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Chapter 9: The Biomechanics of the Human Spine
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  1. Chapter 9:The Biomechanics of the Human Spine Basic Biomechanics, 4th edition Susan J. Hall Presentation Created by TK Koesterer, Ph.D., ATC Humboldt State University

  2. Objectives • Explain how anatomical structure affects movement capabilities of the spine • Identify factors influencing relative mobility and stability of different regions of the spine • Explain the ways in which spine is adapted to carry out its biomechanical functions • Explain the relationship between muscle location and the nature and effectiveness of muscle action in the trunk • Describe the biomechanical contributions to common injuries of the spine

  3. Structure of the Spine • Vertebral Column • Motion Segment • Vertebrae • Intervertebral Discs • Annulus fibrosus • Nucleus pulposus

  4. Structure of the Spine • Ligaments • Anterior longitudinal ligament • Posterior longitudinal ligament • Supraspinous ligament • Interspinous ligament • Intertransverse ligaments • Ligamenta flava • Ligamentum Flavum

  5. Spinal Curves • Influenced by heredity, pathological conditions, individual’s mental state, and forces to which the spine is habitually subjected. • Prestress • Primary Spinal Curve • Secondary Spinal Curve • Lordosis • Kyphosis • Scoliosis

  6. Movements of the Spine • Flexion • Extension • Hyperextension • Lateral Flexion • Rotation

  7. Muscles of the Spine • Muscles of neck and trunk named in pairs, with one on the left and the other on the right side of body • Anterior Aspect • Posterior Aspect • Lateral Aspect

  8. Anterior Aspect • Bilateral tension development results in flexion of head. • Unilateral tension development in prevertebrals contributes to: • lateral flexion of head toward contracting muscles or, • to rotation of head away from contracting muscles • Abdominals

  9. Posterior Aspect • Primary cervical extensors: • splenius capitis • splenius cervicis • Thoracic and Lumbar Muscle groups: • erector spinae • Semispinalis • deep spinal muscles

  10. Lateral Aspect • Many muscles of neck and trunk cause lateral flexion when contracting unilaterally, but either flexion or extension when contracting bilaterally. • Muscles: sternocleidomastoid • levator scapulae • scalenus anterior, posterior and medius • Lumbar region: quadratus lumborum, psoas major

  11. Loads on the Spine • Forces acting on spine: • Body weight • Tension in the spinal ligaments • Tension in surrounding muscles • Intraabdominal pressure • Any applied external loads • Flexion Relaxation Phenomenon • Body Movement Speed • Intraabdominal Pressure

  12. Low Back Pain • 75-80% of population will experience it at some time in their life • Mechanical stress plays a significant role • Children • Relative Stability of Spine • 60% of cases is idiopathic (unknown origin) • Abdominal exercises help in treatment

  13. Soft Tissue Injuries • Contusions • Muscle Strains • Ligament Sprains • Usually result from sustaining a blow or overloading the muscles. • Spasms result usually from underlying problems.

  14. Acute Fractures • Transverse or Spinous fractures from hard blow (contact sports) or extremely forceful contraction • Extremely serious because of fragile spinal cord. • Rib fractures usually due to blows from sports, cause pain with each inhalation. • Potential for serious damage to underlying soft tissues (lungs)

  15. Stress Fractures • Most common type of vertebral fracture is in pars interarticularis • Spondylolysis • Spondylolisthesis • Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis don’t tend to heal with time • Common with sports involving repeated hyperextension of the lumbar spine.

  16. Disc Herniations • Cause of 1-5% back pain cases • Protrusion of part of nucleus pulposus from the annulus. • Traumatic or stress related. • Common sites: between 5th-6th and 6th-7th cervical vertebrae and 4th-5th lumbar and 5th lumbar and 1st sacral. • Sensory nerves supplying anterior and posterior longitudinal ligaments generate pain signals.

  17. Whiplash Injuries • Relatively common injury to cervical region. • Usually from automobile collisions, where neck undergoes sudden acceleration and deceleration. • Symptoms: • Neck pain, muscle pain, pain or numbness radiating from neck to shoulders, arms, hands and a headache (present in 50-60% of most cases)

  18. Summary • Although vertebrae adhere to characteristic shape, there is a progression in size and orientation of articular facets throughout the spinal column • Each pair of adjacent vertebrae with intervening soft tissues called a motion segment. • Many forces act upon spine (body weight, intraabdominal pressure etc)