The back and neck tolerate poorly maintained postures. If we are in the same position for a long time the body suffers, this is true especially if the postures are forced.
The neutral positions are those in which the joints are relaxed, there is no tension in the capsule surrounding the joint or in the ligaments that stabilize it, the joint fluid is with the low pressure with the joint space to the maximum and the muscles do not Are in contraction being the basal muscle tone that maintains the posture.
For each joint this posture is different. The vertebral column is formed by many vertebrae that in turn have many articulations so the definition we gave before would be too idealistic. Even so we can approach. Let’s analyze the neck and back separately.
– The neck. A neutral position in the neck we have when we are erect and the head is in balance with the column. We are looking forward, with the neck not turning, with the head in balance so that it does not fall back or forward. It would be like seeing a seal holding a ball in the nose, just balance. In this position the neck will hold longer with less risk of fatigue and injury. Any variation of this posture increases the risk and decreases the time that we should be like this. Not all forced postures are the same, certainly looking up will be the most detrimental to the neck.
There is a detail about which little we can act. Not all people will have the same ability to have a favorable neutral position. The anatomy of the neck varies greatly from one person to another. For example, if we have a very pronounced curve in the dorsal area, the neck needs a more pronounced curve to keep the head in a neutral position (cervical hyperlordosis).
– The back. Here the thing is complicated a little. I will speak again of the back in an upright position, clarifying the differences of sitting or standing. The postures lying down are the subject of other posts where we will speak in detail of all this.
Being standing or sitting, the dorsal area has a neutral position that depends on two factors mainly: One would be the development of the curve that we have during growth. If the anatomy of the vertebrae develops to have a very pronounced curve, the muscles will have to act in excess, the basal tone will not be sufficient to maintain the posture. It can also cause a forced lumbar stance to compensate for and bring the center of gravity to the midline. The second factor is the degree of dorsal musculature. If we have a very developed dorsal musculature, the dorsal area will have a greater balance and the anatomical defects will be compensated.
Maintaining a favorable neutral posture of the lower back (lumbar region) depends on more things given that it is lower, supports more weight and has less margin of error to maintain the balance of the body. As we have said before, it affects the anatomy of the dorsal and cervical area. If these curves are very pronounced, the lumbar area will exaggerate your curve to keep us in balance. But it is also very important how the pelvis is positioned. In the lumbar zone comes a third fundamental factor, elasticity. Not that the elasticity in the other regions is not important, it is that they will influence less on the curvature and in achieving a healthy neutral position. To simplify a little, if we have a good elasticity in the psoas and in the hamstrings, And we have a competent muscle in the abdominals and lumbar extensors, the neutral position of our lumbar area will be in the best possible situation. This is just as true if we are sitting. A poor elasticity of the hamstrings drags the pelvis when we sit and places the lower back in a forced position.
In short, if we maintain neutral postures we can be more time without forcing the back. When we have to be in positions other than these, we must be very careful to take breaks and not keep them for long. It is a post a little theoretical but we will comment this in every situation of life in other posts on the web. As for the development of the back during growth we will explain the diseases and deformities that can occur and how we can prevent and act on them.
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