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Human Musculoskeletal System

Human Musculoskeletal System

Maintaining the body’s musculoskeletal system and keeping it strong can be done through chiropractic and by managing general overall health. This system includes the:

  • Bones
  • Muscles
  • Tendons
  • Ligaments
  • Soft tissues

These all work together to support the body’s weight and allow for movement. Injuries, disease, and aging can cause stiffness, pain, and other issues with mobility, function that can lead to various conditions and/or disease.

Human Musculoskeletal System

The musculoskeletal system

The skeleton provides the framework for the muscles and other soft tissues. Working together, they support the body’s weight, help to maintain proper posture and the ability for movement. Various disorders and conditions can lead to problems with the musculoskeletal system. This includes:

  • Aging
  • Injuries
  • Congenital anomalies (congenital disabilities)
  • Disease
  • All can cause pain and limit movement.

Focusing on overall health and maintaining it will keep the system in top form. This is done by:

  • Eating a healthy balanced diet
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Regular physical activity/exercise
  • Chiropractic support will take the body to optimal health levels.

How does the system work?

The nervous system is the body’s central command center. It controls voluntary muscle movements. Voluntary muscles are controlled intentionally. Large muscle groups are utilized to do activities like lifting a large object. Smaller groups are used for movements, like pressing a button. Movement/motion occurs when:

  • The nervous system which includes the brain and nerves, transmits a signal to activate the skeletal/voluntary muscles.
  • The muscle fibers contract/tense in response to the signal.
  • When the muscle activates, it pulls on the tendon.
  • Tendons attach muscles to bones.
  • The tendon pulls the bone, generating movement.
  • For the muscle to relax, the nervous system sends another signal.
  • This signal triggers the muscle/s to relax/deactivate.
  • The relaxed muscle releases tension
  • The bone is moved to a resting position.

System Parts

The musculoskeletal system functions to help stand, sit, walk, run and move in general. The adult body has 206 bones and more than 600 muscles. These are connected by ligaments, tendons, and soft tissues. The parts of the system are:

Bones

Bones support the body, protect organs and tissues, store calcium, fat and produce blood cells.

  • A bone’s outside shell encapsulates a spongy center.
  • Bones provide structure and form to the body.
  • They work with the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues to help with movement.

Cartilage

This is a type of connective tissue.

  • Cartilage provides cushion to the bones inside the joints, along the spine, and ribcage.
  • It is firm and rubbery.
  • It protects bones from rubbing against each other.
  • It is also found in the nose, ears, pelvis, and lungs.

Joints

Bones come together and form joints.

  • Some have a large range of motion, for example, the ball-and-socket shoulder joint.
  • Others, like the knee, allow bones to move back and forth but do not rotate.

Muscles

Every muscle is made of thousands of fibers.

  • The muscles allow the body to move, sit upright, and remain still.
  • Some muscles help with running, dancing, and lifting.
  • Others are for writing, fastening something, talking, and swallowing.

Ligaments

  • Ligaments are made of tough collagen fibers
  • They connect the bones and provide stability to the joints.

Tendons

  • Tendons connect the muscles to the bones.
  • They are made of fibrous tissue and collagen
  • They are tough but not as stretchable.

Conditions and disorders

Various conditions can cause problems with the musculoskeletal system. They can affect the way an individual moves. The most common causes of inflammation, pain, and mobility issues are:

Aging

  • With the natural aging process, bones lose density.
  • Less-dense bones can lead to osteoporosis and bone fractures/broken bones.
  • As the body ages, muscles lose their mass, and cartilage starts to wear down.
  • This can lead to pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion.
  • After an injury, an individual might not heal as quickly.

Arthritis

Pain, inflammation, and joint stiffness are the result of arthritis.

  • Older individuals are more likely to develop osteoarthritis. This is from the cartilage inside the joints breaking down. However, the condition can affect individuals of all ages.
  • Other types of arthritis also cause pain and inflammation. This includes:
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Gout

Back problems

  • Back pain and muscle spasms can result from muscle strains or injuries, for example, a herniated disc.
  • Some conditions like spinal stenosis and scoliosis can cause structural problems in the back.
  • This can lead to pain and limited mobility.

Cancer

Congenital abnormalities

Congenital abnormalities can affect the body’s structure, function, and appearance. For example, clubfoot is a common musculoskeletal condition that babies can be born with. It causes stiffness and reduces the range of motion.

Disease

A wide range of diseases can affect bones, muscles, and connective tissues functionality.

  • For example, osteonecrosis causes the bones to deteriorate and the cells to die.
  • Other disorders, like fibrous dysplasia and brittle bone disease, cause the bones to fracture/break easily.
  • Conditions that affect the skeletal muscles are known as myopathies include types of muscular dystrophy.

Injuries

  • All types of injuries can affect bones, muscles, cartilage, and connective tissues.
  • Injuries can occur from repetitive overuse. Examples include:
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome, Bursitis, and Tendinitis
  • Sprains
  • Muscle tears
  • Broken bones
  • Injuries to the tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues can lead to chronic conditions.

Maintaining musculoskeletal health

  • Recommended ways of maintaining a healthy musculoskeletal system are to keep the bones and muscles healthy by getting:

Regular physical activity and exercise

  • This includes weight-bearing exercises combined with cardiovascular activities. Strengthening the muscles will support the joints and protect/prevent damage.

Proper sleep

  • This is so the bones and muscles can recover and rebuild.

Maintain a healthy weight

  • Added weight places pressure on the bones and joints.
  • This causes various health problems.
  • If there is added weight, it is recommended to consult a health coach and nutritionist about a personalized weight-loss plan.
  • They can help make healthy food choices that will make for strong bones and include anti-inflammation foods.

Quit tobacco use

  • Smoking decreases blood flow in the body.
  • The bones, muscles, and soft tissues need proper blood circulation to maintain health.

Regular chiropractic adjustments

  • Adjustments will help maintain the body’s balance and alignment.
  • This, along with recommended stretches and exercises, will take the body to optimal health.

Healthy Body Composition


Bodyweight Squat

This is one of the best strength exercises for building general functional low body strength. The muscle groups that get worked include the:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Deep abdominals
  • Hip abductors
  • Hip rotators

Squats work almost every muscle in the legs. This also builds core strength to help with everyday movements like pushing, pulling, and lifting. There is no need to load added weight on the back to benefit from this exercise. Using the body’s weight is a perfect workout. This can be done with several variations once strength is built up. The objective is to focus on strict form for maximum effectiveness.

  • The feet should be shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend at the hips
  • Don’t let the knees go past the toes.
  • Lower the body until the thighs are parallel to the floor
References

American Chiropractic Association. Back Pain Facts and Statistics. Accessed 1/5/2021.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arthritis. Accessed 1/5/2021.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arthritis-Related Statistics. Accessed 1/5/2021.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders & Ergonomics. Accessed 1/5/2021.

Merck Manuals. Effects of Aging on the Musculoskeletal System. Accessed 1/5/2021.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Healthy Muscles Matter. Accessed 1/5/2021.

Anatomy of the Lumbar Spine

Anatomy of the Lumbar Spine

The lumbar spine is the lower back that starts below the last thoracic vertebra T12 and ends at the top of the sacral spine or sacrum S1. Each lumbar spinal level is numbered from top to bottom, L1 to L5, or L6. The low back bodies are larger, and thicker structures of dense bone. From the front or anterior, the vertebral body has a rounded shape.

The posterior bony structure is a different lamina, which is a thin bony plate that shields and protects access to the spinal canal. There are vertebral arches that create the hollow spinal canal for lumbar nerve structures and the cauda equina.

 

11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 Anatomy of the Lumbar Spine El Paso, Texas

Lumbar Structure Strong Joint Complex

One intervertebral disc together with the facet joints forms a strong joint complex that allows the spine to bend and twist. One pair of facet joints from the top or superior vertebral body connects the lower or inferior set of facet joints. The facet joints are synovial joints, which means they are lined with cartilage and the capsule holds synovial fluid that enables joints to glide during movement. Think of it as hydraulics with smooth fluid motion.

Facet joint syndrome can develop from aging and degenerative spinal changes causing low back pain. The lumbar discs are secured in place by the fibrous endplates of the superior and inferior vertebral bodies.

The jelly/gel center of each disc called the nucleus pulposus is surrounded by the annulus fibrosis, which is a tough layer of fibrocartilage that you can think of as a radial tire.

Discs are integral to the joint complex and function to:

  1. Hold the superior and inferior vertebrae together
  2. Take the weight
  3. Absorb and distribute shock and forces when moving about
  4. Create an open nerve passageway called foramen or neuroforamen

The neuroforaminal spaces on either side of the disc allow nerve roots to exit the spinal canal and leave the column.

Lumbar disc herniation is a common cause of low back pain that can spread out into one or both legs. This is called lumbar radiculopathy. This condition can develop when the nerves are compressed.

 

Low Back Support

  • Lumbar Ligaments
  • Tendons
  • Muscles

Systems of strong fibrous bands of ligaments hold the vertebrae and discs together and stabilize the spine by helping to prevent over/excessive movements.

The 3 major spinal ligaments are the:

  1. Anterior longitudinal ligament
  2. Posterior longitudinal ligament
  3. Ligamentum flavum.

Spinal tendons attach muscles to the vertebrae and together work to limit excessive movement.

11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 Anatomy of the Lumbar Spine El Paso, Texas

Lumbar Spine Nerves

The spinal cord comes to an end between the first and second lumbar vertebrae (L1-L2). Below this is the remaining nerves that form the cauda equina which is a bundle of nerves that looks like a horse�s tail. These nerves send messages between the brain and the lower body structures, including the:

  • Large intestine
  • Bladder
  • Abdominal muscles
  • Perineum
  • Legs
  • Feet

Protect Your Back

Around 80% of adults will see a doctor for low back pain at some point. Therefore take care of your lumbar spine to help avoid painful, unnecessary wear-and-tear. You can minimize the risk of a low back injury/pain by:

  1. Losing weight. Even a loss of 5 pounds can help reduce back pain.
  2. Strengthening the core/abdominal muscles. The abdominal and low back muscles work together to form a supportive band around the waist and low back. Stronger muscles help stabilize the low back and reduce the risk of injury.
  3. Stopping smoking. Nicotine reduces blood flow to the spine’s structures. This includes the lumbar discs and accelerates age-related degeneration.
  4. Proper posture and proper body mechanics. When lifting objects keep your spine erect and use your legs. Ask for help with heavy objects. The lumbar spine is can bend and twist simultaneously, try to avoid doing this, as it is a perfect setup for a strain or sprain.

 

Get Rid of Low Back Pain with Custom Foot Orthotics

 


 

 

NCBI Resources

 

Patient Guide To Bone Growth Stimulation

Patient Guide To Bone Growth Stimulation

Improving spinal bone healing in at risk patients

Bone growth stimulation (BGS) is a therapy your surgeon may prescribe following a spinal fusion procedure. A bone growth stimulator is an auxiliary device worn following cervical (neck) or lumbar (low back) spine surgery. BGS may be used to assist spinal bone fuse after a fusion procedure or as a treatment for failed fusion. Naturally, you’ve questions about this technology.

 


Spinal column with implant, screw placement and fusion

 

The info provided in this patient guide can assist you to learn:

  • Bone heals
  • Risk factors for a poor or failed fusion
  • Role of bone growth stimulation in spine fusion aftercare
  • Questions to ask your back surgeon

“Bone growth stimulation to be used in both the cervical and lumbar spine has demonstrated to substantially help fusion results. Having been a study centre for this particular technology, I’ve used bone growth stimulation in most my post-operative cervical and lumbar patient instances. The patient assessment standards I use contains:
Multi-level fusions; more than one degree of the back is fused
Co-morbidities (risk factors) that could hinder bone healing and growing”

�Gerard J. Girasole, MD
Orthopaedic Surgeon
Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Center

About Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion is done to stop motion of neurologic deficit and the spine. During the procedure two or more vertebral bodies are joined together using instrumentation and bone graft. Spinal instrumentation includes poles, screws, plates, and interbody devices (implants). Bone graft may comprise your own bone (autograft), donor bone (allograft), or alternative forms of graft.

Bone graft helps stimulate new bone to grow through three stages:

  1. Inflammatory period: cells start to form new tissue
  2. Repair period: small blood vessel ingrowth begins
  3. Remodeling phase: bone structure becomes powerful

 

 

Spinal instrumentation creates an internal cast, allowing the inflammatory procedure to stimulate bone healing. With time, new bone grows into and about the implanted instrumentation healing into a construct that is sound.

Some patients are at risk for spinal fusion to fail. A failed fusion is called pseudarthrosis or nonunion. Pseudarthrosis and nonunion are medical terms your surgeon may utilize to identify a fusion dilemma.

Common Spinal Issues Treated Surgically With Fusion Include:

  • Degenerative disk disease
  • Fracture
  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis

Lumbar

  • Adult degenerative scoliosis
  • Spondylolisthesis

How Does A Bone Growth Stimulator Help Spinal Fusion?

A BGS sends electric signals to the fusion site. The electrical signals activate the body’s natural bone healing process, which may be impaired in at-risk patients.

Bone Growth Stimulation Has Been Put To Use For Decades To Help Bone Heal

Over 50 years ago scientists found that low-level electrical fields arouse the entire body’s bone-healing process. Other improvements included finding several types of energy that stimulate bone development, electromagnetic coil technology and only better devices � supported by clinical and scientific research�have enhanced bone healing in patients who undergo spinal fusion.

Different Types Of Bone Growth Stimulators

All bone growth stimulators are different. Certain types are designed to be surgically implanted (internal BGS) and other stimulators are worn outside the body (external BGS). Other differences include how stimulation is transmitted to the back and the kind of magnetic field or electric current created by the apparatus.

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