Chiropractic Analysis: Breaking Down Spider-Man

By Sara Butler

Spider Man in New York City

Spider-Man: Homecoming just came out and I must say, it looks pretty good -- a definite improvement over the amazing one’s last movie, that’s for sure. Maybe it’s because of what I do for a living, but every time I watch any type of superhero movie, all I can think about is their posture, which is often less than super. Do you think Peter Parker, no matter how much radioactive spider venom is flowing through his veins, has to pop a couple of pain relievers at the end of the day? Because it sure looks like it to me. In fact, if you’re looking for a perfect example of posture no-nos, look no further than Spider-Man. He may be your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, but he needs to visit his friendly neighborhood chiropractor so that he doesn’t become opioid dependent.

Hyperextension

The world’s favorite web-slinger sure does look flexible! And while staying flexible is great for your spinal health, the hyperextension of the lower back you nearly constantly see Spider-Man doing is bad for you. In fact, movements like that, if tried at home, can cause something the chiropractors at The Joint refer to as spondylolisthesis.

Spondylolisthesis is when the bones in your spine, or vertebra, slip forward. This is a pretty common thing in athletes who hyperextend their spines; think of athletes such as gymnasts, weight lifters, and football players. It can cause them back pain, on and off, their entire lives. Lucky for them, for you, and for Spider-Man, adjustments at the chiropractor can help to manage any pain experienced with this condition. Also, working to improve core muscle strength can help manage the condition.

Even if you don’t suffer from spondylolisthesis, hyperextending your spine is a great way to cause back problems. So, don’t be like Spider-Man when it comes to this!

The Forward Bend

One of the classic Spider-Man poses is the forward bend. This is probably the spider coming out in Spider-Man since it has him crouching down low in a deep bend. Unless you’re in really good shape, as in you are an avid yoga fan, the chance that this position will tie you up in knots is pretty certain.

Not all forward bends are bad for you, though. The child’s pose in yoga is a great example of a pose that is gentle and can help to open up your pelvis and spine. It elongates the spine and opens up the spaces between the joints and discs in the back. It also stretches out the muscles on either side of the spine. Spider-Man could benefit from putting both his arms out in front of him as he bends forward and keep his hips in line. As he normally does it, you can bet old Spidey is seriously regretting ever spinning that particular web!

Forward Head Posture

Spider-Man may be a superhero with some pretty awesome superpowers that he uses for good, but he’s really making a big mistake with all that forward head posture. I mean, just look at him always hanging his head forward!

For every single inch your head moves forward out of neutral alignment, you add 10 pounds of pressure and stress to your spine. This can lead to a myriad of problems, such as headaches, muscle spasms, spinal degeneration, and even decreased lung capacity. That last one will make it pretty difficult to swing from building to building in pursuit of bad guys. It’s important to make an effort to keep your ears over your shoulders, especially when using handheld devices such as your smartphone. Don’t hang your head forward!

It’s still OK to love Spider-Man, but you must realize that even though he may take his Uncle Ben’s advice of “with great power comes great responsibility” seriously, he’s not exactly living up to chiropractic standards. But hey! We can’t all be perfect -- even if we’re the amazing Spider-Man!

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