Body Mechanics


Health Straight talking Keep your joints healthy by learning about good body mechanics words: Louise Ramsay A nyone who has lifted a heavy box the wrong way, or sat slumped try the in front of a computertechnique much it can hurt. An aLexander for hours, knows how aching back, stiff neck or painful shoulders can all be symptoms of if you re findingbody mechanics, the term usedposture and poise asor hold poor it difficult to great for how we move around put good posture and our daily activities. ourselves in body small children, but we lose it mechanics into practice,it harder for yourwe grow up. the alexander Bad body mechanics makes you as muscles to control your joints properly, so that the loading surface of the joint is damaged, says Dave Emsley, might got my Life back technique teaches people how ive benefit from learning the aphysiotherapist at Bodymechanics Physiotherapy. Ifthis goes on for a long time, alexander technique. to re-find their natural balance the joints wear out moreend of the they might otherwise have done. stairs. Janice Blackburn,quickly than developed at the 71, from longer able to walk up and coordination, says Julia cheshire, fellby Frederick in a 19th centuryups the chances of developing osteoarthritis, but ofalsothe This not only on her knee Woodman, chair it of increases the I had never heard the research likelihood of making existing arthritisa supermarket eight years ago matthias alexander, it s less worse. group of the society of teachers Alexander technique but my GP therapy than a methodcan self-yourself to mestand and move around inin The good news is that you of train put sit,alexander technique. of the forward to take part positions that not only reduce your risk of developing arthritis, but if you already I damaged teaches awareness care, whichthe cartilage and, aa hands-on method, which is trial. I wanted to do anything have how we hold ourselves and pain. I could before I agreed to a kneeover the next also help to I of arthritis willfew years, reduce taught over a course of up to 24 couldnt get rid eliminate bad move around toof the pain. replacement technique is helpful lessons, the operation. Phabits. nearly all of usIhave osturephysiotherapy, was Despite for those with or without knee After the first lesson, my Dont slouch stand up straight and keep your chin up. Weve all had the rules of taking eight painkillers a day pain started to improve and now, good posture drummed into us since childhood, so why dont we do it? and was still unable to get out of having had 20 lessons, I have Its easy to get into bad habits, says Emsley. But slouching can be caused by a chair without grimacing. Im just returned from a walking things like muscle imbalances or compensation for an injury. a very active person, but was no holiday something I couldnt Holding ourselves correctly means that our muscles are used effectively to keep bones and joints in the right place, reducing stress on ligaments particularly of the spine and preventing strain or overuse problems. Muscles that are used efficiently tire less quickly, so you have more energy. Good posture also helps improve mood and increase self-esteem. try the aLexander technique arthritis, because it reduces pressure on the joints. When you re out walking, imagine you aregot my Life to an ive a tram attached back overhead cable that is pulling begin to consider don t need to you along so you previously. Mythe work, says Woodman. do trips to the theatre are back on and I dont need maintain this mayinfo to take any more help you more painkillers. of the spine. the natural length don t try to also recently led Back pain do it, just imagine to and, if walking becomes less it my daughter giving up running, but now shes had on of an effort, you re probably Alexander technique lessons the right track. shes doing marathons again. I cant thank my instructor enough he has given me my life back. alexander technique teacher Jane kosminsky describes how the therapy works How to stand Standing tall is the best thing we can do to help decompress the spine and other weight-bearing joints, which gives us greater control over their movement, says Emsley. But standing correctly doesnt mean keeping a poker-straight back. The idea is to align your body as symmetrically as possible by maintaining the spines natural curvature, keeping the neck straight and the shoulders parallel with the hips, says Emsley. Dont round your shoulders, but hold them back and relax. Pull in your tummy, keep your feet about hip distance apart and balance your weight evenly on both feet. Keep your legs straight but knees supple and relax. How to sit Its no secret that the use of technology plays havoc with our posture. Things like mouse arm and Blackberry thumb are really common, but the biggest problem is compression of the spine, says Emsley. This comes from sitting in the same often rotated position in front of a computer for long periods of time, which puts a huge strain on the back. To sit properly, Emsley advises sitting with your bottom against the back of the chair with the spine tall so that the thorax is above the pelvis and the normal, natural S-shape of the spine is preserved. Its also incredibly important not to sit for long periods of time, he adds. Try to change position regularly to improve blood flow and activate a range of muscles. A small lumbar roll or rolled up towel can help maintain the S-shape of the spine, while knees should be bent at a right angle to the body and feet should be flat on the floor. Muscles used efficiently tire less quickly, so you have more energy. Good posture also improves mood Sleeping and getting out of bed The most comfortable position is likely to be one where your joints can rest in a neutral position and are nor excessively stretched or strained, says Pip White, who heads up the Chartered Society of Physiotherapys professional advice service. Different people will prefer different positions there is no one-size-fits-all. White recommends that if you are having pain while sleeping, have a chat with a physiotherapist, who can examine your joints and give you appropriate advice. When you get out of bed, you may find it more comfortable to roll onto your side, swing your legs out of bed and then raise yourself up using your arms, she continues. If your hands and wrists are painful, you may find it more comfortable to push up using your forearms. Some of my patients have told me that wearing nightwear made of a slippery fabric such as silk or polyester can make moving against the bed sheets easier, and it can make turning over in bed at night more comfortable. Lifting Dont try to lift things that are so heavy they overstretch or overload your joints, says White. Take care not to strain your back or your knees. Stand close to the object, bend your knees and back, and take hold of the object using handles or hand holes if available. Use the muscles in your legs to push you up again. Take particular care if your joints are swollen or painful. Carry the load close to yourbody with a firm grip and place the object down steadily at itsdestination. Its also important to use your biggest, strongest joints and muscles when you can. For instance, when carrying heavy loads, rather than a handbag or hand luggage, use a bag with a shoulder strap that goes across your back. Bodymechanics Physiotherapy clinics here For info about the Alexander technique or to find a teacher, go here