PappaStrong

A Little Taller This May: The Hows and Whys of a Happy Spine

Oh May. 

 

This is the month that feels as ferocious as September’s Back to School insanity. May’s End of School, however, comes with zero post-summer sunny reserves to help buffer the hustle. AND, at the end of May, you end up with kids home for many months, so there it is: May is more ferocious than September. I’m glad we talked that through.

 

This feels especially relevant to me right now, as I currently log about 5-6 hours a day in the car, commuting here and there and everywhere. Kids needing this and that. No one told me that parenthood was also going to be a part time unpaid taxi driver position on top of your normal full time job that actually pays the bills. And I know a lot of people will say, oh that’s not manageable Courtney, you need to find a solution. Yes, I do, however it’s just what it is right now. And it will change soon enough when my teenager starts driving in omg 6 months. Terrifying, but also, bring it.

 

In any case, the point of this post is not about the struggles of parenthood, but about the stuff I haven’t been doing to physically survive parenthood and my taxi driver position. Namely, taking better care of my spine. As much as I’d like to report that I follow all of my advice about sitting in a car with functional alignment, let’s be real. After hour 2.5 of commuting, I entirely give up into a slumpity slump slump. It happens during my Zoom-y work day too, which means that most of my body’s experience in life is Slumpville lately.

 

I can feel this. I can even see it. The way subtle shifts in my posture affects the way my clothes hang on my shoulders or the way my neck looks after a long day. All in all, I am not invincible to the effects of ignoring my spine’s health even though I have a tried and true habit of working out basically every day. This habit is life changing and life saving, yes, but it’s not powerful enough to override the amount of time I spend slumped. Something has to give or something in my body will give.

 

This is rather poignant for me to admit this month, as we head towards celebrating our 10th anniversary here. 10 years ago, when I first started MommaStrong, it was ALL about retrieving my sense of wellbeing and sanity after yearssssssssss of acute back pain. And the relief and possibility I felt when I discovered small shifts in pain were the motivation I needed to keep going, to do the impossible and make this company a real service to more people. I could have never ever in a million years imagined that my back would get to a place of health such that I could do what I do today. And it’s the ten years of consistency and curiosity – and member accountability – that has gotten me here. 

 

This is all to say that I am bringing my focus back full circle this month to our spines, to what it means to have a happy spine. And while I know this will be an interesting and informative adventure, it will also be bigger than that. In my experience, when I tend to my spine and I allow myself to wander and wobble on the path to supporting it, I also help my nervous system become a bit more balanced and responsive. Standing tall is, yes, a posture we can assume, but it’s more than that. It’s an agreement with your nervous system and your environment that you will take up space and find a way to preserve yourself even in the midst of the conditions of the environment.

 

And that’s the thing about the spine. We can’t control much of what happens in our body, but we can consciously choose to align our spines in a functional way (unique to our individual bodies) even when shit is hitting the fan. We can come back to a place that asks, is this how I need to hold myself? What does my spine need? Even right now, I bet you are sitting up a little taller, giving a little more room to your vertebrae, and rekindling an awareness of the center of you. It’s possible. And, yes, you have structural things to address and pain to remediate and long lived histories of trauma, hiding, uncertainty, stress, relentless caretaking that are included in this process. We won’t forget all of that. But, I will be here with you to remember that it’s worth it to investigate the possibility of putting your spine first and finding a way to move through life that tends to this incredible structure. 

 

SO, join me in this very special and wild month of May, as we tackle the subject of Happy Spines and also celebrate the birth of MommaStrong. We will be addressing a few different themes each week this month, including the nuts and bolts of the anatomy or our spine, common misconceptions of pain and treatment, and how MommaStrong is here to help you feel better and take up more space. AND HOORAY, we will be joined by our own PT Advisor, Stephanie Dillon, to bring a friendly, expert understanding to this part of our bodies.

 

You can sign up today through Monday, May 2nd. You can do that as a current member by logging in to your membership and then clicking Challenges in the teal navigation menu. OR, if you are not yet a member, voila, perfect time to get started. Simply sign up for your 14-day free trial and follow those instructions above. 

 

And in case you are new to our challenges or new to MommaStrong, the way these challenges works is simple: You register and then we deliver weekly content to you that is extremely digestible via a short, engaging, personal podcast between myself and Jya. AND, we encourage you to attempt to show up for 5-15 minutes of movement on your terms every day-ish of the challenge. That is truly it. This delivers TO YOU, rather than asks more from you. 

 

Join us. Celebrate with me this month. Bring a friend or two. Let’s get through May a little taller this year.

 

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