The Use of Body Mechanics Principles
During Daily Actvity
Typical activities of daily living include work activity, leisure time interests and hobbies, as well as the normal activities that make up our day in our homes. Graduates of the Pain Center can readily identify activities with which they struggle secondary to the symptoms they experience. That is why significant time in occupational therapy treatment is focused on teaching appropriate body mechanics. Use the principles below to keep the body in better position to do the activity and minimize pain flare-ups.
Limit the frequency of bending and twisting: These motions have detrimental effects on the disc. Rather than bending, use a partial squat or golfer's kick to complete lower height level activity. To minimize twisting, use a pivot step.
Use leg strength and weight shifting instead of arm strength: The musculature of the legs is stronger than the arms. When you go to lift, use the strength of the legs to lift the weight and to set it back down. When pushing or pulling, keep the arms closer to the body and drive from the strength of the legs. As you are pushing or pulling, use weight shifting to stay in a neutral position.
Control distance away from the body: The farther away from the body's center of gravity, the heavier the item will feel. This includes parts of your body, i.e. your head when you are looking down at your work on the desk, or your arm reaching for an object. Remember how heavy that gallon of milk feels at arm's reach? Keep it close and you control leverage and the power of gravity on that object.
You can see how these main ideas are interrelated. If you are forgetting to follow through on one, it will likely lead you into problems with another during the same activity. Controlling one will help you control the others.
Congratulations Teresa Miller, PT, MDT, OCS
Teresa has recently obtained her Orthopedic Clinical Specialist certification which she has been diligently working towards for the past year. Congratulations!
More than the programs ...
At The Pain Center, all of our doctor's and therapists see patients outside of the programs. If you have a new injury, significant stressor, severe pain flare-up or need to adjust your home exercise program - come back to the team that you trust. We're happy to help.
Have a question about a flare up?
You are still a part of The Pain Center family. If you ever have a question, please give us a call at 616.233.3480 and we'd be happy to answer it.