The spine or vertebral column is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae stacked on top of each other to form a column.
The 33 vertebrae are stacked as follows: 7 cervical (neck), 12 thoracic (chest), 5 lumbar (lower back), 5 fused as 1 sacrum, 4 fused as 1 coccyx (tailbone).
Two consecutive spinal bones are cushioned and protected by a tough, fibrous disc called
the intervertebral disc. These discs facilitate smooth spinal movement and act as shock absorbers from daily activity.
The spine protects the spinal cord – the extension of the nervous tissue from the brain, and provides access for the spinal nerves to exit and innervate the various limbs and organs of the human body.
The normal spine is not ‘straight’ – but a straight spine has three natural curves called spinal curvatures that form an S-shape. The spine is kept erect with the help of strong muscles and ligaments. But muscles, along with good posture help in maintaining the natural curvature of the spine and ensure its wellbeing.
The two main muscle groups that keep your spine in good health are the back muscles and the muscles in front of the body, including the abdominal muscles.
Poor posture and improperly conducted daily activities often put considerable strain on the spine in addition to regular wear & tear.
Common injuries include back pain and strain, disc bulges, prolapsed herniation, swayback, hunchback and scoliosis.
Yoga helps in physically strengthening the muscles in the back as well as the core. It considerably improves overall posture.
A mindfulness approach in daily activities reduces the possibility of new injuries as well as limiting further aggravation of existing ones.
Diet plays a big role since a good nutritional profile is essential to avoid extra weight strain
on the spine.
Adequate hydration, especially in summer and after practice, ensures optimal hydration and suppleness of the body’s tissues including the intervertebral discs.