How did back pain affect a group of ancient Egyptians? How did back pain affect a group of ancient Egyptians?

How did back pain affect a group of ancient Egyptians?

How did back pain affect a group of ancient Egyptians?

A new study shows that the repetitive tasks performed by ancient Egyptian scribes (high-status men who performed administrative tasks) may have led to degenerative changes in the skeleton.

A team of researchers in Prague, Czech Republic, examined the skeletal remains of 69 adult men, 30 of whom were scribes, buried in the Abusir cemetery in Egypt, during the period between 2700 and 2180 BC.

The researchers identified degenerative changes in joints that were more common among scribes, compared to men working in other professions.

These changes were localized in the right collarbone, the upper part of the right humerus (where it meets the shoulder), and throughout the spine, but especially at the top.

The research team said that the degenerative changes observed in the spine and shoulders of the writers could result from them sitting for long periods in a squatting position with their head bent forward and their spine curvature.

However, changes in the knees, hips and ankles could indicate that the scribes may have preferred to sit with the left leg in a squat position and the right leg bent.

The research team, led by experts at the Department of Anthropology at the National Museum in Prague, noted that statues and wall decorations in tombs depict the sitting positions of scribes, in addition to standing while working.

The findings provide deeper insight into the lives of scribes in ancient Egypt during the third millennium BC.

“Men who were proficient in writing enjoyed a privileged position in ancient Egyptian society,” the researchers wrote in the journal Scientific Reports. “Research focusing on these high-status officials (“scribes”) typically focuses on their titles, scribal statues, iconography, etc., but the individuals themselves and their skeletal remains have been neglected.”

The study reveals that sitting or kneeling for long periods, as well as repetitive tasks related to typing, caused increased pressure on the neck and shoulder areas.

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