Spinal Protection

What protects the spinal cord – how to protect the spine

What protects the spinal cord - how to protect the spine

Protect the physiological curvature of the spine①

◆All the fatigue work, crooked sitting posture, etc. are destroying the usage period and life span of the spine.

The spine is located in the center of the back, also known as the spine. The spine is not just a bone, it also includes the surrounding muscles, tendons, ligaments, intervertebral discs, and the internal spinal cord. The vertebrae are like rebar, and the muscles, ligaments, nerves, and fascia around the spine are concrete, which are poured together to form the roof of the body’s building.

However, the “beams” of this building of the body, are not always standing, it is sometimes fragile. Spine with the body standing and began to bear the weight, began to be subject to various “compression”. In addition, all the fatigue, sitting in a crooked position, etc., are destroying the life span of the spine and life.

The human spine is made up of several vertebrae. In adults, there are 26 of them, divided into cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and caudal vertebrae, which are connected by intervertebral discs, anterior and posterior longitudinal ligaments, interspinous and supraspinous ligaments.

These vertebrae have similar morphology and function but have their special features. At the same time, each vertebra has a vertebral body and a vertebral arch, with the vertebral body having an osteophyte interior and a thin layer of osteophyte exterior. The upper and lower vertebrae are connected into a column by cartilage to support the body weight. The vertebral arch is behind the vertebral body, and together with the vertebral body, it forms the vertebral foramen, and the vertebral foramen of the vertebrae is connected to the vertebral canal through the spine, which has the function of accommodating and protecting the spinal cord.

In addition, the seven protrusions on the vertebral arch are also very special. The backward projection is called the spinous process, which can be felt in the midline of the back and is often encountered during the massage; the left and right projections are called the transverse processes, which have ligaments and muscles attached to the spinous process; and the upper and lower projections are called the upper and lower articular processes.

What connects the human vertebrae? It is the intervertebral disc, which is located between the two vertebrae and has hydrodynamic properties, like an elastic cushion of tissue. It is mainly composed of a tough fibrous ring on the outside and a jelly-like nucleus pulposus on the inside. Because there are no intervertebral discs between the atlantoaxial spine and the sacrococcygeal spine, there are 23 intervertebral discs throughout the body.

This structure of the intervertebral discs is like a rocking chair that swings back and forth, allowing the spine to turn flexibly. Because of the soft elasticity of the intervertebral discs like cushions, can absorb the weight and impact of the body, so we walk or run and jump without feeling the pain between the vertebrae and bone collision and friction. If there is no intervertebral disc, the strongest spine can not support the weight of the body, and will soon collapse.

The amazing thing about the spine is that there are four physiological curvatures. The spine is vertical and I-shaped from the front, but we see the spine from the side in an S-shape. This S-shape forms the 4 physiological curves of the spine from top to bottom – cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral curves. Of these, the cervical curve is anteriorly convex, the thoracic curve is posteriorly convex, the lumbar curve is again anteriorly convex, and the sacral curve is then posteriorly convex. Without these 4 curves, a person cannot walk upright, and only humans have this characteristic.

What is the role of the human physiological curvature? In addition to keeping the body in balance, there are shock absorption and shock prevention functions. It is like a large spring embedded in the human body, which increases the ability to cushion shock and strengthen postural stability, plus the intervertebral discs can also absorb shock so that we can prevent damage to the skull and brain when performing strenuous exercise or jumping.

The connection of the spine is highly precise, with an error of no more than 1 mm, so a slight flash setback can damage it. Assuming the curvature is straightened, the joints have to be misaligned, and the misalignment will stimulate the spinal nerve or vertebral artery, which will cause related diseases.

Therefore, we must maintain these 4 degrees of curvature. It is also because of these 4 curvatures, the human body with the various spinal joints, that humans have a dance, with a variety of beautiful movements. No matter what action to take, the joints have to follow the movement, there is a joint problem that will not be completed.

In daily life, pay attention to protecting the physiological curvature of the spine. For example, insist on using a shoulder bag, which is to make both sides of the spine evenly stressed; when sitting in the seat, try to pad a comfortable cushion at the waist; when sleeping, choose the right pillow to match the curvature of the neck, which can avoid spinal injuries.

◆ When people reach middle age, the intervertebral discs metamorphose and become shorter, disrupting the relative balance of the spine and leading to the emergence of many diseases. About 80% of vertigo is related to the misalignment of the cervical vertebral joint protrusion.

The spinal canal harbors the spinal cord, which has a diameter of 1 cm and is connected to the brain, and belongs to the same central nervous system as the brain. The nervous system consists of two major parts: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The brain and the spinal cord belong to the central nervous system, while the cerebral, spinal, and vegetative nerves belong to the peripheral nervous system. Among them, the spinal nerves, which are divided from the spinal cord, crawl out from the intervertebral foramina and are divided into anterior and posterior branches, one on the left and one on the right.

There are 31 pairs of spinal nerves leading to and innervating the lungs, heart, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, stomach, large and small intestine, anus, bladder, urethra, uterus, ovaries and all blood vessels, secretion of each organ and gland in the thoracic and abdominal cavities. The spinal cord is a neural pathway that transmits signals. The body snake appropriate action in response to the outside world because external signals are transmitted to the brain through this communication line, and then the instructions given by the brain are transmitted to the extremities and other body endings. In addition, when the body is faced with a critical situation and needs to evacuate in an emergency, the spinal cord functions as a center by omitting the brain’s communication part and directly causing reflex actions to protect the body. On the other hand, the spinal cord is also a plant reflex center that transmits signals from the internal organs and has the function of controlling the normal functioning of the internal organs and blood vessels.

In the spinal family, each member has its division of labor, otherwise, the normal function of the body would be affected. The spine is responsible for protecting the main trunk of human communication, its distribution of neurovascular interlocking dense, is also the necessary path of cerebral blood circulation and can be said to be the human accident-prone area, many diseases are related to vertebral joint synapse misalignment.

After middle age, the intervertebral disc metamorphosis becomes shorter, which accelerates the narrowing of the intervertebral space and the misalignment of the intervertebral synapses, destroying the relative balance of the spine, thus leading to the emergence of many diseases. For example, insufficient myocardial blood supply, coronary artery disease, angina pectoris, chest tightness and shortness of breath, arrhythmia, heart attack, insufficient blood supply to the brain, vertigo, tinnitus, syncope, and stroke are the most frequent diseases that occur in middle age.

The spinal nerve regulates the functional activities of all organs, tissues, organs, blood vessels, glands, bones, ligaments, and muscles of the body. If the intervertebral discs of the spine degenerate and become misaligned in the large and small vertebral joints under certain causative conditions, the relative balance of the human spine will be disturbed as soon as the spinal nerve roots, sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves, vertebral artery, and carotid sinus are stimulated, and the normal physiological functions will be controlled by hyperactivity or inhibition, and eventually lead to disease.

For example, two nerves innervate the stomach, one sympathetic and the other parasympathetic. The sympathetic nerve acts as an inhibitor and the parasympathetic nerve acts as an exciter. In other words, once the stomach has problems, these two nerves have to be regulated. When the sympathetic nerve is excited, the gastrointestinal movement is inhibited; conversely, when the parasympathetic nerve is excited, the gastrointestinal movement is enhanced. If the two nerves are kept in balance, the stomach will not have problems.

How does vertigo occur? The vertebral artery is an important “pipeline” in the body, which passes through the cervical spine to the brain and is responsible for the blood flow to the brain. Any misalignment, enlargement, or degeneration of the cervical spine can injure or affect this blood supply “pipeline”, which in turn affects the blood supply to the brain. Vertigo is caused by the misalignment of occipital-atlantoaxial and atlantoaxial vertebrae, which compresses the third segment of the vertebral artery and causes distortion, resulting in insufficient blood and oxygen supply to the basilar artery of the brain, which leads to a lack of oxygen and blood supply to the brain stem, cerebellum, mesencephalon, and brain, resulting in lack of blood and oxygen to the vagus artery and internal auditory artery, causing tinnitus and hearing loss due to vagus nerve disorder. At the same time, the compression of the superior cervical sympathetic nerve causes vasospasm in the brain, which aggravates the state of cerebral ischemia, so vertigo and other symptoms appear. Therefore, about 80% of vertigo is related to misalignment of cervical vertebral articulations.

Disc metamorphosis and shortening are normal physiological metabolic processes. Generally speaking, intervertebral disc metamorphosis is at its peak between the ages of 42 and 64. Most of what we usually call “menopause syndrome” occurs during this time. Therefore, “menopausal syndrome” is also called “peak disc metamorphosis syndrome”.

Long-term head down is the bane of cervical spondylosis ③

◆ When using the computer, it is best to let the whole hip sitting a full seat, so that the back against the back of the chair, maintains a straight back.  

In recent years, the incidence of cervical spondylosis is getting higher and higher at the same time, there is also a trend of younger onset, which is most evident in primary and secondary school students, and computer people. These people have a common feature, which is that the head and neck are always in a fixed position, with a head-down time of at least 3 hours or more.

The head and neck fixed in a certain posture is the first cause of cervical spondylosis. Among them, the long-term low head is the culprit of cervical spondylosis. When the cervical spine is in a flexed position or some specific position for a long time, the pressure in the cervical intervertebral disc is increased, the neck muscles are in a non-coordinated stress state, the muscles and ligaments in the back of the neck are easily strained and damaged, and the anterior edges of the vertebrae wear and proliferate with each other, which stimulates the spinal nerve and leads to a series of symptoms.

If the cervical spine is in an abnormal bend, it will feel sore in the neck and lower back over time, and even bring about changes in the bones and intervertebral discs, and finally develop into cervical spondylosis.

The spine has four physiological bends, the cervical spine itself also has its physiological bend, in a “C” shape. If you often lie in bed reading, in the words of the people “nesting neck”, the original “C”-shaped cervical spine will slowly straighten, or bend in the opposite direction, becoming “cervical spine anti-arch “.

When people lie down to read a book or watch TV, the neck is bent forward, which will lead to the cervical longitudinal ligament, yellow ligament, interspinous ligament, and supraspinous ligament in a state of tension, and involves the muscles or related muscle groups, there is excessive muscle tension. At this time, the inferior vertebral articulation, which is above, slides to the upper part of the inferior supravertebral articulation, causing the joint surface to be misaligned and the joint capsule to be tense. At the same time, the intervertebral disc, which should be relaxed and recovered by lying on its back, is squeezed at the front because of the forward flexion of the neck, the nucleus pulposus moves back, and the fibrous ring is strained. The long-term result is soft tissue strain, which in turn accelerates the process of metamorphosis of vertebrae, intervertebral discs, and surrounding soft tissues, and eventually cervical spine problems due to pressure on the spinal cord, nerve roots, and vertebral arteries. So, reading in bed, comfortable for a while, pain for life.

Sitting in front of a computer for a long time can cause cervical spine trauma due to fixed posture, and the latent period is 6 months to 10 years. Compared to desktop computers, laptops are more harmful. The monitor of the laptop computer is generally in a relatively low position, compared to the desktop computer is more likely to let people in a face-down state. If you maintain this posture for hours working or surfing the Internet, it will be very obvious to cause a great burden on the neck.

Often sitting in front of the computer, but also on the lumbar spine to cause harm. The upper body leans forward for a long time, and the physiological curvature of the lumbar spine is difficult to maintain, resulting in the normal convex curve straightened or even reverse flexion, and in some cases, scoliosis. Therefore, to protect the health of the spine, we must strictly control the computer Internet, and game time, even the use of computers, but also to maintain the correct posture of the cervical spine.

In the use of computers, you can choose to sit with a high backrest or armrest chairs, it is best to let the whole hip on full seats, so that the back against the back of the chair, maintains a straight back; an average of about half an hour to leave the seat to stretch the limbs; computer screen in front of the line of sight, it is best to pad some, can put three thick books in the monitor below, to avoid neck distortion caused by soreness; sit when not stilted feet, can front and back feet Staggered to maintain a long sitting posture.

Putting a hot water bag on the neck and taking a hot bath are easy ways to take care of your cervical spine. Exercise is also a very effective prevention method, daily jogging or brisk walking, can relax the cervical spine and muscles, thus preventing neck and shoulder pain.

Correct bad habits that damage the lumbar spine ④

◆Inappropriate movements such as standing, standing, sitting and walking can cause damage to the health of the lumbar spine.

The lumbar spine is located in the lower part of the spine and is composed of five vertebrae. The vertebrae of the lumbar spine are larger and thicker than those of the cervical and thoracic spine, mainly composed of cancellous bone, and the outer layer of dense bone is thinner. Because it is connected to the cervical and thoracic vertebrae and the sacral vertebrae, it has to carry a lot of pressure itself.

The lumbar spine is second only to the cervical spine, and its main role is a dorsal extension, forward flexion, and lateral bending, which is the pivot of the human trunk activities. It is also the link between the upper and lower limbs, enabling the lumbar region to maximize the flexibility of the human body and allowing us to stand upright, bend, stoop, and lean back with ease.

The middle section of the lumbar spine (lumbar 3 vertebrae) happens to be located at the apex of the physiological curvature of the lumbar spine, and the transverse process is relatively long, suggesting to us that this is the site where torsion gathers and where the injury is likely to occur. The nerves in the lumbar spine affect the operation of the large intestine, small intestine, kidneys, uterus, urinary system, and other parts of the body, so once the lumbar spine is damaged, diseases related to the above organs are likely to occur.

Incorrect posture position can cause injury to the lumbar spine unknowingly. The most common symptom of injury to the lumbar spine is lumbago, restricted lumbar movement, and some people also feel soreness and numbness in the lumbar hip and lower extremities due to misalignment of the lumbar spine vertebral synapses. Therefore, to protect the lumbar spine, the following bad habits that can easily harm the lumbar spine should be corrected: 1:

1. Fixed a posture does not move

Whether it is the cervical spine, thoracic spine, or lumbar spine, often maintaining a posture of work or study is the most prone to problems. People who often use computers, drivers, and people who love to play mahjong, are prone to lumbar spine problems. Therefore, work and study must be more active activities and more change of posture.

2. Incorrect work and study posture

Daily activities, standing, standing, sitting, walking and other inappropriate movements can cause harm to the lumbar spine health, so be sure to correct this promptly. Some people are accustomed to bending back when walking, the center of gravity shifted back, and two toes inward or outward rotation, resulting in the lumbar muscle force imbalance, lumbago. Some women like to wear high heels, the waist was quite tiring, and standing for a long time will also hurt the waist. Therefore, it is recommended that girls usually better to wear high heels, if they have to wear them, but also let the waist properly reduce the burden of standing for a long time to sit down. There are also people sitting incorrectly, some with crooked bodies, some with bowed bodies. If you do not pay attention to the development of good posture for work and study, and so the lumbar spine joint synapse misalignment, pain appears.

3. The waist is often cold

The waist is the most afraid of cold, cold or damp will cause small blood vessel contraction and muscle spasms, it is easy to make the degeneration of intervertebral disc problems. Especially women should protect the waist, do not wear even the back waist can not cover short clothes. The waist has the kidneys, kidney qi has the role of warming the whole body yang qi, and the normal work of the body is dependent on yang qi to maintain. Once the waist is cold, the kidneys will be damaged, you will feel cold hands and feet, and the body does not have energy. The reason why many women have menstrual cramps has a lot to do with the cold in the waist. Therefore, whether it is spring and summer or autumn and winter, it is important to keep the waist well warm. Many women like to wear windbreakers and tie a wide belt at the waist, which is a good practice, not only fashionable but also to protect the waist, warm waist.

4. Sudden weight-bearing

In the back, lifting, carrying, pushing, lifting heavy objects, and other activities, the lumbar spine is subjected to greater external forces, especially the lower part of the lumbar spine is subjected to greater forces, in addition to the weight of object moved, but also with the size of the object, the way to move the object and lumbar spine bending and other circumstances.

Some people do not care about the weight of things, lift on the shoulder, or directly bend over to move things, is easy to give the waist to a “surprise”. Waist in the case of sudden pressure, it is easy to be injured. Therefore, when carrying something or taking something regularly, be sure to do a preparatory activity, or start with a small weight, bend your legs first, and then bend your waist to take something to prevent lumbar injuries.

Let the neck live in “spring” ⑤

After the neck muscles are stimulated by cold, they contract protectively to avoid excessive heat dissipation. This increases the tension of the neck muscles and creates an imbalance of forces, increasing the risk of cervical spondylosis.

From a TCM point of view, cervical spondylosis belongs to paralysis. Paralysis is a condition in which wind, cold, moisture, summer heat, dryness, fire, and other external evils attack the body and block the meridians, resulting in poor qi and blood flow. One of the main triggering factors for cervical spondylosis is the sensation of wind and cold. The neck is attacked by the cold wind and the wind and cold invade, resulting in the blockage of qi and blood in the neck, as the saying goes, “If it does not pass, it hurts”. At the same time, after the neck muscles are stimulated by cold, they will contract protectively to avoid excessive heat dissipation. This increases the muscle tone of the neck, resulting in an imbalance of force, leading to the narrowing of the cervical space, and compression of spinal nerves and blood vessels, increasing the risk of cervical spondylosis. In cases where the neck has degenerative disease and other pathologies, it is more likely to be induced. Therefore, the neck likes to live in a warm environment and does not like the cold.

When it is cold, many people like to wear standing collars and scarves, whether for fashion and beauty or to protect themselves from the cold, which is a very good habit. I will give you a suggestion: to wear a scarf to wear a slightly thicker scarf, so as not to affect the beauty of the very warm, cervical vertebrae have a very good protective effect. At the same time, it is best to cover the Fengfu point on the Directing Vessel and the Fengchi point on the Gallbladder meridian.

The Fengfu point is at the back of our head, the weakest part of the head, and the most vulnerable to wind evil. It is at the back of the neck, from the edge of the hair right in the middle up, with the thumb and then a horizontal finger. Fengchi, as the name suggests, is the “pool of wind”, and is also the key point to preventing wind. It is under the occipital bone, level with the Fengfu point, in the depression between the sternocleidomastoid muscle and the upper end of the trapezius muscle. When touching the back of the head, you will feel a dimple at the edge of the hair, quite large and obvious, if you push in, you will touch the two hard tendons at the back of the neck, up to the occipital bone, with the thumb to the top, you will feel the point. The two acupuncture points are usually pushed or pressed, which has a very good windproof effect.

Cervical spondylosis is not only easy to recur in autumn and winter, but also in the hot summer, because the hotter the summer, the more people love to use air conditioning. Many people will feel stiff and painful neck after blowing air conditioner.

Some female friends every day in the air-conditioned office, and often wear sling dresses, the neck, and back muscles are easily cold, inducing cervical spondylosis. Therefore, when working in an air-conditioned office, be sure to wear a good coat, but also wear a soft silk scarf; air conditioning should be set at about 26 ℃ is appropriate, if the body sweats, it is best not to blow air conditioning, especially to avoid blowing directly; frequent use of air conditioning to regularly open the window ventilation, to prevent the occurrence of colds.

No matter how hot it is in summer, it is best not to take a shower with cool water. Many people like to exercise in the summer, exercise back, directly into the shower room, pick up the nozzle, and open the cold water poured down. In this way, the cold air from the neck into the body. Therefore, it is best to use hot or warm water to take a bath in the summer. Bathing with warm water is easier to cool down than bathing with cool water.

In summer, many people like to sleep on cool mats, pillow cool pillow, which also has a point. From the point of view of Chinese medicine, the cool mat (such as bamboo or linen material cool mat), and the cool pillow is Yin, night sleep, sweat pores are mostly in a diaphanous state when the wind and cold are easy to invade the body, inducing cervical spondylosis. In particular, people with a cold body should not use a cool mat and do not sleep on a cool mat in an air-conditioned room. If you must sleep on a cool mat, you should also choose a cool mat according to your physical condition, and be sure to lay a sheet on top of it when you sleep; cover a blanket or a thin quilt at night, especially to ensure that your shoulders, spine, and abdomen do not get cold.

Whether it’s a cold winter or a hot summer, all we have to do for the cervical spine is to let it always live in a warm “spring”.

Learn the “spinal health exercise” (6)

Shrug your shoulders often to keep your cervical spine safe. It is best for people who use computers every day to insist on shrugging every day.

Long-term low desk work, the cervical spine for a long time in a flexed position or some specific position, not only to make the internal pressure of the cervical intervertebral disc increased but also makes the neck muscles in a long-term non-coordinated stress state, the back of the neck muscles and ligaments are susceptible to strain, the front edge of the vertebral body mutual wear, hyperplasia, coupled with twisting, lateral flexion excessive, further leading to injury, it is easy to occur cervical spondylosis.

There is a very simple cervical spine health care exercises, especially for those who use computers for a long time to use the office workers: the two arms will be straight to both sides into 9: 15 shape, keep the palms and arms vertical shape, and then the two arms from 9: 15 shape to 10: 10 shape undulation continuously do 200 times, 200 times each morning and evening every day, a month of basic results.

Shrug often, cervical spine to keep safe. For people who use computers every day, it is best to insist on doing the shrugging action every day. When you do it, keep your head straight, lift your chest and neck, with your arms perpendicular to the side of your body, and then shrug your shoulders upwards as much as possible (shrug your shoulders instead of shrinking your neck) to make your neck and shoulders feel sore and swollen. After the shoulders are shrugged up, stop for about 1 second and then sink both shoulders with force. One shrug and one sink is one time, 16 times is one set. Insist on doing 3 to 5 sets every day at work. The cumulative total should aim to reach 100 to 120 times a day. This small action is not limited by place and time, whether in the office or at home can do.

“Diao’s spinal health exercise” is based on modern spinal mechanics, neurology, Chinese medicine meridian science, and according to the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar vertebral segments of the prevalence of spinal pathology and design. It adheres to the concept of preventive medicine in Chinese medicine, “treating the disease before it starts and treating the disease that wants to start”, and is an easy-to-use and effective self-care therapy.

The first action: press and rub the spinous process of the cervical spine, overlapping the two hands, rubbing back and forth in the upper part of the cervical spine, all the way down, overlapping the three fingers, until the largest vertebrae that are the cervical 7 vertebrae when the head is lowered.

The second action: press and knead the cervical spine, this time put the three fingers on both sides of the cervical vertebrae, knead up and down, and knead to the cervical 7 vertebrae under the large vertebrae point. Follow the 8×8 beat to do.

The third action: atlantoaxial spine orthopedic spine, tilt your head up, chin flattened, shake in the direction of the ear tip, shake 4 times this way, 4 times that way, shake after the sound of this is good.

These three movements are most suitable for those who are often sedentary in front of the computer.

There are also some simple and easy-to-learn movements, suitable for all people engaged in office work::

Look back at the moon: maintain a natural standing, eyes flat in front, hands crossed. The head and neck are first stretched to the upper left back to the limit position as if looking back at the moon, then try to pull in this direction, hold for 3-5 seconds, and restore. Then do it again in the opposite direction.

Looking backward: Maintain a natural stance with eyes flat in front and arms crossed. Stretch your head and neck to the lower left back to the limit, look at the lower right back, that is, the position of the heel, and then try your best to pull in this direction, hold for 3-5 seconds, and restore. Then do it again in the opposite direction.

Front extension: maintain a natural stance, eyes flat in front, hands crossed. Head and neck first to the lower left front stretch, eyes looking at the ground below the front, then use the natural droop of the head, jaw forward stretch, try to pull in this direction, hold for 3-5 seconds, and restore. Then do it again in the opposite direction.

This set of movements is easy to learn, and the effect is good. However, for people suffering from severe spinal cervical spondylosis, neck activities prone to vertigo, and acute radicular symptoms, it is best not to practice to prevent the danger.

Adhere to spinal health exercises every day, you can relieve the spinal nerve caused by intervertebral joint disorders, misalignment, compression of the vertebral artery, prevention of scoliosis, correction of spinal synovial misalignment, thus lifting the symptoms of spinal disease in the bud.

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