Posture and Body Mechanics
CORRECT SITTING POSTURE
AT THE COMPUTER
1. Keep feet flat on the floor or on a raised object.
2. Knees should be bent to 90 degrees and maintained either at or slightly below the level of your hips.
3. Keep your hips all the way back against the backrest.
4. Maintain an arch in the lower back– a lumbar roll helps a lot!
5. Keep your upper chest up and your upper back straight.
6. Keep your head over your shoulders and your chin level.
7. Do NOT sit with a large wallet in your back pocket!
Make sure to get up and move around at least every 30 minutes–even if it is only for 60-90 seconds!
IN THE CAR
1. Bring the seat back up as straight as you can.
2. Keep your hips all the way back against the backrest.
3. Maintain an arch in the low back– a lumbar roll helps a lot!
4. Keep your upper chest up and your upper back straight.
5. Keep your head over your shoulders and your chin level.
6. When your hands are on the wheel, your elbows should be bent and relaxed.
7. Keep your shoulders relaxed.
LIFTING AN OBJECT
THE HALF KNEE LIFT
This lift may be helpful with things that have an irregular shape or tend to move as you lift. This lift can also be useful when lifting objects from a low shelf or table.
1. Stand close to the object to be lifted and squat down onto one knee.
2. Keep your back straight, pick up the object, slide it up onto your thigh and then cradle the object or child against your body.
3. Tighten your stomach muscles and slowly stand, using your leg muscles (they are stronger than your back muscles).
FULL GOLF PICK UP
1. This lift should only be done with objects that weigh a pound or less.
2. This lift is performed by keeping your back straight and pivoting at your hip. Your back leg should stay straight as you reach down to pick the object up from the floor.
3. As you come back up, swing your back leg down to the ground again.
PARTIAL GOLF PICK UP
1. This is a good way to retrieve things out of a car trunk, grocery cart or washing machine.
2. When reaching into a cart, washing machine or car trunk, make sure to place one hand on a stable surface and reach in while keeping your back straight and pivoting at your hips.
3. Move the object as close to you as possible before lifting it up. It is a good idea to keep one leg straight behind you to balance your weight as you reach forward.
CORRECT STANDING AND LIFTING POSTURE
1. Keep your knees slightly bent/unlocked.
2. Maintain a neutral spine (see picture on right).
3. Make sure that your hips are not shifting forward-there should be a fairly straight line from your ear to your shoulder to your hips to your ankle.
4. If you will be standing at a counter or table for an extended period, use a small step and alternate having one foot on the step, then the other.
5. Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
1. Maintain a wide stance with your feet.
2. Keep your butt down and your head up! Always keep your hip level below your shoulder level.
3. Squat down to pick up the item–your leg muscles are much stronger than your back muscles.
4. When possible, keep the object close to you at all times.
5. Avoid twisting your spine while carrying an object–turn your body by using your feet to change your position.
6. Tighten your core muscles (as if you are about to get hit in the stomach).
EXERCISES TO IMPROVE STANDING POSTURE AND REDUCE PAIN
1. Walk 3-5 times per week for 15-60 minutes.
2. Act like there is a string pulling the top of your head up, making you as tall as possible.
3. Maintain a good forward curvature in your lower back (the small arch in your lower back).
4. Find a lumbar neutral position by moving through flattening and arching your back and try to find the midpoint of the motion–finding this midway position should decrease your pain when standing.
5. Use a small box to support one foot and then switch every 5-10 minutes.
6. Wear supportive and well-cushioned shoes or boots.
7. Shift your weight from one foot to the other frequently.
CORRECT SLEEPING POSTURE
ON YOUR SIDE
1. Have a thick enough pillow that your neck is straight and level.
2. Have a pillow in between your knees.
3. Use a body pillow if it makes your shoulder feel better and keeps you from rolling onto your stomach.
ON YOUR BACK
1. Use a pillow that supports your neck and doesn’t raise your head up too high. It is not generally advised to use more than one pillow unless one or both are very flat.
2. Use 1-2 pillows under your knees.