The upper body

The upper body

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The upper body is defined differently in language usage. The term is sometimes used as a synonym for the thorax (chest), on the other hand the entire trunk - i.e. the body without extremities and head - is also referred to as the upper body. At this point, the term should be understood to mean the part of the body between the hip and neck, including the chest, back and abdomen. Protected by the ribs, the breastbone and the thoracic spine, the chest cavity with heart and lungs is located in the chest. The trachea and esophagus also run here. Some organs, such as the liver, are also at least partially protected behind the lower costal arches. However, if you look closely, they are already in the abdominal cavity, which is separated from the chest cavity by the diaphragm. It contains the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, spleen, pancreas and the two kidneys as organs. The stomach is protected from the front by a relatively pronounced musculature. On the back, the chest and abdominal cavity extend to the spine. The spine itself, the back of the ribs and the surrounding muscles are defined as the back. In common usage, however, the shoulder blades are often also attributed to the back.

Many of the organs in the upper body - especially in the chest - are vital. Accordingly, their illnesses can have serious consequences. In particular, chest pain accompanied by other complaints such as chest tightness, shortness of breath, dizziness, abdominal pain or nausea and vomiting are to be assessed here as an alarm signal. Because they can be related to a heart attack and other serious heart diseases. Acute life-threatening diseases of the lungs, such as pulmonary embolism, are often accompanied by a breath-dependent stinging in the chest and shortness of breath. However, significantly less dramatic diseases can also lead to similar symptoms. However, a medical examination is always advisable here. The same applies to complaints in the abdominal area such as abdominal pain, stomach pressure or a bloated stomach, especially if other symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, vomiting and blood in the urine or stool are added. Here, numerous serious diseases in the digestive tract are to be considered as possible causes.

In addition to the organs, the bones and muscles of the upper body can also be damaged. Not only acute injuries such as a broken rib should be mentioned here, but above all degenerative changes in the spine and tension in the back muscles. Back pain is one of the most common symptoms in Germany. The spectrum of possible causes ranges from short-term overloading of the muscles to a herniated disc and other wear-related spinal disorders such as spondylolisthesis (vertebral sliding). Although a well-trained upper body is generally less susceptible here, an excessive amount of training or incorrect strength training can also be the cause of back pain.

Possible fractures of the bone structure in the upper body pose a considerable risk with regard to both the spine and the bones of the chest. In the case of spinal or vertebral fractures, there is a risk of damage to the nerve tract, which can result in paraplegia, and a fracture of the ribs, which is generally considered to be harmless, can at worst damage the lungs through the bones, which is life-threatening for the patient. Since the various structures in the upper body are relatively close together and partially in front of each other, there is a risk of mutual impairment in the event of illness and, on the other hand, the complaints that arise are often difficult to localize. A visit to the doctor is therefore strongly recommended in the event of repeated occurrence. (fp)

Upper body

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