As in most things in this world the shape of a thing usually determines the way it works.
The arch in a bridge gives it support and allows it to stay up and carry the weight of a freight train.
The arch in the human lower back likewise gives it support as well as the ability to be flexible and hold up the entire body all at the same time.
We humans, however, spend a large amount of our day bent over forwards instead of backwards.
This has the result of weakening that arch so it no longer supports us.
Being bent forwards has another, hidden side effect which is to cause the disc spaces in the lumbar spine to open up on the back-side of the spine instead of the front of the spine.
This may not seem like all that big a deal, but it is.
Your spinal nerves are in the back of the spinal column. When you lean forwards you are opening the disc spaces up and causing the disc material to migrate back towards the nerves.
When you lean backwards, the disc spaces open up in the front and the disc can then migrate to the front and away from the nerves.
Think of it this way – if you step on a ketchup packet from a fast food restaurant, where does the ketchup squirt out? It migrates and goes to the side you’re not standing on. Likewise with your lumbar disc. Lean forwards and the disc goes back.
It’s unlikely that you’re going to greatly change your life so you don’t sit anymore or bend forwards anymore but you can protect yourself from the effects of bending forwards too much by spending some time each day forcing yourself to bend backwards. Even briefly will help.
Here’s an idea that will help: Lay face down and then raise yourself up on your elbows leaving your hips down. Stay like that for a minute or two and then raise up higher like you’re doing a push-up but do not lift your hips off the bed or wherever you’re lying. Stay like that for a minute or two and then get up and go about your day. Repeat this a couple of times each day and you will be helping to keep the disc contents off of your nerves. If you are having leg pain you will find this brings some relief.
If you have any questions about this please feel free to write or call in at 845-297-6688.