Posture & Body Mechanics
Designed by: ValerieOdoricoInformation by: DebbieLaFerney
Step 1:Find a wall with nothing on it and put your back up against it.Step 2:Make sure that yourbottom,shoulder blades and back of head are touching the wall at the same time.Step 3:Find a place for your feet to go to balance yourself. (Your feet do not have to be right under you. They can step out a little bit to stabilize the position.)Step 4:Hold for1-5minutes to get used to the position.Congrats!You have found your proper posture.**If this position feels awkward then you have not been standing with correct posture.**
If it did feel awkward, practice this wall trick at least twice every day. Test your posture throughout the day. Eventually you will train your body to stand that way. Your body is always changing, which makes training it that much easier. In this case, an old dogCANlearn new tricks.
Why is Posture Important?
Posture is good for the body!It is the root of almost all back pains. From sitting in a desk improperly to walking hunched over, you can cause an incredible amount of tension on the back which ends up in injury and/or surgery.
Why is Posture Important?
It is better for your organs. When you spend your time hunched over, your organs are squished together making the fluids/food digestion harder. Extra bile can also get trapped in pockets between intestines due to us limiting their space with our bad posture.
Why is Posture Important?
You gain energy. Bad posture limits our lungs as well. Being hunched over leaves little space for lungs to expand. When they do not expand all the way, we do not take in the full amount of oxygen that we need. If we sit up straight, our lungs expand all the way bringing in a lot more oxygen. This goes to our brain and throughout our body to keep us going with more energy.
A lot of the pain we put our body through is avoidable. There is no excuse for why we are still feeling this way. Put down the Advil and straighten up.
Taping Trick for Posture
What you need:Two or more peopleTape(preferably cloth or silk tape)A clean, flat wallDirections:One person (person A) stands up against the wall, back to wall. They make sure their head,shoulder blades,andbottomare touching the wall to check their posture.Hold it for1-5minutes.Person A then takes a few steps forward holding that posture.The person with the tape (Person B) tapes Person A with four long strips of tape that reach from the nape of Person A’s neck to the middle of their back, or where a women’s bra line would be.
The taping trick works as an instant feedback. Wear the tape for however long you want, whether it is for an hour or all day long.Since it is easy to forget to always check your posture, this lets you know with a simple pull when you try to hunch. Though it doesn’t hurt, the tape is stiff and hard to ignore. This is easy and immensely beneficial.
**This technique is for when you are moving, cleaning the garage, decorating for the holidays, etc.**If you see a box that you are not quite sure what is inside, doNOTpick it up without checking first. Picking up boxes/objects with unknown weight is a back injury waiting to happen.First, try to push the box with your foot.If the box/object does not move, you need to get someone else to help you carry it.If the box moves then it is an appropriate amount of weight for you to lift.
How to Lift Without Back Pain
Correctly:Bend at the knees in a squat to pick something up off the floor.Back straight.Standing on a ladder or step stool instead of reachingover headHead should align withshouldersas one would do while standing.Holding the object close to your body.Get help for heavy objects.Using a dolly or cart to help.
Incorrectly:Legs straight.Rounded back.Lifting things over your head.Lifting unidentified objects (“Mystery Box”)Bending your head down or up which sets off alignment to theshoulders.Holding the object far from your body to create tension on the back, arms, and neck.Twisting or turning while carrying heavy objects.
Desk Sitting: The Proper Way
School, work, and playing games on the computer are all tasks that require people to sit at a desk. Sitting improperly at a desk has been known to cause immense back and neck pain. Well, with these steps, you can finally be nice to your back.Step1:Pull chair into desk so that yourtrunkis touching the desk.Step 2:Make sure yourbottomis all the way against the back of the chair.Step 3:Sit up straight to where there is a slight curve in the back.Step 4:Check to see if your head is aligned with yourshoulders.Step 5:Adjust your computer screen to allow yourself to see the screen without having to lower or raise your head.
Aboutevery15-30minutes, stretch your neck, shoulders and back. Roll your neck. Round and arch your back a few times. Twist your torso. Any other stretch that helps loosen up your back to avoid stiffness.
Standing, Standing, Standing
Stuck standing to talk to someone or to dothe dishes?STOP!Helpful hint time.Doing dishes? Open the cabinet door underneath to rest one foot on. Switch feet every once in a while.Ironing? Bring a step stool to rest one foot on. This works as well as the cabinet trick.Stopped to talk to someone? Do NOT lock knees, but do not bend them either. Switch your weight back and forth between feet. Check your posture to make sure you’re standing up straight.Waiting in line? Switch your weight back and forth between feet. Stay balanced. Lean on a wall or post if there is one while still checking your posture. Don’t let leaning on something make your posture lazy, though.
Back Sleepers:Sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees to relieve your lower back.Side Sleepers:Make sure to have a pillow that supports your head high enough to avoid crushing your shoulder. The pillow should fill up the space between the tip of your ear to the end of your shoulder. Also, place a pillow between your knees to relieve your hip and maintain proper posture. Make sure tonottuck your chin to your chest which is a popular thing to do.Stomach Sleepers:Stomach sleeping is very bad for your neck. Unless you have a bed with a hole cut out to put your head in, like the massage places do, then try not to sleep on your stomach.**Pay attention to neck placement. Do not have too much or too little pillow support.**
Poor sleep can make us all cranky, especially when we are dealing with pains that ache all throughout the night. It’s time to kick that pain. Wake up pain free!
Center of Gravity
~Pregnancy/Gaining Weight:When a large mass gathers at specifically the front of your body, you must balance out the weight. Your back leans back a little farther to even you out. This is very natural and if you balance this position properly than you will avoid pain. Positions like this require you to lean on the heels more. This puts stress on your heels which can be helped by trying to balance the weight on your whole foot. You can also take turns switching your weight on both feet.Tighten your abdominal muscles to hold your center of gravity over your feet.~High Heels:Heels will naturally push your posture forward due to lifting your heels higher and forward. You must find your center of gravity by focusing the weight on the arch of your foot; otherwise, you will fall forward. This means you still have to make sure your posture is correct. After putting the heels on, try the wall test to get the feel for the correct posture.
Center of Gravity cont.
~Heavy Purse:Purses or messenger bags are typically carried on one shoulder. We need our purses, but our poor shoulder might not. This weight creates a major imbalance, especially if there is nothing on the other shoulder. This will throw your posture off and create pain in the shoulder, upper back, lower back, neck, and hip. We must balance this out. Add something of a similar weight to hold on the other shoulder. You can also switch to a backpack sort of bag. Lightening the weight of your purse or bag can help tremendously as well.~Backpack:A back pack is better than a messenger bag since it goes on both shoulders (if worn properly). A backpack still forces you to find a new center of gravity. To counter the weight on your back, you must lean forward. People tend to ruin their posture by leaning forward improperly. Keep your back straight and aligned with your head. Try to avoid a backpack that is way too heavy. You should not be walking around completely bent over because of the weight.
Ouch! My Neck Hurts
DoNOTlook down or up at something for too long. You can stretch your neck by doing such, but leaving your neck in a bent position for a while can leave terrible strain and then comes the pain.DOuse speaker phone if you’re busy with your hands. Try not to put the phone on your shoulder and bend your neck to hold the phone with your head. This will wreck your neck and cause you incredible pain that is completely avoidable.Do NOTbend your head down while talking to someone who is shorter than you. Try opening up your stance to lower you down. Offer to sit down to talk. If you are talking to a little kid, then go down to their level. Talking can be for awhile, so help yourself with these options.DOwatch your posture. In the earlier pages, it talked about aligning your head with your shoulders and butt. Keep track of your neck posture all day.Do NOTsleep with too little or too much support for the neck. Poor sleep neck posture alone can create a colossal mess in your neck. If you wake up with neck pain every morning, then you may want to check your pillow support.
How many times is this said by people in a day? The answer is A LOT! We torture our neck over and over again. There are some DOs & DON’Ts we can watch out for to avoid constant neck pain.
Getting Dressed:Sit down to put your pants on. You can also hold on to something while keeping a straight backand bendingin the knees. Do not bend down to pull your pants on with your legs straight and back rounded over. It is a bad idea. It can throw your balance off to do that which can result in a fall and probable head injury. Same goes for putting on shoes and socks. Make it easier on your body.
Brushing your teeth:Do not bend over the sink to brush them. Stand up straight and brush your teeth. Same goes for washing your face and putting your make-up on. Anything that you do around the sink, make sure to spend the majority of the time standing up straight to avoid strain. Bending down every once in awhile to rinse your face, etc. is okay. Those few seconds spent bent over are not going to hurt your back. It’s the long duration in a bad posture position that does the damage.
Hair:We all try to make our hair presentable, but we often do not think of watching our posture while doing it. For example, when blow drying your hair, do not bend over with your legs straight and back curved. You are asking for back and neck pain with this. It’s one thing to flip your hair for a few second, but do not just sit there drying your whole head. Also, do not tilt your head to the side when straightening or curling your hair. Use your arms to come to your head level.
Making Breakfast:This is another time where you should watch how you stand over the stove or counter. Keep your back straight and your chest out. When getting things out of cabinets, microwave, pantry, etc that are on a different level, bend down through a squat. Do not bend over with legs straight and back curved. If it’s over head, make sure not to look up or lift something heavy from above you. Bring a step stool over to stand on to make it eye level.
Behind The Wheel
Sit all the way back in your seat. Head against head rest for support.Make sure your seat is not too far back where you are straining yourself to reach the pedals and steering wheel.Knees should be bent and higher than the hips for correct seat distance.Both hands on the wheeltokeep your shoulders balanced.
Driving.It’s in every movie. It’s in TV shows we watch. It’s outside our door. It’s in our everyday lives. With all this practice, you would think that we would be driving pros. Well, not so much. Whether it’s a short drive to the store or a two day car ride across the country, we all need to watch ourposture.
Vacuuming/Mopping:Shiftyour weight back and forth. Open stance and shift the weight from side to side as if you’re rocking a boat.Sweeping:Useyour arms. Do not twist your body back and forth.File Drawer/Window Washing:Thereare levels involved, so you should bring a chair in for help. Stand on the chair for higher levels, and sit on the chair as you get lower. It will surely save your back. Even a stool will work. If you have nothing, then make sure you squat down rather than bend over.Mowing the Lawn:Lockyour back in neutral (straight/good posture). Push with legs from there, and watch that you are keeping your back in neutral rather than pushing with it.Laundry:The worst thing you can do is bend over with your legs straight while twisting back and forth to load your wet clothes into the dryer. Bend in the knees and keep your back straight.**Apply these techniques to other chores that you may do around the house. Work through legs and keep that back and neck straight!**
Cold:If the injury is less than 48 hours oldIf a muscle needs to be relaxedIf there is swellingIf it is hypersensitive to touch
Heat:Ifthe injuryis older than 48 hoursIf a muscle needs to be relaxedIf there is no swellingNot hypersensitive to touch
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