C, S, or J: What Shape Are You?
Gokhale identifies three main spinal shapes: the C-spine, which makes you appear slouched; the S-spine, which creates an exaggerated sense of “standing up straight,” and the J-spine, which is a more neutral position. The J-spine is what we should be working toward, says Gokhale. The term J-spine refers to a state in which the spine takes on a gentle, natural curvature, allowing us to stand upright but still feel relaxed. “It is truly natural,” says Gokhale, who notes that children and people in pre-industrialized cultures are the best examples of this shape.
“When we are born, we basically have a c-curve in the spine,” explains chiropractor Natalia Lishchyna. “As we age, we get an s-curve—a curve in the neck and a lumbar curve. We want those natural curves to be supported.”