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What Is Spine Biomechanics?

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  • Written By: Erik J.J. Goserud
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2016
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Biomechanics is the field of study involving the application of mechanical principles to biological beings. Biomechanics can be applied in a number of useful ways, from improving the stroke of an Olympic swimmer to enabling a stroke victim to regain movement. Spine biomechanics focuses on the same principles as the broader field of general biomechanics; however, spine biomechanics is most interested in movements specific to the spine.

The spinal column and cord that it protects are vital components of the human body. Not only are these structures involved in movement, but they also dictate movement and other functions through the spinal cord's role in the central nervous system. Without the spinal cord, vertebrates would be unable to sense and react to the environment around them. The spinal column, which protects the cord, is composed in a unique way that allows for a wide range of movement and flexibility. Spine biomechanics studies such movement and the forces and biological constraints that act to affect them.

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A professional concerned with the field of biomechanics may specialize in many different subdivisions of this field. He or she may be interested in muscle strength, movement disorders, or gait efficiency to name a few. Most of these professionals are employed in research, product development, or disorder treatment. Researchers are typically employed by a university or private company, and their work may also include educational aspects. Their job is to learn more about spine biomechanics to help solve common problems related to the moving spine.

Product developers, then, apply the knowledge acquired by research to come up with new ideas and products that may help a person's spine. This could be a new back brace or a bed that prevents twisting of the spinal column during sleep. There may also be experts on spine biomechanics employed in the treatment of associated ailments. Chiropractors, for example, are very knowledgeable on this subject as it may drastically affect their patient demographic.

The spine is an amazing structure that is the pathway between the brain and the body. Not only can disorders of the spine cause significant discomfort, but they can dramatically affect a person's ability to live, decreasing quality of life. Spine biomechanics is important to study because, the more that is known about the movements and forces of this somatic region, the better equipped people are to fight the negative aspects sufferers have to deal with.

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