Where do you store your toothbrush? Most of us store it right on the bathroom sink. Why do you store it there? Why don’t you store it up on the top shelf or down in the bottom drawer? Your answer gives a simple example of BODY MECHANICS! You store your toothbrush within close reach to make life easier and more convenient. Why bend if you don’t have to?
BODY MECHANICS is using your body to its advantage so that you don’t have to work harder than necessary for whatever task you are doing. Here is another example. Ladies: why don’t you carry your heavy purse by holding it with 1 or 2 fingers? You have naturally learned that the easiest way to carry a large handbag is strapped over your shoulder.
We all practice good body mechanics with things like where we place our cups/plates/silverware in the kitchen, where we put our socks in our drawers and where we position our debit cards in our wallets. We want easy access to the objects that we use the most every day. So good body mechanics comes naturally…until we deal with our backs. We use our backs for things that our legs and arms should do, such as lifting and bending. Our leg muscles are massive and powerful and can do much heavier lifting than our back muscles. And our shoulder and arm muscles are very strong and able to lift, carry or hold significant amounts of weight.
So to prevent back pain, keep your back straight and use your legs more. Try squatting down using only your legs (maintaining a straight spine position) the next time you need to reach down toward the floor. Here is one easy way to demonstrate bad body mechanics: hold one arm straight out in front of you (with elbow straight) and place a dictionary or phone book in your hand. Time yourself to see how long you can keep it there.