Gravity and daily activities such as sitting at the computer, driving and carrying children, have the tendency to incrementally pull the spine forward into flexion, which can lead to kyphosis (humping) in the thoracic spine.
Your spine naturally moves in a number of different directions. Kinesiologists categorize the directions as spinal flexion (bending forward), extension (bending back), side bending and twisting.
A well-aligned spine is usually in a neutral upright position, with the natural spinal curves preserved. The natural spinal curves help you to balance your body and help absorb shock that comes from wear and tear, impact and movement.
Rounding of your spine can happen gradually over time, and unless you are very astute about your posture, you might not even notice until it starts becoming extreme, or results in an injury.
According to backandneck.com, the easiest way to prevent back problems due to spinal flexion is to do regular back exercises that strengthen the muscles around the spine to facilitate healthy spinal alignment. Back bending is not a movement that is comfortable for many people, and often times can be fear inducing – when you’re not able to ‘see where you are going.’
Yoga is a weight-bearing exercise, meaning you hold the weight of your body up against gravity. Resisting gravity puts a mild stress on the bones. That stress forces bones to lay down new growth, and helps fight osteoporosis as well.
Yet, unlike some forms of weight bearing exercise, such as jogging and running, yoga won’t damage cartilage or stress the joints. Instead, it lengthens muscles and holds them there, creating tension on the bone and length in the muscle.
A 2011 study conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine showed that a 12-week yoga practice decreased chronic low-back pain better than traditional treatments.
So, scrap the chiropractor and hop on your yoga mat instead for a healthy spine and back!