Does Your Spine Shrink As You Get Older?… And Does It Really Matter If It Does?

Many patients ask, “…do people shrink when they get older?”  Even more curiously, does our height vary throughout the day and, what causes it to change?  The answer to the first question is “yes,” but how does this occur?

During the course of any given day, the intervertebral disks of the spine, those shock-absorbing sponge-like structures that lie between the vertebrae, absorb or lose water ,which leads to an increase or a decrease in our vertical height, respectively.

This property is called “viscoelastic creep,” and determines our overall stature, which can result in a reduction of 19.3mm (1.1% of our stature) in height between morning and night / end of the day.

Very little of our total daily loss in height is due to other non-disk soft tissue structures.

Interesting, 19% of this loss occurs during the first 5 minutes of sitting.

We can increase height by laying on the stomach and bending backwards. This can increase our total spine height 5.2mm, of which 2.1mm comes from the low back area alone.

The angle and optimum length of time held in extension (sagging push-up position) to increase spinal height is 20 minutes at 20 degrees.

One research group using a group of 20-30 year olds, started by laying for 10 minutes followed by sitting in a fixed position for 5 minutes with loading using 4.5kg sand bags placed on the shoulders and were measured for loss in height.

They were then sat back down without loading with measurements taken at one minute intervals for 5 minutes followed by loaded sitting for 5 minutes.  Again, spinal height was measured and they were then randomly assigned to a sagging push-up group or, a supine hook-laying position (laying on the back, hips flexed 90 degrees and knees flexed 65 degrees for 10 minutes after which spinal height was re-measured.

        This was repeated using the opposite exercise position on each subject.  The results revealed almost all of the loss resulting from sitting and loaded sitting was regained in both of the two exercise positions, slightly favoring the laying on the back/hip-knee flexed position. 

No significant difference in disk height loss/spine height was appreciated comparing the loaded vs. non-loaded sitting positions or between men vs. women subjects.  The body mass index did not seem to alter the results either.


It’s no secret that many of us spend a significant portion of time sitting.

It is also a well known fact that the pressure measured in the lower back disks when comparing sit, stand, and lying positions reveal sitting places 2x the pressure in the disk as does laying, with standing somewhere in the middle.

Also, comparing 4-leg animals to 2-leg animals, disk degeneration starts significantly earlier in the 2-leg animal population.

While we can’t expect anyone to walk on all fours, these findings suggest it would be prudent to “take the load off” periodically throughout the day.

If we all performed 10 minutes of either extension or flexion exercises as described here, we might be able to slow down the process of disk degeneration.

If we’re currently struggling with spinal problems, this suggestion may be all the more justified.  Further research is required before these conclusions can be considered more than theory.

        Our advice is, try it, and see how you feel!

At this clinic, we take pride in providing accurate, up-to-date information about research.  If you, a family member or a friend require care, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services.

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Good morning! Check out this article by Dana Poblete! I agree!

Why Salad Might Not Be The Best Choice After All

September 24, 2015
by Dana Poblete for Thrive Market

Why Salad Might Not Be The Best Choice After All

Have you heard? Salad is Public Enemy No. 1 right now—much to the dismay of faithful dieters everywhere, and a delight to all of its naysayers.
Let’s be totally honest: How often have we sat down to lunch and stared into a pile of lettuce wishing it would morph into something more tantalizing? Plenty. But the health benefits are worth the sacrificial sad salad of iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, and a few carrot shavings, right? Wrong.

Salad is a sly one at inspiring the health halo effect. But its role in the human diet and the environment is anything but angelic. Lettuce is little more than a glorified garnish to heaps of other fillers like celery and cucumbers, and all too often, these ingredients swim in high-calorie dressing with the sodium content of a salt lick. And just because a salad is green, doesn’t mean it’s green. Lettuce alone requires its fair share of water and fossil fuels to get from farm to table, where it delivers only a nominal amount of nutrition.
But don’t get us wrong; salad can often be a smart and satisfying meal option. Here are six do’s and don’ts to ensure a sad salad will never be had again.

Do it yourself.

Don’t pat yourself on the back for ordering a Cobb salad from a chain restaurant.
A typical California Cobb salad—topped with bleu cheese, ranch, and bacon—from a national chain restaurant could have as much as 1,030 calories and a whopping 1,680 milligrams of sodium. A safer way to ensure a healthier salad: Make it at home where you can handpick the most nutritious ingredients and control the portions.

Do start with nutrient-rich greens.

Don’t stick to plain lettuce.
In 2011, lettuce was grown on 206,000 acres of California’s 25.3 million acres of total farm land. That’s a lot considering it’s only slightly more nutritious than water, which comprises about 96 percent of each leaf. Okay, all vegetables are mostly water—but still, iceberg lettuce pales in comparison to other greens like kale and spinach when it comes to nutritional value. (One hundred grams of spinach contains 188 percent of daily requirements for vitamin A and 47 percent for vitamin C, compared to the same amount of iceberg lettuce, which provides 10 percent and 5 percent, respectively.)
And have you tasted iceberg lettuce? We haven’t. (Get it?) Try arugula, also known as rocket, for a salad with a peppery bite. Better nutrition and more flavor just from ditching plain old lettuce? Sounds like an easy win.

Do throw in tons of colorful vegetables.

Don’t throw together a bunch of garnishes.
Just like lettuce, cucumber and radishes contain very little nutrition on top of high water density compared to other vegetables. Some people claim celery is a negative-calorie food, meaning it may require more energy to digest than the energy it actually delivers to the body. Although this is a controversial point, why load a salad with fillers when there are a rainbow of vegetables out there that can pack essential vitamins and minerals into a single meal?
Be adventurous and add in some sautéed Brussels sprouts or mushrooms, or roast some sweet potatoes to mix into a salad for plenty of nutrition and an added dimension of flavor and texture. Sweet potatoes are among the vegetables with the lowest water content (about 77 percent). Plus, cooked vegetables are typically easier to digest than a fully raw salad.

Do add healthy protein.

Don’t add processed protein.
The easy way to salad nirvana is to pile on barbecued or fried chicken strips, maybe a handful of cheese, and a dollop of sour cream. It’s tempting, but it’s a quick way to negate the whole point of eating salad. Instead, go for a healthy dose of protein in the form of a hard-boiled egg. Sustainable tuna and wild-caught salmon are also great options, and provide essential omega-3 fatty acids. For vegetarians and vegans, try flaxseeds, which also contain omega-3s, as well as legumes like garbanzo beans. If you gotta have the cheese and the sour cream, opt for organic, and do it in moderation.

Do experiment with homemade dressings.

Don’t reach for store-bought ranch or bleu cheese every time.
We get it—sometimes it feels like only excess amounts of oil and croutons can save a salad. But one serving of bleu cheese dressing can contain about 142 calories and 280 milligrams of sodium—more than all the rest of the salad ingredients combined, in some cases. A simple homemade citrus vinaigrette made with extra virgin olive oil, champagne vinegar, lemon juice and zest, cracked black pepper, and sea salt will do the trick. Keep dressing portions to two tablespoons.

Do compost uneaten salad.

Don’t throw it in the garbage.
It’s easy to be overly ambitious about a commitment to eating salad; greens can turn into slime quickly in the fridge when we’re rushing to and from work and enjoying more decadent lunches and dinners out. That may be why 1 billion pounds of lettuce ends up in landfills each year. If salad ingredients go to waste, don’t throw them in the garbage; it’s destined to rot in a landfill, releasing methane into the atmosphere. Instead, make an effort to compost your greens so that they can go right back into the soil. Ultimately, be mindful of how much lettuce and other produce you will realistically eat.

If you’ve been looking for a reason to pass on the salad, go ahead and skip it in favor of another nutritious, veggie-heavy meal like a stir fry or veggie bowl.

But if you wholeheartedly love it, or a salad is the most conscientious option next to a double cheeseburger and fries, go for a big bowl of greens. Just go the extra mile and choose your salad ingredients wisely.
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If you are like many people, you sometimes (or often) experience the syndrome commonly diagnosed as "IBS" (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or "SIBO" (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth). The symotoms include bloating, constipation, diarrhea, urgency and nausea. These are common complaints I help my patients resolve all the time!

But as many of you know, for this practitioner, the learning never stops!

Last night I had the privilege of attending a lecture regarding the newest methods of diagnosis and treatment for this often difficult to treat syndrome.


IBS has now gone from a functional disorder with no known cause or being caused by psychological stress, to an autoimmune disease that results after a bout of food poisoning. The bacteria, like Campylobacter jejuni, release Cytolethal distending toxin, which triggers an immune response and the antibodies then end up targeting Vinculin via molecular mimicry, which then damages the MMC, which reduces the cleansing waves that prevent the buildup of bacteria in the small intestine. This results in Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth and the abdominal pain, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and urgency that are described as IBS.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a bad name for this condition since it is a pejorative name--who wants to be called irritable?-- I prefer "Autoimmune Enteropathy."

So, TMI? Let me know what you like most about this info! 🤓
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"Vibrate good energy into others soul; making them never forget the beauty of yours." 'tis the Season to be Thankful! ~Happy Holidays~ ... See MoreSee Less

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Hello Fellow Arbonners! Please Join us at my new office in West Los Angeles on Tuesday the 25th, 5pm-8pm, for an Arbonne Sweet Treats & Sassy Sampling Holiday Party! Everyone is invited but space is limited so please RSVP to
to secure your seat and to hear the address. We can't wait to see you there!
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