Biomechanics refers to the study of the structural and functional mechanisms of the human body. It also involves the principles applied in movement to promote smooth and injury-free dynamics, the same types of concepts and philosophies advocated by your local Lan O Lakes chiropractor.
The word biomechanics was coined from Greek word bios meaning life and mechanics, which mean things related to mechanics and life. During its development, biomechanics was patterned from engineering because of the dynamics and kinematics of the human body.
Biomechanics is subdivided into various fields of study. In humans, relevant subareas include soft body dynamics, ergonomy, kinesiology, musculoskeletal biomechanics, orthopedic biomechanics, cardiovascular biomechanics, rehabilitation, prosthesis, orthotics and implant, sports biomechanics, injury biomechanics and occupational biomechanics.
Overall, biomechanics employ general rules when moving to ensure safe body motions. The following are the common principles in this area:
- Avoid bending at the waist. A major principle in biomechanics is never to bend at your waist. Bending at the waist is a common cause of lower back injuries because the lower back muscles become overstretched when bent. To pick up something on the floor or below your waist, bend at the knees and not on the waist to keep the back straight at all times. When working, adjust the working height at waist level to prevent bending.
- Avoid overreaching. In every activity, overreaching should be avoided because this leads to muscle strains and sprains. When reaching something, go nearer the object or use a riser to reach overhead. When you reach overhead, also make sure to have a safe landing such as do not reach a very large and heavy object overhead.
- Avoid twisting the trunk. Twisting the trunk can also injure the lower back muscles. This becomes a problem for golf players because of frequent twisting. Be sure to move trunk from side to side only and never to twist it to gaze behind you.
- Push rather than pull. In Occupational biomechanics, it is more desired to push rather than to pull because the whole body does the work when pushing as opposed to only the hands and arms when pulling. When pushing, stand close to the object or cart to allow your body to push it.
- Avoid standing or sitting for too long. Another principle in biomechanics is to avoid standing or sitting for longer periods because of various complications such as circulatory problems and musculoskeletal injuries (neck and back pain). If standing or sitting for a longer duration cannot be avoided for some reasons (occupation, etc.), make sure to use appropriate supportive equipment such as a lumbar support, anti-embolic stockings and others.
Biomechanics is a simple, yet effective way of moving our body safely. Aside from the basic principles above, also make sure to create an ergonomically safe workplace and a more suitable workout routine to help prevent occupation-related and sports-related musculoskeletal injuries. Always make sure to have adequate back support, always use supportive footwear and avoid lifting heavy objects. Consult a health care provider, a chiropractor or an orthopedic physician for more tips in proper body movements.