What's the Purpose of Your Back?
By Sara Butler
The question of what purpose your back serves may seem like a simple one, but the truth is it’s as complicated as your back is! The first step to caring for your back for life is to understand why it’s so important to your overall health. Here are a few of the things you should know about your back and how your chiropractor can help you to keep it in great shape!
The Two Purposes
The two main purposes of your back are:
- To support your arms and legs
- To protect your spinal cord
This is obviously an important job because it helps you to move and walk around, and it also helps to protect your spinal cord. That last one is a biggie since the health of your spinal cord has an impact on your overall health.
Your back also has three curves in it, one backward curve in the middle back and two forward curves in the lower back and neck. These curves work to evenly distribute your weight, which is why if one curve is flattened by too much weight placed on it, then the ligaments and muscles surrounding it become fatigued from trying to keep it in line. Any way that your curves aren’t supported can cause problems because your weight won’t be distributed evenly.
A Few Myths
There’s a lot of information out there about the spine and not all of it is true. If you want to support your back, then it’s important to understand what is true and what isn’t. Your chiropractor is an awesome resource for information about your spine, but here are a few of the more common prevailing myths out there:
- If something is wrong, it’ll hurt – This one simply isn’t true. There can be a lot going wrong with your back and it may be weeks, months or years before you experience pain because of it. If you ever have restricted movement or discomfort in your arms, shoulders or legs, then you might have a spinal issue that a chiropractor needs to look at.
- If you hurt your back, you should rest – If you have a minor injury, then bed rest may actually make your problem worse. Stay active unless the pain is so bad that you simply can’t move. And see your chiropractor as soon as possible.
- If your back is sore, then apply heat – If you’ve injured your back then heat may make it worse. After an injury, you should always treat the area with ice to prevent inflammation.