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Seminar 2: Common Musculoskeletal & Associated Health Problems – Remedies with Applied Ergonomics

“Common Musculoskeletal & Associated Health Problems: Remedies with Applied Ergonomics”
by: Associate Professor K.S. Ramakrishnan
Faculty of Pharmaceutical & Allied Health Sciences
DATE: 26th September, 2012 (Wednesday)
TIME: 3-4pm
VENUE: Lecture Room 2, Third Floor, Main building QIUP


Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance (International Ergonomics Association). Closely associated with this discipline, is Exercise Sciences which examines acute and chronic responses/adaptations to a wide-range of physical exercises, its effects on pathology and the mechanisms by which exercise can reduce or reverse disease progression. Alongside these studies the concept of an “Ideal Work Station” has recently emerged to explain the ideal combination of equipment and furniture as well as the adjustment procedures recommended for maximum comfort and protection against the development of cumulative trauma disorders, as popularised by the Centre for Occupational Health, University of Connecticut, US. Studies related to applied anatomy, biomechanics and pathomechanics have helped to provide an understanding of how today’s sedentary lifestyles are a cause of occupational problems related to the back, knee, ankle, shoulder and the spine. What then is good posture? How can we maintain good posture & minimise cumulative trauma injuries? Bad posture and a lack of awareness of the correct body alignment can cause various musculoskeletal problems.  Furthermore, common aetiologies like overweight, travelling at high speed while in the wrong  posture, sudden lifting of a heavy load, habits like smoking, excess indulgence in alcohol, tobacco,  narcotic drugs etc., as well as physical or mental  stress, over exercising or excess physical activity, improper use of medication and other life style-related  problems can all impact on one’s musculoskeletal framework. Recently, we reported a study on motor strength entitled, “Motor Assessment of Upper Limb Muscle Strength of Paraplegics for Sports Fitness” which was published in the International Research Journal of Sports & Allied Health Sciences [Ramakrishnan, K.S. et al. (2011), Volume 1, ISSN 2249-717X]. The study shows that muscle strength was optimal when paraplegics maintained correct posture in a wheel-chair. Furthermore, while on crutches, they could play for a longer duration without getting fatigue; sports fitness & endurance improved by 27% and injuries were reduced by 54%. In this presentation, techniques to prevent musculoskeletal problems, appropriate treatments and how to improve associated functionality at work and the quality of life will also be discussed.

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