You may recognize that line from one of your favorite movies. In the movie it was intended to be much funnier than it has been in reality for me. Allow me to explain.
When I was 9 years old I started my first business: catching worms at night time and selling them to fishermen by day. That first summer I sold my worms for 60 cents a dozen and I made around $60 for the summer, an incredible amount of money for a 9 year old farm boy in 1975. The bad news is that my occupation was the beginning of a downward turn in my spinal health.
Several nights a week I spent about 2-3 hours walking bent over in the hayfields with a flashlight looking for those tasty little slithery treats for fishies. That bending over allowed a physiological phenomenon called “Wolff’s Law” to take place in my upper back.
Wolff’s law is a theory developed by the German anatomist and surgeon Julius Wolff (1836–1902) in the 19th century that states that bone in a healthy person or animal will adapt to the loads under which it is placed. What this meant for me was that the increased gravitational “load” or force on the front of my vertebrae in my upper back region caused a “wedging” to occur as depicted in this picture. If the wedging occurs in more than one segment as it often does then a “hump” in the back will begin. This is called hyperkyphosis.
So at a very young age, I started to develop hyperkyphosis as a result of my young entrepreneurial spirit. My occupation of catching night crawlers and other lifestyle habits of poor posture continued this downward trend for me.
Fortunately I found Chiropractic as a young adult and was able to stop the negative forces. The front part of the vertebrae have not and will not grow back to the original height but with proper attention the downward progression can stop.
This is one more reason why it’s a good idea to get checked by a Chiropractor when you are young, get regular care throughout life and perform daily spinal hygiene exercises. These habits will help to maintain the integrity of the joints and keep Wolff’s Law from ever occurring for you.
So next time you hear that famous movie line “I Got Worms,” you can ask yourself if you are doing all you can to prevent ever getting a hump in your back.