The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Surfer's Myelopathy

I have received urgent inquires from physicians and reporters after an ABC news report came out on surfer's myelopathy - lower body paralysis occurring shortly after surfing.

The main suspected mechanism is standing or lying for long periods with the lower back so overarched that it interferes with blood flow to the spine below it, causing a "stroke in the spine."

Overarching is a topic of my laboratory research as it relates to compression of soft tissue and the joints of the lower vertebrae leading to chronic mystery back pain.

Overarching the lower spine is an avoidable bad posture. It is simply and quickly changed by holding the pelvis level in what is commonly called neutral spine. Compression which impedes blood flow is a different, serious effect. Until I can post separately on it, to understand and avoid one main mechanism, check:

Holding neutral spine is not just an exercise to do then stop and return to overarching during life activity. Neutral spine is a healthy normal position to maintain comfortably, not rigidly, during ordinary activities and exercise. To see some of the issues of neutral spine, click:

To see details of neutral spine and two kinds of overarching (hyperlordosis) click:


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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.