An important aspect of injury prevention is the understanding and practice of proper body mechanics. This term refers to how effectively (or ineffectively) we use our body in daily activities such as bending, lifting, walking, and carrying. Poor body mechanics often lead to unnecessary injuries in the neck, shoulder, arms, and back. Failure to fix improper body mechanics can lead to more serious injuries such as herniated discs, tendon ruptures, and scoliosis. Here are 5 tips that will help keep you safe and make lifting objects easier:
1. Proper body mechanics begins at your knees
When you bend at your knees, you activate and engage the leg muscles in your lower body. This is important because the muscles in your legs are some of the biggest and strongest muscles in the entire body, so ensure that you are emphasizing them over the smaller muscles in your lower back.
2. Keep your arms as close to your body as possible
The further you stretch your arms out to hold something, the heavier that object feels. This also tends to compromise your balance and posture and places more stress on the tendons around your elbows and shoulders. The solution to this is simple – keep your arms as close to your center of mass as possible.
3. Ensure that you are standing on a stable and secure surface
By taking note of your surroundings beforehand, you’ll help to prevent losing your footing, any sudden load shifts, and dropping the object you’re carrying.
4. Brace your core
Breathing deep into your diaphragm allows you to bring more air into your body. When done in conjunction with deep core activation, you’ll create intra-abdominal pressure that helps keep your spine rigid and supported throughout the lift.
5. When maintaining proper body mechanics isn’t possible, ask for help!
Lifting objects safely requires you to be honest with yourself. Understanding your limits and asking for help is crucial in preventing any injures from occurring when lifting objects. Using assistive devices whenever possible is also recommended, even if you may not think you need it.
If you have any additional questions regarding proper body mechanics or would like a biomechanical analysis, please make an appointment with Dr. Wendy and she would be happy to help you.