by Jayden Kauk, PTA
Do you frequently lift or carry heavy items for work? Does your job require you to reach objects on a very high shelf? Are you required to sit or stand for prolonged periods of time and the next day your neck, shoulder, back or hip seems to stop you from completing your usual daily activities due to pain or discomfort?
At work, home and during our daily activities in the community we are faced with many challenges that require us to reach, lift, carry, push or pull items that sometimes leave us with discomfort. To prevent this from happening we need to ensure we are using good body mechanics daily.
What are body mechanics? Well, this is how our bodies are moving with various daily tasks; for example, when we stand, sit, lift, bend or carry items. Having correct body mechanics is essential during our daily routine. If we don’t move with adequate mechanics it causes more stress to be placed on our joints, which overtime can lead to unnecessary pain or discomfort.
Here are some tips to reduce the risk of work related injury:
Items on the floor
- Place item in front of you and make sure you are close to the object
- Keep your abdominals engaged. Make sure to keep breathing as well
- Bend your knees to a squat or lunging position
- Keep your back in a “neutral” or straight position
- Use your legs to lift item to your waist
Items on a shelf
- If the object is above you, requiring you to get on your toes, use a step ladder
- Once safely on a step ladder/firm level surface, bring item closer to you before trying to lift
- Keep abdominals engaged while lifting
- Lifting in a bent or twisted position
- Lifting from a forward stopped position
- Make sure you are carrying the item as close to you as possible
- Stand on firm and level surface
- Avoid standing in one position for a long time
- Change positions frequently by shifting your weight from one leg to the other
- When you can, try gentle stretching to alleviate muscle tightness
- Place your bottom at the back of the chair
- Allow space between the back of the chair & your knees
- Place feet flat on floor
- Knees bent to 90 degrees
- Sit up tall, pull your shoulders back
- Always avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time. Get up and move as frequently as possible, your body will thank you. 😊 Even sitting in the most comfortable/ergonomic chair with good posture will eventually become uncomfortable.
As stated above, you can see the importance of maintaining good body mechanics during your daily routine. These concepts may seem unnatural to incorporate into your life, yet with repetition and continued practice, they will become natural and seem routine for you.
If you are experiencing pain or have questions about preventing a work related injury, please feel free to contact us at any one of our clinic locations (Pella, Des Moines, Oskaloosa, Newton, Centerville, or Waukee) by calling 866-588-0230.