My project will focus on the femur bone, surrounding muscles, and how it can affect posture and localized pain. This is the largest bone in the human body and is located in the upper leg. The femur is such a large and strong bone because it has to support the weight and daily activities of the trunk of the body. A large portion of the weight of a human is located in the upper body and the femur is one of the first points that the weight from the trunk is distributed by.
The femur is also surrounded by some of the strongest muscles in the body. Some of these muscles include the quadratus femoris, biceps femoris, superior/ inferior gemellus, the adductor group (adductor brevis, longus, and magnus,) and many more muscles. Just as the femur supports the weight of the trunk, these muscles assist in supporting the upper body.
Back pain is something that everyone at one point will experience. One cause of this back pain could be that the psoas major is “tight.” The psoas major connects the proximal end of the femur to the lumbar spine. If this is tight it can pull the spine and cause it to curve in directions it is not designed to.
Another cause of back pain could be from osteoporosis which causes the degradation of bone tissue. Bone is constantly being remodeled. The two major components of this process are osteoblast and osteoclast. Osteoblast is when bone is being built while osteoclast is the opposite and breaks bone down. Osteoporosis causes osteoclast activity to increase and osteoblast activity to decrease. Making the breaking down of bone faster than it can be built.
Osteoporosis is common in the geriatric population. Generally the geriatric are less active than younger people. Since they are less active their muscles see less use causing them to atrophy. Muscles such as the psoas major are important for support. When support muscles, like the psoas major weaken, they will not be able to support posture. When osteoporosis sets in, bones like the femur become weak and brittle. Loss of bone tissue and atrophy muscles can contribute to localized back pain. When bone degradation happens it can cause a change in the gait putting unusual pressure on other muscles and bones, causing acute and chronic pain depending on the muscles being used to support that degradation. This can cause posture to be affected, usually not for the better.
While there are many causes that lead to back pain, there can be ways to prevent it. In the geriatric community, staying active and continuing to use muscles will keep muscles strong and prevent atrophy. Another way to prevent back pain is by keeping muscles strong. This can be done by also simply staying active. Supplements, such as vitamin D, can also be taken to aid in bone growth by stimulating osteoblast production. Strength and resistance training can be very beneficial for the elderly when looking to slow bone degradation and muscle atrophy. Stretching out the psoas major can lessen the amount it will pull on the spine. This can limit back pain and assist in better posture.