The four fundamental principles of body mechanics and ergonomics are extending the spine in both directions; engaging the lower abs for protection of the low back, using legs to lift heavy objects, and protecting all joints.
During examination, various body mechanics should be practiced to ensure the safety of the patient and that of the physician. The proper table height should be used. This allows one advantage of increasing pressure without compromising body mechanics. The clothing worn should be comfortable, look professional and allow movement freedom. During massage, one should stretch and utilize varied strokes (Beck, 2005). The digits and wrist should be kept as straight as possible and align to the spine. The shoulders should be placed comfortably on top of the rib cage, relaxed and dropped. The physician should be positioned well and directly behind the work.
Medical assistants should assist physicians with physical examination by giving the patient physical and emotional comfort. They also help in determination of vital sighs and measure height and weight. They also support the physician with examination by ensuring that all supplies and instruments are within reach of the physician at the time of examination.
It is important that these steps be taken during examination to ensure the safety of the patient as well as that of the physician. Failure to follow these steps would put the patient at risk and may cause more harm to the already ill patient.
The correct body mechanics while assisting the patient to stand on the scale is by letting them stand on it with measurements of height facing away from the bar of measurement. The patient should be centered and balanced on the scale with arms at the side; the folded measurement bar should be raised above the head of the patient then opened and lowered gently until the bar rests on top of the head. The patient should then be allowed to move from the scale going forward (Fritz, 2009).
When transferring the patient to a wheelchair, the wheelchair should be transferred to a near location. The seating surfaces should be close together and at the right height for the patient. The patient should be allowed to lead from their strong side if they have one. The patient is to be supported from behind to lead them to the chair.
When lifting a heavy box, one should maintain a neutral spine, by keeping the natural curvature of the spine while lifting. The feet should be placed shoulder width apart before starting to lift. Then bend at the hips to get hold of the box and pull it close to the body. Then the box should be lifted using buttocks, abdominal and leg muscles.
When sitting at a computer and without any support for back one should sit up straight with the torso balanced over the hips. The seat height should allow the upper legs to rest parallel to the ground or slope towards the floor at the knees. The leg to torso angle should be 90-105 degrees. Feet should be placed at a comfortable position and moved periodically.
Beck, M.F. (2005). Theory and practice of therapeutic massage, 4th Ed. New York: Albany
Fritz, S. (2009). Essential sciences for therapeutic massage, 3rd Ed. St. Louis: Mosby.
Powell-Cope, G., Hughes, N.L., Sedlak, C., & Nelson, A. (2008). Faculty perceptions of implementing an evidence-based safe patient handling nursing curriculum module, Online Journal of Issues in nursing, 13(3)