Muscles act as “guy wires”- Co-contraction stabilizes the spine Cadaver
spine with muscles removed will buckle under 90 N (20 lb.) of compressive load! Low Back Disorders: Evidence-Based Prevention and Rehabilitation. (McGill) Human Kinetics.
There are two important muscle types of our body. One group of muscles are the visible big mover muscles, the ones we look in a mirror and see, like our gluts, our quads, our chest, the other group is the underappreciated, misunderstood postural muscles. In fact, studies show that when the postural muscles are weak, you are more likely to injure your back. These are key muscles that protect your spine and keep it from slipping during normal everyday movements. Think of the vertebrae of the spine as breaker switches. If these are switched off or out of alignment the power goes off to the muscles. As a result normal everyday activates of moving and lifting are more likely to cause injury or pain because the nerve power is being choked off by the misaligned vertebrae. Some doctors refer to this as a pinched nerve. In order to be choked off to the point of pain studies show there has to be 60% reduction in nerve function. This study was done by Dr. Suh at the University of Colorado. Imagine simply taking pain medication and allow this nervous system pressure to continue. Makes since why there is such a high recurrence of back pain in patients who treat symptoms with medication.Big IDEA: Getting the atlas back into place turns the power on to these muscles. Many times people have these muscles turned off simply because the upper bone (master switch is in the off position) so allthe exercise in the world won’t fully turn these muscles on and injury is more likely. However, turning the atlas on and strengthening these muscles helps keep you in alignment longer. A quick way to see if your atlas is out of alignment is to lay on a firm surface like the floor. If you feel one side of your pelvis is elevated you likely have your upper bone in your neck out of alignment. Another check is to alternately lift your legs when lying down and see if one leg feels heavy. These tests can indicate that you have pressure on your brainstem from at atlas misalignment. Following an upper cervical adjustment you will feel the muscles in your low back relax and the weight of the legs become equal because the pressure is removed from your brainstem.