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Decompressing Your Spine

Chiropractic Care Can Help Improve Your Coordination, Balance and Flexibility

Coordination, balance and flexibility are innate human functions which give grace and beauty to our physical actions.

Even if you are not a professional athlete, you can still enjoy functioning at the peak of your own individual capabilities.

Chiropractic can help you achieve this by making sure that your central mechanism of coordination balance and flexibility (your spinal column and related musculature) is functioning at maximum efficiency.

Chiropractic care can help you achieve your best performance - improving your overall health, enhancing your creativity and optimizing your physical abilities.

Your spinal column has intervertebral discs (IVDs) that make up a quarter of this segmented structure's entire length. That works out to a total combined height, of all your spinal discs, that is about six or seven inches. As time goes on, the IVDs start to lose more of their water content, causing the discs to shrink. This is usually one of the reasons people lose some height as they age.

The majority of jobs today require an abundance of sitting. For many jobs, workers sit virtually all day long, five days a week. When you're sitting or standing in an unchanging position, gravity bears down on your spine at a constant rate of 32 ft/s2.  Over time, this unrelenting force will compress the spine making each disc thinner.
It is important to do what we can to reverse the trend of disc compression and expand our discs back up instead - restoring our spinal discs, improving our posture, and regaining any lost stature.  We can do this by engaging in activities that decompress the spine and help restore fluids to our IVDs.
Yoga is one such activity that can provide a multitude of health benefits, which also includes decompressing the spine.1,2,  When done correctly, all yoga postures create a lengthening effect in the spine, particularly when you make each posture active - focusing on lengthening the muscles of your core during each pose.

Even taking a yoga class just once each week can result in noticeable benefits, which often includes a sense of being taller. The spinal decompression that results from regular yoga practice will help increase your coordination, balance, and flexibility.  Yoga can also be done easily in your own home.  You will only need a small amount of space and a rubber mat to get started.  Many people enjoy following along to specially produced yoga workouts on DVD.  If you're just starting out, choose one that is designed for beginners, and be careful not to overdo it.  Beginners will especially benefit from taking at least a few classes with a good teacher though, because they can correct your form and help you to learn how each posture is supposed to feel.  Regular, long-term yoga practice can be very beneficial, especially to your spine.

As wonderful as yoga practice can be though, it is not for everyone.  If you already have a significant amount of disc compression and are having any neck or back pain, or pain radiating into any of your extremities, it is vital to have a full chiropractic evaluation first.  If you have a herniated disc or other significant spinal problems, your doctor may recommend a sequence of decompression traction, which is very effective in helping to restore the compressed and herniated discs in many cases.

1Jeng CM, et al: Yoga and disc degenerative disease in cervical and lumbar spine: an MR imaging-based case control study. Eur J Spine 20(3):408-413, 2011
2Williams K, et al: Evaluation of the effectiveness and efficacy of Iyengar yoga therapy on chronic low back pain. Spine 34(19):2066-2076, 2009

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