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Experience Well-Being By Paying Attention to Your Spine

The summer months tend to spur many people in to more vigorous exercise and fitness routines. The spine is the foundation for all of this increased activity, and you may be surprised at how interrelated spinal health and the overall quality of your life are. Read on to learn more about how your mental and emotional states can affect your body, and vice versa.

1. Function
Pretty much all physical movements are generated by the spine, and the biggest stress on the spine comes from using the arms and legs. It’s important to make sure that every component of the spine, including the bones, discs, muscles, ligaments, and the neural control system are all functioning as best they can. A study conducted at Akita University in Japan found that spinal range of motion had the highest correlation with quality of life compared with other factors such as spinal fractures and spinal angles. Additionally, spinal mobility has a strong influence on overall quality of life. Other research has shown that people with better spinal health experience more joy and happiness, less risk of falls, and lower rates of mortality

2. Emotion
The ability to experience and convey emotion is often manifested in posture. A person slumped over in their chair does not seem to be having a great day; a person standing up straight with their shoulders back seems happy and confident. Research from Johns Hopkins shows that the highest concentration of the chemicals that signal emotion (neuropeptides) are in the spinal cord. The next time you are feeling down, try improving your posture and notice how it affects your demeanor.

3. Sense of Self
The story of your place in the world will determine how you interact with others, how you view yourself in comparison to other members of your community, and the actions and behaviors you choose. Any life event, whether joyful or painful, is stored in the mind and thus transferred to the body through spinal structures. Positivity and negativity will have a huge impact on how you see yourself and how you outwardly express those feelings, so choose wisely.

4. Behavior
Our external behavior is a representation of the internal story discussed above. We can create new internal feelings by changing the structure of the spine. Thus, we can be aware of and change our behavior to patterns that work for us rather than against us.

5. Consciousness
Paying attention to the body will allow you to develop a greater sense of internal/emotional awareness. Wherever you put your attention, you cannot help but create a greater sense of awareness and understanding around it. 

So, what level of function do you want to experience in your body and your life? With any new skill, it’s going to take time to practice to experience lasting change. 


Consult your primary care physician with any questions or concerns about your health. 

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