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ERGONOMIC PRINCIPLES APPLIED TO THE LUMBAR SPINE
Several occupational factors appear to contribute to injury development. These factors include tasks requiring awkward trunk postures, lifting of heavy objects, repetitive lifting, rapid trunk motions, and vibration.
Direct traumatic injuries to the spine, such as fractures, contusions, or cuts, are rare. Indirect injuries to the spine or its supporting structures may occur from three different mechanisms: single overloads, cumulative trauma, or prolonged static postures.
Often the tasks performed prior to injury must be evaluated.
Prolonged static posture fosters continuous muscular contractions creating muscular ischemia.
The use of pre-employment strength testing to reduce the incidence and severity of musculoskeletal problems has been met with considerable enthusiasm over the past decade. The goal of strength testing is to ensure that only people with sufficient strength to perform a job safely will be assigned to that job.
Workers must be matched to the specific work tasks if placement is to be successful. Adjusting the physical parameters of the workplace, such as working heights and reach distances, may significantly enlarge the proportion of the population with adequate strength capacity for a given job. Ideally, such alterations should allow 99% of the work force to perform tasks safely.
Standing and sitting are the two basic work postures.
Disc pressures have also been measured when sitting in different chairs with various back supports. Disc pressure was influenced by several factors. Inclining the backrest backward from vertical resulted in a decrease in disc pressure. An increase in lumbar support also decreased disc pressure. The use of arm rests always resulted in diminished disc pressure, but the decrease was less pronounced when the backrest-seat angle was large.