Spinal hygiene is often compared to dental hygiene. Similar to teeth, the spine can develop disorders and deteriorate. The only difference is that if there is dysfunction or decay, it is more difficult to replace the spine than it is to install dentures in someone's mouth. The spine protects the nervous system in the body and the nervous system controls every function in the body. For example, the nervous system tells the body to breathe and it tells the heart to beat which are both vital functions to sustain human life. They also tell the muscle fibers when to fire during movement and when to relax when not moving. Spinal Hygiene Exercises are important because they help prevent spinal dysfunction. When practiced daily these exercises improves posture, repairs and maintains muscular strength, range of motion, and encourages a healthy nervous system. In fact, a study measuring the quality of life (a health-related concept) concludes that spinal hygiene exercises improves the quality of life (Shepard 1).
Spinal hygiene exercises should be done daily as part of a morning and/or evening routine. When practicing spinal hygiene exercises maintain an even breathing pattern, go as far as the body will allow, and notice the body's posture. Are the shoulders elevated? Is the head in a forward position? Is the pelvis tilted forward? Are the knees extended? Become aware of the body and make necessary adjustments whether you are walking, running, sitting, or standing.
Spinal Hygiene Exercises (TWY)
T- Hold arms out with palms up. Squeeze shoulder blades (contracting rhomboid muscles) for 10 seconds. Relax shoulder blades while arms are still out. Repeat 3 times.
W- hold arms out with palms up. Bend arms at the elbows at 90 degrees. Squeeze shoulder blades (contracting rhomboid muscles) for 10 seconds. Relax shoulder blades while arms are still up. Repeat 3 times.
Y- Hold arms up in the air with thumbs back, palms facing each other. Squeeze shoulder blades (contracting rhomboid muscles) for 10 seconds. Relax shoulder blades while arms are still up. Repeat 3 times.
References (Retrieved 8/29/16)
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