Contrary to the belief that nerve damage is only caused by diabetes, a connection has been established between nerve damage and the lifting of heavy objects. Researchers at the Tel Aviv University, TAU, Israel, recently established a link where they said that lifting heavy objects, such as school bags or occupational gears carried by soldiers and fire fighters, could damage the nerves that connect the brain and hands.
The damage can stretch from simple irritations to diminished nerve capacity, which limits the muscles' ability to respond to brain's signals, inhibiting movement of the hand. Nerve damage, specifically to the nerves that travel through the neck and shoulders to animate our hands and fingers, is also at serious risk, according to the TAU researchers.
As reported in the journal of applied physiology, in practice, this could impact functionality, reducing a worker's ability to operate machinery, compromise a soldiers' shooting response time, or limit a child's writing or drawing capacity.
Amit Gefen and Yoram Epstein both Professors from the TAU faculties of biomedical engineering and medicine, alongside doctoral students Amir Hadid and Nogah Shabshin of the Imaging Institute of the Assuta Medical Centre, have determined that heavy loads on the back could potentially damage soft shoulder tissues.
Amongst the many examples cited, school bags are a major concern. It cannot be assumed that children's bodies react to shoulder stress in exactly the same way as adults. Gefen warns that the level of damage is determined by differences in the individual’s physiology.
He also noted that the resulting damage leads to a reduction in the conduction velocity; that is, the speed by which electrical signals are transferred through the nerves.