Georgina, a woman in her 30’s, suffers from various medical problems such as a perforated disc in the lumber area of her spine and a history of depression. This essay will discuss the biological, psychological and social factors in relation to these things which impact on Georgina’s occupational performance in fulfilling her life roles. In particular the essay will look at how her back problems impact on her ability to carry out her roles, for example, as an employee, a wife and a mother and also how these problems impact on Georgina’s social life for example doing the activities that she used to enjoy.
Georgina’s depression will also be looked at in terms of its psychological, physical and social effects on carrying out her life roles. The first problem Georgina suffers from is a perforated disc, which can also be known as a herniated disc or prolapsed disc, in the lumber area in of her spine. According to Gutknecht (2007) ‘A herniated disk occurs when the fibrous outer part of a disk tears and the soft inner portion pushes out and puts pressure on nerves as they leave the spine to go into the leg. ‘. This means that one of the discs in the lower area of the back has been damaged, causing it to rupture.
This causes the gel like substance inside the disc to leak out, in turn, putting pressure on the spinal cord. This would be likely to cause Georgina to feel pain not only in her back but possibly in other areas of the body as well, as the damaged disc can put pressure on certain nerves. Most commonly affected is the sciatic nerve; this nerve travels down the spinal cord, into the buttocks and down the back of each leg. Sufferers of sciatica will possibly feel pain, numbness or a tingling feeling in their legs. Georgina’s back problems would have a great effect on her biologically as she would be in extreme pain.
This would make carrying out a lot of her day to day activities very difficult. Seeley et al (2008) say that one of the main treatments for people with this condition is to have prolonged bed rest therefore Georgina would be unable to do most things for quite some time. With this condition Georgina finds sitting for long periods of time difficult, this causes obvious problems as Georgina’s job involves sitting for the majority of the time. This would mean that Georgina will be unable to return to work on a full time basis until her back problems have cleared up.
Being unable to sit for long periods of time would also cause problems with other activities for example driving. Tanner (1987 p. 38) states that people with this problem will ‘will find that it hurts to bend forwards, but sometimes bending backwards or to the side will be more painful’, therefore her perforated disc Georgina would also have trouble with lifting, which again would cause problems, especially as she has a young child, which she would have trouble picking up and carrying. Psychologically, Georgina’s back problems would also have an effect.
She is finding the stress of coping with a new child difficult and wants to return to work, however this is very difficult for her due to the problems her back pain has caused. She also feels that although her husband tries to be supportive he does not fully understand what she is going through so perhaps he is not giving her as much help as she needs, especially due to fact that he has a full time job of his own, leaving her to deal with the pressure of looking after a baby as well as trying to return to work.
Georgina has in the past suffered from depression and the stress of all of these things is making her feel that she may become ill again. Georgina’s back problems would prevent her with many social barriers. Tanner (1987) states that when suffering from a prolapsed disc, and trying to walk around, pain will build up, particularly if more bending or reaching is attempted. As well as her problems with returning to work she would also have trouble carrying out the hobbies that she used to enjoy. One of Georgina’s main activities in the past was hill walking which she now finds impossible due to the pain in her back.
Due to her difficulty sitting for long periods of time and walking she would find even simple activities such as going shopping, meeting friends for a meal or going to the cinema impossible to do now. As mentioned previously, Georgina has previously suffered from depression, and feels she may be becoming ill again due to the stressful things which are happening to her. We are told by Kohen (2000) that as a woman Georgina is twice as likely to suffer from depression and as she has had it already is more likely to suffer from it again.
Depression is different to just feeling low or down as it is a persistent low mood for a long period of time. When people have depression it is often so extreme that they are unable to go about their daily life as normal, also depression differs to just feeling down as the feeling can last for long time rather just a few days. There are many symptoms of depression and it can affect a person in many different ways, according to Ainsworth (2000 p7) ‘depression affects how individuals feel, think, and behave as well as how their bodies work. ‘