your back is against a flat surface. The same is true for uneven hips.
To determine if your legs are shorter than the other, lie face down with your shoes on. Someone else can then look at your feet and check the length of both legs by seeing if the heels are in line. If one leg is indeed shorter than the other, you could be experiencing spinal or pelvic shifting.
2. You Experience Chronic Fatigue
Misalignments of the spine, also known as subluxations, will interference with the central nervous system and how your brain communicates to the rest of the body. This can lead to overall fatigue, since your body has to work harder, and stress. Other signs of chronic fatigue include less resistance to illness, trouble concentrating, stiffness, and a general feeling of “not being right.”
3. You have Tender Spots, Backaches, and Headaches
Pain is a message from your body that something is wrong. You should never ignore pain or soreness that is frequent and often coming from the same spot. Headaches, backaches, neck pain, soreness in the joints, and other tender spots on the body are signs that you might have a misalignment of the spine.
4. You Need To Crack Your Neck, Back, and Other Joints
Sometimes the joints are not properly aligned and will get air pockets. This can lead to stiffness or the feeling of being stuck. You might want to adjust yourself, or “crack” your knuckles, back and other joints. Chiropractors do not recommend self-adjustments, since you can sometimes do more harm than good to your body.
5. One or Both Feet Turn Out or In When You Walk
Look down at your feet when you walk. Most people have feet that turn out slightly when they take a step, but if your toes turn far outward or rotate inward towards the center line, you could have hip and spine subluxation. Duck-footed (outward rotation) and pigeon-footed (inward rotation) people often experience abnormal wear and tear of the knee and hip joint.
So, how healthy is your spine? You need good posture to live a healthy and long life. Posture plays a role in how well you move and feel, too. Do not underestimate your spine! If you feel that you need to straighten up and out, it is time to visit the local chiropractor to keep your spine well.