1. Spider-Man #1 : The Squat
Mike: The most obvious place to start is Todd McFarlane who redefined Spidey’s look in the early 1990’s. He also pioneered the incorrect posture pose that probably had Peter Parker reaching for the Advil after a day of crime fighting. This particularly famous cover looks harmless enough, except when you consider how long it must have taken him to get out. I’d bet after 4 hours of crouching like that, Spidey was regretting ever spinning this web.
Dr. Cristina: Although this position may look painful, the squatting position is actually a really good one for our spine and pelvic musculature! I’d fix Spider-Man’s squatting posture in this position to make sure his spine is more upright and closer to neutral position like in the picture of our workout buddy here. Extra bonus of squats: they’re VERY beneficial during pregnancy, and better for strengthening the pelvic musculature than kegels are!
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2. Spider-Man Pin-Up: The Forward Bend
Mike: For the final McFarlane pose Todd creates the visual that Peter is an actual spider, but the yoga-centric pose here can twist your spine into knots if you try it at home.
Dr. Cristina: Sorry Mike, I’m going to disagree with you again here! Forward flexion poses, similar to child’s pose in yoga, are great spine and pelvis openers. They can help elongate the spine by opening up disc and joint spaces, and stretching our paraspinal muscles, which run from the base of our skull to our pelvis. We would fix Spider-Man’s poisoning in this picture so both arms were straight out in front of him, and his knees were positioned evenly on either side if his hips like the yogi we have pictured here.
3. Peter Parker Spider-Man #20: The Hyperextension
Mike: Erik Larsen was another fan favorite to take the Spidey reigns when McFarlane left Amazing Spider-Man to start his own Spider-Man title. And in keeping with his predecessor, Larsen exhibited a penchant for some outrageous poses that could send you into traction if you tried it at home.
Dr. Cristina: This is one we can agree on! Hyperextension of the lumbar spine like this, is rarely, if ever, beneficial for our spines. Movements like this can cause or aggregate something we refer to as spondylolisthesis, which is forward slippage of a vertebra in our spine. This is more common in athletes of sports that require hyperextension of the lumbar spine (gymnastics, weightlifting, diving, football linemen) and can be the source of on and off low back pain throughout life. Luckily, adjustments can be beneficial during pain episodes, and core-strengthing exercises can help chronic problems. Hyperextension can also cause spinal problems and pain in someone without Spondylolisthesis, so I tell most patients to avoid this type of movement.
4. Heroes Reborn Captain America: The Anterior Head Translation
Mike: Okay, this isn’t Spider-Man, but this pin-up from Heroes Reborn: Captain America is too infamous to pass up. Forget the anatomical inconsistencies – bottom line? Cap needs a reverse boob job here. His back must be killing him!
Dr. Cristina: Again, I can agree with Mike on this one, but for different reasons. While Captain America’s huge pec muscles may be causing some of the strain and increased stress on his spine, I think the bigger culprit is his anterior head posture. Every inch your head moves forward adds an extra 10 pounds of stress and pressure to your spine. This can lead to pain, spasm, headaches, degeneration of the spine, and even decreased lung capacity! Luckily, corrective chiropractic care helps take stress off of the spine, and can help lead to improved posture, and decreased anterior head translation. Get this guy to a chiropractor!