Basic Physiology and Movements of the Spine
The spine is a long column bone structure comprising of vertebrates — separated into 4 different sections: the cervical spine, the thoracic spine, the lumbar spine and the sacrococcygeal curve, making the particular “S” shape in the back.
The spinal column maintains the structure of the body and supports it, protecting the nerve tissue of the spinal cord, which is composed of multiple nerve fibers (each one of them supports communication between the brain and the rest of the body). The vertebrae are separated from each other by cartilage allowing movement to be smooth and pain-free (the spinal cord is found inside the vertebrae).
The different movements of the spine are flexion (the spine bends forward), extension (the spine is bending upright and backwards), rotation (the torso is rotating towards one side, fixed hips) and lateral flexion (the spine bends to one side, with fixed hips). The Spinal erectors, Abdominals, Latissimus and hip flexors are the major muscle movers amongst others responsible for said motions.
Training and stretching the muscles around the spine helps minimize injuries as immobility and severe back issues like sciatica (happens when the sciatic nerve is compressed, causing pain in the lower body), lordosis (the spine curves inward around the lumbar spine area), or kyphosis (the spine, in the cervical area, is exaggeratedly rounding) can have a severe impact in the long term.
Why train it ? (Benefits)
Apart from minimizing injury and immobility as above here are a few other points to consider;
Training the spinal musculature helps promote and maintain a good posture, reduces back, neck and joint issues while standing up, sitting down and/or moving around during an activity or a sport. Having a functionally flexible spine allows a vast range of movements and prevents stiffness in the joints and lowers the chances of injuries during activities or daily chores.
It is important to keep in mind that most of the movements originate from the spine (moving the head, walking, sitting down, standing up straight, bending over, picking up objects, laying down, etc.) . Keeping the spine healthy, strong and mobile will ensure everyday life activities and sports are pain-free and that the body (the spine) is not restricted in its movements.
*Informational purposes only. It is advised to seek Professional attention before beginning any exercise or nutritional program.