Basic Body Mechanics for Daily Living

The following educational booklet has been provided by your OrthoNeuro Physical Therapist. The information provided in this booklet is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease of any sort. It is not a substitute for professional health care, and is designed to support – but NOT replace – the relationship you have with your OrthoNeuro provider.  Please call your physical therapist if you have questions regarding the information you have been directed to review.

woman in bed with hip pain

It is an unfortunate fact that a large portion of today’s population will experience some level of back pain.

There are many structures in the spine which can become a source of discomfort. Causes of pain can range from single traumatic incidents to the cumulative effects of stresses as a result of poor body mechanics and posture. Often minor changes to the performance of daily tasks will enhance recovery from back pain as well as prevent pain or injury.

The spine has a natural “S” like curve which helps it absorb load. There are 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, 5 lumbar vertebrae, and 5 fused bones called the sacrum.  Maintaining these curves is essential to the achievement of a healthy back. Comfortable maintenance of these curves can be considered a neutral posture as we are avoiding extremes of movement either direction. Following a few basic principles with a neutral posture can be very helpful in the reduction and prevention of back pain.

Some of these principles are:

  1. Avoid prolonged sitting or standing.
  2. Maintain neutral spine and tighten abdominals for lifting, pushing, pulling.
  3. Push rather than pull when possible.
  4. Maintain a stable base for lifting and reaching.
  5. Keep objects close to the body when lifting or carrying.
  6. Pivot with feet rather than twisting back.
  7. Lift with legs not back.
  8. Avoid excessively heavy lifts, seek help.
  9. Test the weight before lifting.
  10. Avoid abrupt or yanking motions.
  11. When sitting, sit tall with a relaxed neutral posture, chin level, ears over shoulder, shoulders over hips, knees at hip level or lower, feet on floor. Have neither a slouched or over arched posture with back supported.

This booklet is designed to assist you in making life style changes by modifying your activity level and to incorporate proper postures and body mechanics to avoid aggravating your symptoms. After reviewing this booklet please ask your therapist if you have further questions or concerns.

Spine Care Specialists

If you live with chronic back or neck pain, contact OrthoNeuro in Columbus, Ohio, for state-of-the-art diagnosis and personalized spine care treatment plans to heal your spine, relieve your pain, and help you get back to your regular activities.

Ying H. Chen, DO, FACOS


Paul H. Eichenseer, DO

Orthopedic Spine Surgeon

David K. Kim, MD

Orthopedic Spine Surgeon

Donald J. Rohl, DO

Orthopedic Spine Surgeon

Siddharth Shetgeri, DO


Larry Todd, DO

Orthopedic Spine Surgeon

Mark A. White, DO


Daniel P. Pap, MD

Interventional Pain Specialist

Dustin Reynolds, M.D.

Interventional Pain Management Specialist

“I recently had surgery on my lower back. I had heard that such surgery would result in pain and cause me difficulties in doing ordinary daily tasks but, I experienced no pain and was able to do normal activities at home and at church. Also, being a bee keeper, I was able to work the hives and extract the honey from most of the hives”

James B.