Biomechanics is defined as of the study of mechanical loads applied to the movement and/or structure of the body. Mechanically, our bodies tend to respond to two things primary, load and stress over time. This is means that the longer we maintain certain positions and how much we are carrying when doing so dictates more than anything else the extent to which or if we get injured at work.
This means, that contrary to popular beliefs mechanical dysfunctions in the body can occur just as often in desk jobs as in heavy manual labor careers.
Incorrectly performing repetitive motions can be the primary cause of negative effects if we are not mindful how we are doing them. Improper lifting techniques can at worst case cause joint, muscle and even disc injuries. Here are some quick tips for proper body mechanics and lifting:
Things to avoid:
Do not hunch, think about keeping everything on top of your waist above your hips.
Don’t initiate leaning back from the shoulder girdle, leaning backward should involve motion coming from your thoracic and lumbar region together, this means as people extend backward you should be able to picture a rainbow coming from their upper and lower back if you were looking at them from a side view.
Don’t lift objects too heavy for you. When in doubt, get assistance or take fewer trips. You may feel like you’re getting more work done but you only have one body, so take less trips and lighten the load.
Avoid twisting when carrying or lowering a load. Shearing motions at the spine is the most common mechanism for mechanically based lower back injuries. Instead, turn your entire body when carrying or lowering any load.
Things to encourage:
Encourage full body movements by allowing your lower body to do most of the work by using your hips and core.
Try and keep your hips and shoulders aligned throughout most of the day. This means if you are in a physically demanding job, lift using proper mechanics. However, if you are not, a posture brace or getting posture taping from your chiropractor or physical therapist may help encourage to activate some of the muscles that get tried throughout a long day of desk work.
Keep objects as close to you as possible when lifting. This helps encourage keeping your center of gravity directly over your feet.
Keep your core tight and activate your glutes before standing up. Keeping the all the muscles around your core activated will help offload the pressure to your back.
You only have one body, so take care of it! Follow the above guidelines for proper daily mechanics. It only takes seconds to make the correct changes.