Pemberton Valley Wellness


World Spine Day

In celebration of World Spine Day on October 16, 2016, we at Pemberton Valley Wellness organised a fun, family friendly outdoors scavenger hunt that took place around our iconic One Mile Lake with the objective to encourage locals to connect with their community, nature, and selves in a physically active and engaging manner.

Each station of the Scavenger Hunt had a “fun health fact” and an exercise for everyone to complete before they could collect their prize and move on to the next station. For example, did you know that the number of vertebrae in the neck of a giraffe is the same as a human? We challenged the children to move their necks by trying to spot a stick on the ground, a leaf still on a tree, a little sliver of sunshine in the sky etc. Another opportunity for education was explaining that our spines are not a freestanding structure (like a skyscraper) but more like a ship’s mast that is supported by cables (your muscles) which anchor it to the deck (the rest of your body). Could they strengthen those muscles by holding a plank position for 10 seconds? It was wonderful to see children and families enthusiastically engaged with finding each station, prize, fun fact and completing each physical activity, and all in the pouring rain to boot!

Between activities, while we were warming ourselves with a cup of coffee, we were able to connect with many of the participants and hear their stories. One family talked to us about their nieces’ struggle with Scoliosis and with wearing a brace throughout her pre-teen and teenage years. We learned of some amazing supportive programs, such as “Curvy Girls Scoliosis”, which supports girls of all ages in their diagnosis, and provides fun and innovative ways to manage it, such as, choosing a theme or image for their large back braces; everything from Anna and Elsa from Frozen, to intricate tattoo and tribal designs. One mother took the time to share with us the difficulties she had experienced with a lumbar puncture after the birth of her first child. She spent close to four days on her back, learning to care for an infant while being unable to move or even turn her head. World Spine Day was developed by the Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal Health (Bone and Joint Decade) to help raise awareness of spinal disorders and to create an ongoing conversation about spinal health. Often we forget about our bodies and how we are using, and honoring them, that a day devoted to this topic is a valuable way to remind us all about the of importance of exercise and eating well, and if that reminder can become a habit, our bodies will thank us all in the long run.

We brush and floss our teeth, so why not stretch and move our spines!

(All photos were taken by the wonderful Amie Leblanc. Check out her website at )

Peggy Howard