The Importance of Spinal Stability
In everyday situations, good control of both flexion (leaning forward) and extension (leaning backward) of the spine is important. Flexion is particularly important in many activities of daily life, such as work, exercise, and even passive leisure activities such as reading.1–4
In some cases of degenerative spinal disease, surgery becomes necessary. Surgical decompression of the lumbar spine involves the careful removal of soft tissue and bone that are compressing nerves and causing pain. Usually, surgical decompression improves symptoms in the short term. However, the removal of soft tissue and bone sometimes increases spinal instability, particularly when the spine is in flexion. Such instability can lead to symptoms returning and even getting worse.
1. White AA, Panjabi MM. Clinical Biomechanics of the Spine, Second Edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1990.
2. Benzel E. Biomechanics of Spine Stabilization. American Association of Neurological Surgeons (distributed by Thieme New York), 2001.
3. Morlock MM, Bonin V, Deuretzbacher G, Müller G, Honl M, Schneider E. “Determination of the in vivo loading of the lumbar spine with a new approach directly at the workplace – first results for nurses.” Clin Biomech 2000, 15(8): 549-558.
4. Bible JE, Biswas D, Miller CP, Whang PG, Grauer JN. “Normal functional range of motion of the lumbar spine during 15 activities of daily living.” J Spinal Disord Tech. 2010, 23(2): 106-112.