Proper body mechanics are such an integral way of literally saving yourself from injury. It not only teaches safe movement but correct movement for your muscles. I am always asked how to do specific chores like gardening, brushing teeth, making the bed. You’ll find that moving in the correct way is actually easier to do because the muscles are being used most efficiently. The problem is that we have taught ourselves how to not move efficiently as we moved away from childhood. Think about it: have you ever seen a baby slouch? Watch as they learn to sit unsupported. They are quite erect. Why? This is how the muscles move more functionally. Muscles protect, stabilize, and move in elongated positions. They become inhibited with the compression. So try slouching and then lift your leg. Now sit upright and lift the leg. It should have felt not only easier, but the quality of movement should have been smoother and lighter. Now observe a toddler as she/he goes to pick up a ball from the ground. They get right up close to the ball and squat down to retrieve it, not bend over from the waist. So what happened to us as we got older to change these great mechanics to poor ones? Well that would be a good research project for the future.
In this edition of the newsletter I will talk about bed mobility. As adults we tend to make things more difficult for ourselves, even if it is unintentional. Lying in bed and rising is one of the easiest activities to do correctly and when done, the safest for our bodies. Most people will lean back to lie down as if coming out of a sit-up. This is detrimental to the spine. It places increased pressure on the spine. Abdominals are not strong enough to support the back. This is not the way to increase strength in the abdominals, particularly the lower abdominals.
The best way to not only support the spine, but to prevent injury is to roll down to your side. Begin by sitting on the edge of your bed. Then pretend you are a see-saw. Lower your ear to the bed as you bring up the legs onto the bed. Here is where you must be careful – keep the head down on the bed. Roll onto your back by moving the shoulder and the hip on the same side together, so you move as a unit.
Reverse this when rising: roll onto your side, keeping your head down on the bed, moving the shoulder and hip on the same side together. When you push up to sitting, exhale and swing the legs over the edge of the bed and push with your inside arm so you don’t twist across your body with the other arm.
You will find this to be so much easier on your body and not cause any strain. Your spine will thank you.
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Stay safe and strong. To be continued with other movements we do daily.
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Did you know that Maryland has Direct Access for physical therapy? That means you can see a Physical Therapist without seeing your physician first and getting a prescription. We can evaluate and treat you without a referral. Through the extensive evaluation, if I feel that other issues may be involved that may require you to see your physician, I will refer you back or recommend someone who is appropriate for you.