Your IQ that's measured in school has to do with problem solving -
mental gymnastics. Your spinal IQ also has to do with problem solving -
these are "problems" of the physical kind.
How far to bend over
to lift those grocery bags out of your car's trunk? How much muscle
force is necessary to pick up and carry your five-year-old child? What
specific muscles are needed to maintain your "downward dog" position
for 30 seconds in yoga class? How far can your back muscles stretch
when you do a back bend at the ballet barre? These are the problems
your spinal IQ tries to solve.
Spinal IQ is an inborn ability.
Our bodies were designed for the rigors of physical work - they are
very smart and very adaptable. One of our built-in control systems is
the specialized set of nerve endings known as proprioceptors.
Proprioception is our internal awareness of position in three-dimensional space.1,2
This three-dimensional positioning allows us to keep our balance when
we walk or run. Proprioception tells our muscles and joints how to work
together to throw a baseball from third to first, to drive to the
basketball hoop and sink a lay-up, or to hit a tennis ball to the
corner of the opponent's service box and win the point.
is very important in spinal IQ. The spine is a complex system of bones,
joints, muscles, and ligaments - a smart proprioception system helps
all the parts work together smoothly and seamlessly.
To keep all
the parts functioning we need to take an active role. In modern
society, if we're not proactive, it's easy for our bodies to break
down. Two key strategies for maintaining high levels of spinal IQ are
regular strenuous exercise and regular chiropractic check-ups.
Exercise helps our bodies stay smart.3
When we exercise, our joints are mechanically stressed and challenged
throughout their complete ranges of motion. This activity stimulates
proprioceptors - training them to do their job well and building new
and stronger connections between nerve cells. Exercise also builds
muscle strength and flexibility, and in the process the muscles are
getting smarter, too.
Chiropractic care enhances the benefits of
your exercise program by helping ensure optimal functioning of your
spine and nerve system. With regular chiropractic care, your
proprioceptive system is optimized and your body's ability to adapt to
physical challenges is restored.
Your chiropractor will be glad
to assist you in designed an exercise program that will work for you,
helping you to improve your spinal IQ and your health.
1Armstrong B, et al: Head and neck position sense. Sports Med 38(2):101-117, 2008
DH, et al: Changes in spinal curvature and proprioception of schoolboys
carrying different weights of backpack. Ergonomics 50(12):2148-2156,
3Akuthota V, et al: Core stability exercise principles. Curr Sports Med Rep 7(1):39-44, 2008
| Core Strengthening
and Spinal IQ
In the old days, no one talked about core strengthening. Football
players, ballet dancers, and gymnasts went to practice and class and
did what they did. We now know that much of what these highly trained
athletes were doing was designed to strengthen their core musculature.
core muscles include your deep abdominal muscles and your deep spinal,
pelvic, and hip muscles. Core muscles are trained by large, compound
movements that use your body's own weight as a gravitational load.
Squats, push-ups, pull-ups, and jumping jacks are all excellent core
Again, decades ago athletic coaches never talked
about core exercises. They just knew these basic, fundamental exercises
were critically important for their students' success.
important core exercises include the plank, pelvis press-ups, and the
scorpion. Your chiropractor will be able to help you select a group of
core exercises that will work for you.