Good Posture & Body Mechanics
Why Are Good Body Mechanics Important?
A lack of ability to assume a good posture and utilize good body mechanics for any reason will affect our ability to perform a wide variety of active functional activities. When a patient has a problem that is painful, or certain movements are blocked by the problem, even simple activities and positions may be severely affected. Sitting, standing, lifting & carrying, walking, running, and recreational activities are examples of activities that typically will need specific retraining by skilled instructors. Unless addressed, subsequent healing of the body may be blocked by poor posture/body mechanics.
How Do Good Body Mechanics Go Bad?
Ideally our body uses the least amount of energy possible to maintain good posture (structural efficiency) and to move (muscle efficiency). Injury, pain and/or poor postural habits can cause progressive loss of motion in joints & weakness in muscles, which in turn limits options of position and movement, resulting in structural and muscle inefficiency. The body can develop and maintain compensations for lack of flexibility and strength, but only for a while. As time goes on, these inefficiencies take their toll on the body, with more and more bone, joint and muscle breakdown.
What Does Functional Retraining Include?
The first step is taking an accurate inventory of the functional loss. A typical loss with a low back problem is the inability to sit or drive for more than 20 to 30 minutes. This can be a huge problem with any one that has to either commute to or sit for long periods at work. Another example is loss of ability to lift or carry; this would place a young mother at risk, as she must do something that is both painful and harmful if she can’t find a way to pick up her child safely. Our physical therapists are specially trained to identify these problems and prescribe one-on-one training to help our patients get their life back.
Don’t All Physical Therapists Use Functional Retraining?
Like many things in life, good training and thoroughness occurs on a bell-shaped curve. Some therapists always do, some (regrettably) never do, and most are somewhere in between. At COASTherapy we have incorporated posture and body mechanics training into our rehabilitation program since 1988 to allow patients to become much more aware of their position and movement so they can choose better options and thus enjoy life-long benefits of their rehabilitation efforts.