Ligaments, tendons and muscles are like small ropes that help stabilize and balance the spinal column. Spinal ligaments connect bone to bone, help hold vertebrae in place, and limit movement to help prevent injury. (Fig. 1) The spine's tendons connect bone to muscle and serve as anchors to aid muscles when they contract during joint movement. (Fig. 2)Fig 1:
Each spinal structure works together as a team to balance the spine at rest and during movement. The spinal muscles are important. Building and preserving spinal strength is central to staying healthy and active at any age. When there is an injury our nervous system inhibits the function of some muscles.
In exactly the same way that vertebrae, tendons, ligaments and muscles are supporting the whole upper body and protecting the spinal canal which houses the spinal cord, so too does the upper body with its ribcage, connecting tissues and muscles protect the organs.
In order for all of these facets to work as designed and to provide the security and mobility needed in our daily lives, it is important that they be held in the ideal physical position at all times – whether walking, running, sitting or lying. So when you slouch, every aspect of the above mentioned needs are going to be affected and none of them – whether they be situated outside or inside the body – will be able to function efficiently.
Let us name a few examples:
- Slouching and round shouldered – will adversely affect your walking (you will not be able to lift the feet off the ground as well as when you stand upright) thus inviting the possibility of tripping and falling.
-Head slouched forward with the chin tucked in to the chest – adversely affects your ability to swallow, chew & breathe.
-Both of the above will change the distribution of your weight – you will then avoid placing excess pressures on the lumber spine (particularly on the vertebrae L3 – L4), the pelvis, knees and ankles, which will create pain and joint problems that will become very difficult to overcome.