Get into Extension!
Updated: Dec 17, 2019
Something that we are constantly preaching at the office is EXTENSION! Now why is this so important? First let’s look at the anatomy…
The spinal cord flows down through the spinal canal in our spine. It has two major attachment sites, at the base of the skull and the sacrum, otherwise known as the base of the spine. It tethers at these two locations, meaning that depending on how our body is positioned will affect the amount of tension and torsion applied to the spinal cord.
When the body is in flexion the spinal cord has the highest amount of tension. In extension the cord has the least amount of tension.
Another piece of anatomy worth mentioning in the sympathetic chain ganglia. “Wait the what?!”
That’s right the sympathetic chain ganglia. A ganglia is a group of neurons. Neurons are cells specialized to the nervous system, that carry electrical impulses from one cell to the next. The word ‘sympathetic’ refers to our fight or flight division of the nervous system. So in its entirety the sympathetic chain ganglia is a chain of neuron groups specialized to the fight or flight nervous system.
Now what’s so important this sympathetic chain ganglia? Well, it actually lines the vertebral column on the inside the chest cavity. The location is key because when we are in flexion we are actually stimulating our sympathetic nervous system due to additional pressures on this area.
When we add more extension into the spine we are decreasing the compression on the sympathetic chain ganglia and tension on the spinal cord. This naturally puts the body in a more relaxed parasympathetic or rest and digest state. It also helps the counter all of the repetitive flexed postures that we hold throughout the day (sitting at a desk, breastfeeding, eating, gardening, etc.).
One of the best and easiest ways to get into extension is to lie on a yoga block or foam roller at home.
Simply place the yoga block between the shoulder blades and lie over it on the floor making sure there is no pinching sensation in the lower back when doing this.
Extend arms out to the side to help open up and stretch the pec muscles.
Start on the block for a few minutes and gradually increase the time.
If you'd like to learn more about chiropractic and how it can help you add more extension to your life feel free to call or book a complimentary consult.