Spinal Mechanics

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What does synergetic spinal mechanics mean?

The word “synergetic” means that the resulting outcome is bigger than the component parts.  In relation to spinal mechanics the word synergetic is used to describe ‘real world’ movements.  In other words the movements of ambulation, rotation and side-bending human beings take for granted in everyday life.

If you take a singular cogwheel in a mechanical clock, in itself the movement is insignificant but when you put it together with other cogwheels working in precise harmony, their combined output is capable of accurately turning the hands of the clock. No one cogwheel or one small set of cogwheels on their own would be capable of this.

When we look at the lumbar and thoracic vertebrae the most obvious difference is their antero-posterior curves and the shapes of their facets. The shapes of the facets are illustrated in figures A and B immediately  below.

We know that the combination of side-bending and rotation or, rotation and side-bending in the individual lumbar joints provides extremely limited rotation. Yet we know as humans that we can apparently rotate our lumbar spines quite considerably. So we can conclude that something additional is going on, rather than a mere focused movement.

If we look again at the opposing shapes of the lumbar and thoracic facets we begin to appreciate the complexity of the mechanism for the synergetic movement we take for granted. Supposing that you could account for how the lumbar and thoracic rotate, what happens when these two facet types and curves meet at L1/T12?   Further, what are the mechanics that allow the lumbar facet shape shown in figure A to mate with the sacral facets to work in harmony with the S/I facets, shown in figure C? And the change in facet curve to consider at  the C/D junction? These questions have consistently been glossed over.

It was simple observations and questions like this that caused John Bayliss to seriously question the currently accepted theories on spinal mechanics.

Both his DVD  ‘Spinal Mechanics and Bony Locking for Health Professionals’  and his new book ‘Advanced Osteopathic Manipulation’ cover and demonstrate plausible working theories for how the whole spine and sacroiliac joints move to produce harmonious synergetic movement.







Figure A

Figure B


Figure C



Irregular shaped




What is meant by synergetic spinal mechanics

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