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Biomechanics of the

Spine

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BACK STATISTICS

 20% single incident trauma

 80% cumulative trauma

 4 out of 5 Americans

 5 times more likely to recur

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10 %

90 %

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Basic Elements:

 Bones

 Discs

 Ligaments

 Muscles

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Discs:
 Shock absorbers
 Structure
 Osmosis
 Normal Aging Process =
Degeneration
 Accelerators:
– Twisting
– Bending
– Static Postures
– Sedentary Life Style
– Smoking

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Ligaments:

 Connect bone to bone

 Stretched and torn

– Excessive bending
– Twisting

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Muscles:
- Support the spine
- Allow movement
- Pinched Nerves/ Muscle Spasm

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Prevention Includes:

Proper Sitting
Proper Standing
Proper Sleeping Position

Proper Body Mechanics --When


We Engage in Tasks Such as:
- lifting
- carrying
- pushing/pulling
- reaching
Stress Relief
Fitness

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Proper Sitting:

 Keep Neck Upright


 Keep Shoulders Relaxed
 Utilize the chair’s back
support. (Avoid perching or
slumping.)
 Rest feel on floor or footrest
 Swivel chair, don’t twist torso
 Get up frequently
 Use a chair that provides
good lumber support
 Sit close to the work area

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Proper Standing:

 Prop one foot up


 Change positions regularly
 Cushion standing surface
 Sit occasionally

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Proper Lifting:
 Plan the lift
 Test the load
 Bend knees, keep back as straight as
possible
 Keep the load close
 Don’t twist at the waist
 Let the leg muscles bear the weight
 Lift with a slow, gradual motion
 Keep lift between knuckle and
shoulder heights

Strategies:
 Use material handling equipment
 Decrease the weight of the load
 Increase the weight of the load

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DuPont Lifting Guidelines:
50 lb. / 30 lb. rule
(23 kg/ 14 kg)

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Proper Carrying:
 Use two handed carries when possible
 Keep the load close
 If one handed, switch sides

Strategies:
 Reduce the weight
 Use mechanical equipment
 Use manual carts, hand trucks …

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Pushing / Pulling:
 Push instead of pull

Upper Force Limits:


 Start 50 lb (230 N)
 Maintain for 10 ft (3m) 40 lb (180 N)
 Maintain for 1 min. 25 lb (110 N)
 Emergency Stop 3 ft (1m) 80 lb (360 N)

Strategies:
 Reduce force requirements
 Use powered equipment

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Proper Reaching:
 Keep objects within arm’s
length (full arm swing)
sitting=16” (41 cm)
standing=18” (46 cm)
 Keep reaches below the
shoulder
 Keep reaches forward of the
shoulder

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Stress Relief:
Tension = muscle contraction =
spasms, fatigue and pain

 Relaxation techniques (deep


breathing, meditation…)
 Stretching - loosen the
muscles
 Massage

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Physical Fitness:
To condition the muscles which
support the spine - again to
maintain that nice natural “S”
curve.
 Strengthening/Flexibility
 Aerobic

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