When someone is talking about body mechanics, they are referring to the natural and instinctual movements of your body as you perform any type of exercise or activity. The ways you stand, move, and bend is all a part of your body mechanics, and can play a role in your likelihood of suffering injuries, discomfort, muscle fatigue, and more, when not done correctly. If you’re the type of person who regularly suffers pain or discomfort, especially in your back, it is important to remember that utilizing proper body mechanics is a key factor in limiting back pain.
Many jobs require people to sit in one place for hours on end, but this can cause problems in the spine that contribute to pain and discomfort in the neck, back, and more. When seated, if you work with phones and other devices, it important to pay attention to the position of your neck. Twisting it to hold up a phone or always looking down at a screen or document can cause stiffness, pain, and even headaches. To prevent these issues and others from arising, always keep everything at eye level, sit up straight and keep something propped against your lower back for optimal support, and frequently get up to stretch or change positions.
No matter where you’re standing, spreading your legs as little as 12 inches apart can help you create a stronger foundation to support you, as well as help with your balance. The most important things to remember about standing comfortably is to never lock your knees, puff out your chest to help keep your back straight, and loosen up your shoulders a little bit. You always want to be firmly grounded, but never so stuck in one place that you cannot move freely.
Biggest rule? Never bend, twist, or otherwise move with your waist. If you have to bend, bend with your hips and knees to help you evenly distribute your weight to better preserve your balance. If you have to twist, don’t. It may take two whole seconds longer for you to turn your entire body, keeping your spine properly aligned, but the time it would take for you to recover from a twisting related injury is a lot longer.
First and foremost, if an object is too heavy for you, always ask someone else for help. When lifting, always stand with your feet shoulder width apart, keeping one just slightly more in front of the other. As stated above, you should never bend or twist with your waist, so it’s important to keep your back straight and lift with your arms and legs to avoid injury. Holding the object closer to you or against your waist will help you control the weight and stay balanced. If an object needs to be moved but you cannot lift it, try pulling it over pushing it to ensure you’re utilizing all your strength, just remember to follow the same advice for lifting in terms of your body mechanics.
If you or someone you know could benefit from professional Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy performed by a qualified specialist, then make an appointment at Osteopathic Health Care Associates with Dr. Shane Patterson or Dr. Ryan Christensen by calling 586.221.2791, or complete the contact form in the sidebar to receive a return call from someone on our office staff.