Know the Basics of Proper Body Mechanics

Monthly training is one of the many ways that Adult Family Care (AFC) supports family caregivers. This month AFC is providing information about the basics of proper body mechanics. 

AFC is an Adult Foster Care program, which provides compensation, training, and respite for caregivers across much of the Greater Boston Area. Call 617-628-2601 or click here for more information. 

Proper Body Mechanics

Rules of Proper Body Mechanics

  • Never attempt to lift or move someone alone if they seem too heavy
  • Spread your feet to shoulder width apart to maintain a good stance of support with one foot slightly in front of the other
  • Bend your knees instead of bending over at the waist
  • Always keep your back as straight as possible
  • It’s a good idea to stretch your muscles before doing any type of transferring or moving
  •   Push or pull heavy objects instead of lifting them when possible
  • Lift using the strongest muscles of your legs and arms
  • Keep the person’s weight as close to your body as possible
  • Contracting or tightening your abdominal muscles can decrease the strain on
    your back
  • Keep your back, trunk and feet aligned properly at all times and avoid twisting
  • To change directions, shift your feet and take smalls steps while keeping your back and neck straight
  • NEVER transfer someone without proper training from a healthcare professional
  • Never allow the person you are assisting to put his/her arms around your neck during a transfer   (it could pull you forward causing you to lose your balance)
  • If you experience any strain in your back, stop the transfer and get help
  • Ask someone to help when possible, it’s always safer to have 2 people to transfer an individual
  • Keep in mind that when moving or transferring others, back injuries can occur even though you may not feel any type of pain.  This is one reason proper body mechanics are so imperative.

Lifting a Heavy Object

  • Stop if the object feels too heavy.
  • Position your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Squat down with straight back.
  • Lift with strongest arm and leg muscles, not your back.
  • Change directions by shifting feet with small steps.
  • Stop if you feel strain and get help