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Acquired Deformities of the Spine



The spine is subjected to deformities from various acts by which it is made to maintain a bent position for long periods of time each day. This bending is, in some instances, connected with occupation. It is enforced in those who have to carry weights upon the head, such as market-garden men and women, itinerant fishmongers, men and women in some factories, and the like. It is enforced in men who have to carry heavy weights on their backs, such as luggage-porters, coal-heavers, millers, and hodmen. It is enforced in persons who are engaged in work re quiring a stooping posture, as in the sawyer, the wheelwright, and especially the men who are employed at rivetting in cramped positions and in limited space. It is not infrequently induced in persons who are engaged for long hours at the desk, in writing and making calculations or drawings.

The spinal column under these unnatural positions loses its beautiful series of curves, and assumes one long fixed curve, the concavity of which is anterior, the convexity posterior, to the body. The great organs of the chest and abdomen are not neces sarily compressed by this deformity, but much muscular power, requisite for the full expansion and contraction of the chest in breathing, is lost. The gait also is considerably modified, and the capability of the lower limbs to maintain the erect position is de creased. Connected with the induced deformity there is, usually, general debility, and a loss not only of bodily elasticity but of nervous activity. The body, generally, is weakened, and is, as it looks to be, prematurely old.

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