Ergonomics for the New Year

By Adrienne Coats

Back pain and injuries, headaches and migraines, stiff neck and shoulders, and even trigger finger can all be caused by poor execution of ERGONOMICS.  Ergonomics is the study of proper body mechanics in the workplace, but ergonomics can be used anywhere, at any time, to help keep the body happy and healthy.  The year is just getting started and there is no time like the present to start working on those resolutions.  Proper body mechanics can help reduce the chance of injury in your daily activities.

What are proper body mechanics?

Proper body mechanics are proactive ways that help your spine stay in its proper alignment during activities.  It can reduce muscle strain and tension in the back.  Muscle tension in the back can pull on the vertebrae and the discs that lie between them,  putting pressure on the nerves coming from the spine.  The nerves in your spine lead to different muscles and organs that can cause pain and health issues in your body.  With this strain and tension comes the possibility of carpal tunnel, bursitis, tendonitis, even painful ganglion cysts.  Proper body mechanics allow you to do every day tasks, such as lifting a heavy box without hurting your back, or sitting at your desk all day without bothering your neck and shoulders.  Here are some things you can do to maintain proper body mechanics:

  • When sitting at your desk it is important to remember support your lower back and sit up straight.  Keeping the computer screen at eye level and using something to keep documents at the same level as the computer screen can reduce neck strain.
  • When lifting objects, light and heavy, one should never bend at the waist.  The back should remain straight and upright, while bending happens at only the knees and hips, feet shoulder width apart.  The object should always be held close to the body so to not pull on any muscles.  If you ever need to pick up an object and place it somewhere off to the side, turn your whole body and do not twist.
  • Proper body mechanics can even be practiced when standing still, shoulders should be down with the chest open and the back straight, feet shoulder width apart.  It’s also important to keep in mind proper footwear.

 

Below are other articles to read to get you better acquainted with your proper body mechanics.

Holiday Stress

By Adrienne Coats

We are into the holiday season, and many of us may know how stressful it can get.  This can take a toll on the body that we may not realize until it has done noticeable damage.  Stress over the holiday season can come from many areas: regular tension, stress at work with added pressure from holiday expectations, obligations, and disappointments; keeping up the holiday cheer, and the taxing effects of shopping and traveling.  One holiday has come and gone, hopefully without a hitch, and you may feel some relief. But the effects from stress can still linger and even increase with the holidays that’ve yet to come.

Why does stress occur and what is its impact?

Stress occurs when a part of the brain called the hypothalamus that sends out stress hormones that trigger your fight or flight response.  Stress can cause insomnia, weaken your immune system, raise your blood pressure, and increase your risk of a heart attack. Stress which can also cause migraines and muscle tension can, in turn lead to digestion issues, tension headaches, TMJ dysfunction, and body aches.  These are some of the body’s physical response to a prolonged exposure to a fight or flight response.

What can I do?

To help relieve stress, take some time for yourself.  If you have a busy schedule and can’t find time to drive to a massage clinic, we can come to you on your schedule.  Massage can improve blood circulation, ease muscle tension and improve immune health. But anyway you can take the time to pamper yourself is always helpful.  Small things that you can do for yourself everyday brings you one step closer to relaxation. Guided meditation and yoga have been shown to calm nerves and relax the mind.  I, personally, like to recommend a longer night time routine with an epsom salt bath and a cup of herbal tea.

Read more about stress and massage here: