Isn’t it strange that we are called “vertebrates,” and yet we rarely think about our vertebrae – i.e., our spine? Forgetting about the spine is a very old habit of ours; though anatomy theaters were filled with articulated skeletons by the late sixteenth century, most Renaissance medical and anatomical studies focused on the skull and limbs rather than the spine.

In the winter of 1510-11, Leonardo Da Vinci was at the University of Pavia near Milan, where he was able to take part in 20 autopsies that allowed him to make a host of pioneering observations of the mechanics of the body. Though they went unpublished for generations, he made the very first accurate drawing of the spinal column, capturing the delicate curve and tilt of the spine, and the snug fit of one vertebra into another.

Da Vinci drawing of the spine

figure drawings

Our sedentary modern lifestyle causes most of us to forget our spine. Since movement is literally the “backbone” of athleticism and life, and the spine is the foundation of all movement, we would do well to remember the spine. We need to change our daily habits of movement so that we restore the spine we were given at birth. Much attention has been given lately to the dangers posed by excessive sitting, both to our spine, and to our overall health as well.

Everyone desires freedom of movement, and the wisdom of the body has arranged it so that all of our multiplicity of movements ultimately depends on the most immobile part of our skeleton – the spine.

Maintaining that mobility requires us literally to re-member our spine, to both be conscious of it as an independent segment of our body needing its own exercise and care, and to integrate its health into our overall exercise and activity regime.

If you are having back pain and believe that it is an issue of your vertebral column, there are new non-invasive diagnostic techniques we can provide. Just set up an appointment with one of our orthopedists for a consultation.

Movement is what we should strive to do all the time, moving as well and as often as possible. This will allow us to have fewer injuries, live longer, and have more productive lives. Our spine truly is the backbone of our lives.

So, remember the spine!

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