Sleep is a beautiful thing. It recharges the mind and body. Did you know that the spinal discs lose a considerable amount of hydraulic height over the course of the day, to be regained by sleep? Spine charging is important.

We know from the research done by Jazwinka and Adam

1 that the intervertebral discs vary in height based on their load history, not because of a natural circadian rhythm.

To simply this, it is very similar to a cell phone battery that needs charging, which we can all relate to.

low cell phone battery

A low cell phone battery is similar to the spinal discs, where they need to be recharged by laying down.

When the signals to lie down are obvious, like head bobbing, or when the eyelids are getting heavy, pay attention! A part of it will be your spine’s desire to offload the discs are replenish the hydraulics.

One of the quickest ways to quickly re-charge your discs, although it isn’t as effective as a good night’s sleep, is to lie down for 10 minutes. Just this simple act will enable fluid to be drawn into the discs, through the endplates, and provide you with more hydraulic resistance and spacing between the vertebrae.

If you sit for too long, which most of us do, consider doing something that can charge the intervertebral discs like chair-care. Keeping the discs charged will help with the vertebral spacing and metabolism.

spine charging

The spinal discs need charging like a cell phone battery.

However, unlike a cell phone battery which has an automatic charging stop once its reached 100%, our discs will continue to recharge if we lie down for an extended period of time. Astronaut travel is a great example of what happens when the discs are overcharged.

When astronauts enter microgravity, they can gain as much as 6 cm in height and complain of back pain because their discs are charged too much….causing too much stretch to the surrounding tissues. This can be simulated by lying down for extended periods of time (greater than 12 hrs)…which many can attest to after remaining in bed for too long. This often results in a ‘stiffness’ upon rising. Discs need charging but overcharging can cause unwanted stiffness.

3 Disc Tips:

  1. quick charge naps are healthy for the spine…10 minutes on a flat surface can be a great way to quick-charge your discs.
  2. if you don’t have an option to lie down because you are at work, consider doing chair-care or other offloading strategies like standing decompression.
  3. lying down for too long can cause too much charging and can lead to over stretching of tissue 2


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