Introduction to Pilates for People with Spinal Fusions

Head, Neck, & Shoulders Information

Kapandji IA. The physiology of the joints. 6th ed. Vol. 3. Churchill Livingstone; 2008

According to Kapandji (Physiology of the Joints, Volume III), “For every inch the head moves forward it can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds.”  This happens because of gravity as the head moves forward into a position of increased load on the spine.  Frequently this posture also involves the shoulder blades moving away from the spine, the muscles in the mid back and deep cervical (neck) stabilizers becoming inhibited or over lengthened, as well as the muscles in the chest and the upper back becoming tight and short.

These inefficiencies can result in loss of lung capacity, headaches, as well as upper back and neck tension.  Modern day living contributes to and encourages this posture.  Mindfulness around such posture particularly benefits those of us with scoliosis and spinal fusions.  For those with scoliosis, the rounding forward into hyperkyphosis puts the spine in a position of maximum rotation and encourages the scoliotic pattern.  Those with spinal fusions might also consider the strain placed on adjacent segments above the fusion.