ergo experiment 2.docx

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    Physiological Overview

    This diagram shows the sections of the spine.

    The spine is a curved column of vertebral bodies that act as asupport for about half of the weight of the body, with the other

    half supported by the muscles. The flexibility of the spine

    allows the body to bend forward, sideways, and, to a lesserextent, backward.

    The cervical spine (neck C1 through C7)has seven

    vertebral bodies. These vertebrae are the smallest in the spinal

    column.

    The thoracic spine (upper and mid back T1 through

    T1)has 12 vertebral bodies. This level has very little motion

    because they are attached to the ribs and sternum (breastbone).

    ecause there is little motion in this level of the spine it isusually not a source of chronic pain.

    The lumbar spine (lower back !1 through !")has five

    vertebral bodies. This level extends from the lower thoracic spine to the sacrum (bottom of the

    spine). The vertebral bodies are stacked on top of each other with a disc in between each one.

    These vertebrae are the largest in the spinal column.

    !ach vertebra has a bony arch that is positioned so that the space they enclose is, in effect, a

    tube, the vertebral canal which protects the spinal cord. etween each vertebra is a disc that is

    described as having a tough outer core with a "elly#like substance inside. $ts primary function isto act as a shock absorber. ut, if the disc is in"ured or starts to degenerate due to age, it can

    become painful.

    $n"ury, stress, and poor postural habits can cause progressive loss of motion and weakness in

    muscles in the spine, which in turn limits movement, resulting in structural and muscledysfunction. The body can develop and maintain ad"ustments for lack of flexibility and strength,

    but only for a while. These inefficiencies can take their toll on the body, with more and morebone and muscle breakdown.

    %ince stressed muscles are more susceptible to in"uries, it is recommended that you develop

    habits that reduce the pressure placed on the back.

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    #ow $ge and %ormal &ear and Tear 'rom

    aily !iving $''ect our *ack

    There are many factors that can contribute to back pain. &any of these can be due the naturalaging process as well as the wear and tear we give our back throughout our daily lives. 'ere are

    a few items that can contribute to this.

    Osteoporosis

    This is caused by decreased bone mass resulting in fragile bones. ragile bones are more likely

    to break. The steoporosis and *elated one +isease ational *esource -enter reports thatosteoporosis is responsible for approximately /00,000 vertebral fractures. ging is normally

    associated with osteoporosis. t about age 30, maximum bone density is attained. fter that

    point, bones slowly start to lose density or strength. one density is affected by heredity, diet,

    sex hormones, physical activity, lifestyle choices, and the use of certain medications. &en have

    larger, stronger bones than women, which explains, in part, why osteoporosis affects fewer menthan women. The disease is often progressive.

    Cervical +tenosis

    s we age, disks in our spines can start degenerating. s this degeneration progresses, ourvertebras create tightening of the spinal canal. This progressive tightening and pinching of the

    spinal cord leads to the lack of coordination of the extremities. sign of this is shooting pain in

    our arms and legs as well as impaired motor skills.

    Cervical isc #erniation

    s we get older, discs in our spines might also start to lose water content, making the discs lesseffective as a cushion. s this deterioration continues, the outer layer can also tear. The gel

    center, known as the nucleus, can be e"ected from the disc, through a tear, into the space

    occupied by the nerves and spinal cord. y pressing against the nerves it will cause pain,numbness, tingling, or weakness in the upper and lower extremities.

    Cervical +pondylosis

    s bony overgrowths or spurs grow on the spine, arthritis of the neck may

    result causing problems with ligaments and disks. This can narrow the

    spinal canal and compress the spinal cord and nerves to the arms. $n"uriescan also cause spinal cord compression.

    stiff neck can occur when your head is in one position for too long.

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    &hat else can cause neck and back pain,

    Muscle strains

    can cause mild pain. %tiff necks can occur from keeping your head positioned too long in one

    position. %oreness can also be caused by external factors, such as whiplash from a vehicleaccident. &uscle strains are different from age degeneration of the back as they are short lived

    and improve with time.

    Rheumatoid arthritis

    involves inflammation in the lining of the "oints. This can lead to instability in the upper cervicalspine that can endanger the spinal cord.

    Meningitis

    is an infection of the brain and spinal cord linings. &eningitis can have many causes and may becontagious. This disease can kill in hours if not treated. %ymptoms of meningitis are severe

    headaches, stiff neck, sensitivity to bright light, fever, vomiting, drowsiness, and rashes overdifferent parts of the body.

    Spinal cord tumors

    are abnormal growths of tissue that can form on the spinal cord and cause pressure on sensitive

    tissues and impair function. Tumors are caused by out#of#control growth among cells. $n a smallnumber of individuals, tumors may result from specific genetic disease (e.g., neurofibromatosis,

    tuberous sclerosis) or from exposure to radiation or cancer#causing chemicals.

    Facet Joint Syndrome

    acet "oints are the connections between the vertebras in the spine. They enable you to bend ortwist. They can become inflamed from an in"ury or from arthritis. This causes headaches,

    impaired movement of the head, and twisting of the back. ne sign is walking in a hunched over

    position.

    Pregnancy

    $n approximately 40 percent of women who are pregnant, back pain is prevalent. 5sually this

    pain is locali6ed, but the site may vary. 7ain can be due to a combination of mechanical,metabolic, circulatory, and psychosocial factors. $t has been thought that some pain is due to

    some alteration in blood flow to the pelvic musculature and ligaments, as well as hormonalchanges.

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    Chiari malformation

    $t is an uncommon, complex, neuromuscular deformity that is present at birth. The brainstem

    normally sits in a funnel#like cavity "ust above the spinal cord. -hiari malformation occurs whenthe brain stem is displaced downward into the funnel, thus causing pressure on this part of the

    brain and spinal cord. lthough this is found in children, it more fre8uently causes problems inadults. ecause of the complexity, symptoms can vary but include9 headache: dysphagia: pain

    from neck radiating through arms and back: hoarseness: numbness: visual disturbance:unsteadiness: loss of consciousness: nausea: vomiting: di66iness: nosebleeds: fast or slow heart

    beat: high or low blood pressure: ringing in the ears: hearing loss: depression: shortness of

    breath: and fatigue.

    Poor Posture

    %ometimes people suffer from back pain because of their lifestyle and are careless about proper

    posture practices. 7reventative steps to help eliminate back problems should include backexercises and learning proper sitting and standing techni8ues. These methods should be applied

    at home, at work, and when participating in recreational activities.

    7oor posture can lead to back pain.

    &any things can contribute toward back pain. The way you sit in your chair, the

    position you sleep in, the way you walk, the way you hold yourself when standing,footwear, and the type of clothes you wear can all affect the way your back feels.

    $t;s important to find the best positions for these and other daily activities to reduce

    the stress and improve your body mechanics. %tand up straight, chin up, shoulders

    back, and hold in you tummy. 'ow many times have you heard that in yourlifetime< ollowing that advice can keep your body in line and your lower back

    will get the support it needs.

    The sitting position can be very harmful for your back if not done correctly. %itting habits thatcould cause you back pain include lounging in your seat and crossing your legs. =ou spend 8uite

    a bit of time sitting, and it is important that you develop comfortable but proper positions. &ake

    sure your feet rest on the floor or use a footstool to take the pressure off your back. =our chairshould have a firm back, and try and to take a break from your chair by standing up to stretch or

    walk around.

    $f you spend time on the phone and need your hands free, then a telephone headset can be used to

    eliminate the need to cradle your phone between your shoulder and your ear. This can relieve thediscomfort caused by neck strain.

    -nderlying Causes o' *ack Pain

    The absence of back exercises or poor techni8ue

    7oor body mechanics

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    !xtended periods of sitting or standing

    &uscle inflexibility

    %tress

    7oor work habits

    ever over#stress yourself when exercising. -heck with your doctor before starting any exercise

    program to get recommendations on regiments. =our exercise plan should take your age, level of

    fitness, schedule, and comfort level into account. The old adage