The inter-vertebral discs are responsible for 25 percent of our spine’s overall length. Given that the average adult spine measures 24 to 28 inches, the inter-vertebral discs account for six to seven of those inches.
In young individuals, the water-filled, gel-like discs are both firm and flexible. However, by age 40 — earlier than any other connective tissue — the vertebral discs often are showing degenerative changes.
As the disc dehydrates and loses elasticity, the length of the spinal column can shrink by three centimetres or more.
Most of us get shorter as we age.
To resist gravity’s compressive forces, the myoskeletal method uses graded exposure stretches to ease protective guarding, neurologically awaken anti-gravity muscles, and help restore lost body height.
Mother Nature cleverly thickened the anterior and lateral sides, leaving the thinner posterior fibers to absorb lubricating fluids during daily activities and also during sleep.
Strangely, 80 percent of this fluid absorption occurs during the first hour of sleep.
That’s why researchers believe the best resting position for re-hydrating discs is a side-lying fetal position with knees flexed, chin tucked, and lumbar lordosis flattened. This trunk and hip flexed fetal position opens the posterior compartment, allowing the thinner disc endplates to suck in water to nourish the disc.
Corrective exercise also aids in reducing protective muscle guarding and restoring body height as water and nutrients are pumped into injured and spasmodic muscles, ligaments, and intervertebral discs. Not only will your low back benefit, so will your golf swing, along with your ability to walk, run, climb, lift your children, and simply stand tall.