Monday, February 28

Proper Body Mechanics 101

As we age we often experience or notice a lot of changes in our body. Things we usually do when we were younger we could not perform very well at the present. Speaking for myself for instance, having the height of 5 feet and 9 inches tall plus some weight gain for the past few years I have been frequently experiencing some joint aches especially on my knees. I easily got exhausted and also often experiencing backaches too! I know I am really guilty of lacking some cardiovascular excercise and eating the right food.

One thing we also neglect is that we should also observe "proper body mechanics" when doing activities especially for daily activities. If we observe proper body mechanics we protect our body, especially your back, from pain and injury. It includes how we hold our bodies when we sit, stand, lift, carry, bend, and sleep. Poor body mechanics are often the cause of back problems. When we don't move correctly and safely, the spine is subjected to abnormal stresses that over time can lead to degeneration of spinal structures like discs and joints, injury, and unnecessary wear and tear.

As a healthcare provider myself, I am more conscious now of observing proper body mechanics when taking care of my patient. For example when lifting or transferring my patient from the wheelchair to the bed or vice versa. Proper stance and proper techniques should be observed for me to prevent injuries on  especially on my back. On a daily basis we should also be conscious to observe some proper body mechanics. Start by having a good body posture. (I remember during our early years in school our teachers always reminds us to stand properly or sit erect.)

Proper Body Mechanics for Standing

1.Stand straight with your head upright, chin slightly lifted, tucked in (with relaxed mouth and jaw muscles), and ears leveled just above the shoulders.
2.Gently pull your shoulders back in a proper level, instead of slouching it forward.
3.Lift your chest up and tuck stomach and abdominal muscles in.
4.Relax your arms and place them at the side of your body or slightly fold them at the back.
5.Keep your mid back straight and not slumped
6.Tighten your gluteal muscles, to tuck your tail bone, and tilt your pelvis slightly forward or in a neutral position. This method enables you to form a small hallow on your lower back, but be watchful enough to not over arch.
7.Make sure that your ankles are in line with your hips, and your hips are in line with your shoulders.
8.Widen the distance of your feet at least 3-4 inches apart for a stable base of support. Make sure to place equal amount of weight on both legs to minimize strain on weight bearing joints.

In sitting especially for those who works in office who spent most of the times in front of your PC

1.Put a pillow or rolled towel to support your lower back.
2.Raise one leg higher than the other to help keep from getting tired. This can be done by putting the leg on a footstool.
3.Ask your caregiver for special exercises to stretch the muscles in your neck.
4.Adjust the monitor of your computer so that the top is at the same level as your eyes.

*When you are driving, adjust the seat to a comfortable distance to the wheel. Sit back in the seat so your knees are even with the seat.

When lifting an object:

1.Your feet should be apart, in a standing position.
2.Keep your back straight.
3.Lower your body to get close to the object.
4.Bend from your hips and knees. DO NOT bend at the waist.
5.When turning, rotate your whole body, not just your back.
6.Hold the object by putting your hands around it.
7.Keeping your knees bent and your back straight, lift the object using your arm and leg muscles. Do not use your back muscles.
8.If the object is too heavy ask another person to help you.
* or find some devices to help you lift heavier objects.

When carrying an object:

1.Hold the object close to your body.
2.DO NOT carry things that are too heavy for you. Always ask for help to move heavy objects.
3.There are many devices available to help carry heavy objects.
These are just some tips on how to observe proper body mechanics. Start now so that you'll get used to it. I'm 100% sure you'll benefit from these. Remember! prevention is better than cure. Have a nice day everyone!

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