Spinal Alignment, Massage Therapy and Your HealthJohn Stamoulos
The spinal cord is a long tube-like structure, which extends from the brain, runs the length of the back and terminates in the lumbar region.
It is housed in the protective bony vertebral column that consists of 33 circular bones or vertebrae that we commonly refer to as the spine. Besides protection for the spinal cord, the spine also allows the body to be upright and contributes to its shape and structure in conjunction with the ribs, pelvis and muscles within the body’s physique.
The Spine’s Function in the Body
The spine is responsible for even weight distribution when you walk or stand and is the reason you are able to move about in an upright fashion. It also is the home to the spinal cord, which passes neural signals between the brain and the rest of the body. The spinal cord acts as a conduit for motor information, which travels from the brain down the spinal column and out to the extremities. It is also a channel for sensory information to return from limbs and organs and flow up to the brain for action. Additionally, the spinal cord contains the nerve systems (Central Nervous System and Peripheral Nervous System) that independently control numerous reflexes and co-ordinate a myriad of interactive and complex motor functions and communications between the limbs and the brain.
How does the spine (and spinal cord) get out of alignment?
Damage to the spine can occur through falls, car accidents, repetitive motions that re-injure and strain. Sometimes, even weakened musculature and poor core strength within the body can pull the spine in one direction or another causing chronic trauma, inflammation, interrupted flow of information between the body and brain, uneven wear on the joints within the spine as well as pain. Long-term stress can also result in spinal misalignment due to muscle tension that is characteristic of holding on against the anxiety.
It follows that if your spine is not functioning optimally, the body will suffer in small and big ways. A misaligned spine can weaken the body, impair mobility and lead to numerous health complications.
How do you know your spine is out of alignment?
Symptoms of a misaligned spine are not often easily associated with the spine but if you experience any of these, it might be time to ask your massage therapist for support:
- Headaches (including migraines), back pain or joint pain
- Your shoes do not wear down evenly at the heels
- Difficulty with turning your head or hips smoothly and easily
- Your immune response is poor and you tend to contract flus, colds and other illnesses
- Your neck, back or joints are often stiff and movement is restricted
- You notice numbness or tingling in your extremities (hands or feet)
- You have poor body posture
- You are chronically tired and rarely feel rested even after a good night’s sleep
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Massage Therapy: Help With Misalignment of Bones and Muscles!
Massage therapy can support a healthy spine and spinal cord function because it:
- increases blood flow to all body organs and hormonal centers
- promotes relaxation and rejuvenation
- clears toxicity from the cellular structures including from the spinal cord and restores flow to nerve function
- reduces joint pain and muscle strain by stretching and unknotting tight muscles and ligaments so that bones and joints can return to their proper positioning and full functions.
Poor body mechanics, injuries, tension and stress can play a powerful role in your poor health. Consistently engaged, massage therapy can be a powerful treatment that restores your spinal alignment, returns your full mobility and promotes a complete mind/body sense of health and wellbeing.