Whether your client is from your personal training facility, out patient physical / occupational therapy, an athlete preparing for the upcoming season, or the industrial athlete, all of them, have the same in common, which, is to be successful in the reasons the client came to see us to begin with. This comes to the point: the clients’ willingness to understand instructions and their consistent performing of the specific movements for at home or at work. I don’t wish to be portrayed as the movement tyrant, yet to contrast the length and breadth of work and passion that health and wellness professionals invest in their clients, we are the educators, facilitators and cheer leaders. We cannot “get” them better, without their all-in commitment.
Expectations and the relationship established begins with the first meeting. Cultivating rapport with your client is number one. This is where you listen. Listening will establish their particular learning style, preferences, life history; all of which are ingredients to the outcome. Clients that are attaining their goals, building commitment, and changing habits that feed into attaining their goals will be long life relationships and wonderful referrals.
How do we really know if our client is really practicing their assignments?
Is this gentleman performing an optimal stretch for him? What is a better way?
People that know me, hear me say often, “one size fits one”. This is veritable. For that reason, it is incumbent on us as health and wellness professionals to discern minute details of our clients. It is the details that determine if our clients are utilizing the new information, if they are struggling, or possibly not as committed as we are expecting. Here, your critical eye for movement, posture, and listening will speak volumes to you if your client is slacking, trying without the results, or truly displaying their gains.
Expectations from both of you at the very beginning
Ensure your client truly understands and demonstrates what they are learning
Can they verbalize and teach that back to you
How many times can they discern the proper movement pattern from the incorrect one
Surface electromyography, Semg, has been in existence for a number of years. It is recently now gained attention and respect of many professional sports teams, college teams and others that wish to hone in on why they are moving they way they do. Abnormal movement can be created by a host of issues that most often are not occurring at the location where your pain or weakness is experienced. Using Semg can determine muscle firing patterns and aberrant firing patterns that you are not aware of. Here is an example of someone that works in packing for export, and moves 75 lbs of 4’ x 8’ pieces of plywood several times a day. NIOSH would probably look down on that, however, this is the reality of many industries that export via trucks, and shipping containers. This is a fact of life, yet, if one can move better, than less risk of soft tissue break down and injury will occur. AND, the worker’s physical abilities will remain strong as they age.
By simply using a different and effective techniques, this worker will not have to use as many of his muscle firing capability, thereby, his fatigue rate will lessen dramatically in addition to the aforementioned reduction of several risk factors that are common in physical industries.
And the wonderful aspect of using Semg is that there is no limit on what can be found that the human eye, camera, ergo assessments will never pick up.
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CHANGES?
Every sensor demonstrated a dramatic improvement via less muscle activation to perform the same job, just a different way.
Call us at 803-275-7675 to have us help you create a safer work environment!
There is a vast world that humans cannot see with the naked eye. Many of these life forms / organisms are foundational to the existence to the homeostasis of this earth. Some maybe beneficial to humans while others create havoc, sickness and death. With great thanks to the researchers, thinkers, and scientists that lived before us, we know more about these seemingly invisible creatures, some that are harmful to the point of death for humans. We also know some methods to reduce or eliminate them from harming us. The single best method is hand washing. Washing your hands sounds simple, easy and a “no brainer.” Yet, in light of recent explosions of COVID19 worldwide, hand washing is getting a close look. So, let’s see at what researchers are looking at and some of their conclusions that will help us to avoid sickness and more importantly spreading sickness!
TOPICS OF RESEARCHERS: the subject of hand washing is quite extensive, so we reviewed the CDC and WHO recommendations and their topics of research and reports. At the end of the discussion there will be bibliographic links to both the WHO document and the CDC website.
Topics of handwashing:
Steps of washing your hands (World Health Organization, 2009)
Use soap and lather
Continue to lather and rub hands for at least 20 seconds. The more time spent here actually breaks down more bacteria and viruses.
Types of soaps, alcohols, detergents used and which is the most preferred
Rinsing hands to remove as much of soap, bacteria, and viruses as possible
Drying hands is a very important step to further remove unwanted contaminated debris from your hands
Steps of Washing your Hands
After wetting hands, and applying soap, it is recommended to turn running water off. That can propose a problem depending on how faucets are designed. Suffice to say, that is your call. AND, although wetness supports the increased ability for bacteria and viruses to remain on hands, the following steps are required.
2. Using soaps or other chemically based detergents are useful in that their chemical make up increases the destruction of the contaminants. Also, important here is that using soaps increases your tendency to rub hands together that increases friction which is another method to the
destruction of contaminants. The interesting discovery (although it may be a no brainer to you), is that this step when performed for longer periods of time dramatically reduced the amount of any residual contaminants on the skin. So 30 – 40 seconds, or longer maybe required.
3. Rinsing hands. Obviously clean running water is preferred to a basin of water, to increase the thoroughness of removing the soap and any remaining live contaminants on your hands. (CDC, 2020), (World Health Organization, 2009)
4. Drying your hands. This is an interesting and important component as research is indicating. Always use disposable paper towels. Using any reusable cloth towel only allows for any live remaining contaminant to now be on the surface of that towel. Paper towels were also found to be superior to hot air or high speed air hand dryers . Air dryers can increase any live remaining contaminant into the air, thus cross contamination occurs. Your hands need to be completely dry; No WETTNESS post drying. Again, remember, wetness allows bacteria and viruses to survive. And, since these creatures can be so harmful, completely drying your hands is essential. (Cunrui Huang, et al, 2012)
Don’t ignore or be so cavalier regarding such a simple yet so very effective means of destroying those invisible organisms that can cause human lives!
So, what are bacteria? Bacteria are microscopic, single-celled organisms that thrive in diverse environments. These organisms can live in soil, the ocean and inside the human gut. (Vidyasagar, 2019) We hear of “good bacteria” and “bad bacteria”. Bacteria mostly self reproducing organisms, (key word is mostly), and some bacteria we know well: there are the good bacteria, known as flora found in many foods and supplements.
Bifidobacteria: species commonly used in foods and supplements
Lactobacillus: found in the small intestine, mouth and female genital region
B. animalis: found in certain yogurt products
L. acidophilus: found in the small intestine and female genital region
Humans’ relationship with bacteria is complex. Sometimes bacteria lend us a helping hand, such as by those 4 mentioned above. In other cases, bacteria are destructive, causing diseases like pneumonia and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). (Debra Rose Wilson, 2017)
Most bacteria multiply by a process called binary fission, according to the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. In this process, a single bacterial cell, called the “parent,” makes a copy of its DNA and grows larger by doubling its cellular content. The cell then splits apart, pushing the duplicated material out and creating two identical “daughter” cells. (Department of Microbiology, 2020)
We do know that in recent years of using anti-bacterial soaps and detergents, certain bad bacteria are now resistant to many used detergents, alcohols, and other bactericidal chemicals.
Viruses are much smaller than bacteria and do not reproduce themselves as many types of bacteria can. Rather, a virus needs a host in order to survive and multiply because the have either DNA or RNA and do not have the capability read themselves, thus requiring a host cell to reproduce. (Vidaysagar, 2016) Once a virus comes into contact with a host , it injects it genetic material into the host, thereby taking over. Sounds horrible! Viruses can also lay dormant for long periods of time before becoming active. Some viruses also, when active reproduce exponentially.
Recent testing around the world regarding COVID19 is a mad rush to arrest this exponentially contagious menace. Since much of the virus shedding (being the most highly contagious without symptoms) occurs prior to becoming symptomatic, the more the individual comes into contact with people that are contagious without symptoms or the virus lands on surfaces this increases the number of people that can be infected. (Yates, 2020)
(Wei Zhang, et al, 2020) have been researching how much of the COVID19 virus a person is infected with determines how sick they become. “The mean viral load of severe cases was around 60 times higher than that of mild cases, suggesting that higher viral loads might be associated with severe clinical outcomes. We further stratified these data according to the day of disease onset at the time of sampling.’‘ The more infected and sick the patient, the positive test of viral infection remained longer than those with milder symptoms. This data indicates that, similar to SARS in 2002–03,6 patients with severe COVID-19 tend to have a high viral load and a long virus-shedding period. This finding suggests that the viral load of SARS-CoV-2 might be a useful marker for assessing disease severity and prognosis.
TAKE HOME POINTS
At this time, what are take home points?
Wearing facial nose and mouth protection is very important. To reduce your risk of inhaling any airborne droplets, that is now know to travel further than 13 feet
Frequently keep your hands as clean as possible
Change your clothing and shoes when coming home from areas such as grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies; anywhere social distancing is difficult and you don’t know who was traveling down that aisle before you.
Wipe off mail packages and other packaging you intend to bring into the home
Debra Rose Wilson, P. M.-B. (2017, March 17). 6 Most Common Types of Probiotics. Retrieved from Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/types-of-probiotics
Department of Microbiology. (2020). Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Retrieved from Cornell University: https://micro.cornell.edu/research/epulopiscium/binary-fission-and-other-forms-reproduction-bacteria/
Vidaysagar, A. (2016, January 6). Whar are Viruses. Retrieved from Live Science: https://www.livescience.com/53272-what-is-a-virus
Vidyasagar, A. (2019, April 25). Bacteria: Definition, Types and Infections. Retrieved from Live Science: https://www.livescience.com/51641-bacteria.html
Wei Zhang, et al. (2020). Viral dynamics in mild . Lancet Infectious Disease, s.
Yates, C. (2020, April 5). Caronavirus is growing expotentially – here is what it means. Retrieved from The Conversation: https:Theconversation.com/coronavirus-is-growing-exponentially-here-is what-that-really-means-134591
SERIES 2 : YOU CAN EXERCISE WHILE WORKING AT YOUR DESK
To recap the first series on working from home, we focused on the chair. If the equipment you will be using for extended periods of time doesn’t fit, you will be sore, achy and miserable. And, this is not the goal. Monitoring height and placement of a keyboard and mouse are as important; that will be in another series. So, we must think, humans are meant to move and not be sedentary. The voluminous amounts of research that reports the deleterious affects metabolically, physically and emotionally are almost scary to think of what we are doing to ourselves. There is no one to blame but yourself. If you are reading this, then the likely hood that you desire changes that can fit into a hectic lifestyle that you may not have the ability to control well are high. This short paper is only to begin to introduce to you the idea, developing the commitment and carry through, as many of us want the change, but never seem to get there. So, the concepts you will learn are:
You never arrive nor attain – you are always in a state of arriving and changing.
Routine is in the commitment of daily. Yes, daily. No days off to speak of.
Moldability is the ability to adapt to time, internal awareness of yourself, (physically and emotionally), and change what you do and how you do it that day.
Your imagination is your own limitation. Learn to build from concepts about yourself, your capabilities to build a tool box with the learning you might garner here.
True honesty about yourself. Only you know about you. And, most of the time, it takes a life time learn about ourselves – the reason why human factors is such a difficult area. We don’t know ourselves like we think we do.
THE 15 MINUTE OR LESS RULE
Our company performs a lot of surface electromyography (Semg) on employees and clients. Why? This information allows us to visually see how the muscle that the sensor is on is working. Years of research now shows that muscles fatigue rate can be faster or they can mis-fire secondary to a multitude of reasons. What is consistent in 99% of people we use Semg on is that the muscle show patterns of fatigue well before the person is even slightly aware of any fatigue, soreness, stiffness, or other physical symptom. Our data shows that muscles begin to show changes around the 13 minute mark of static positions, repetitive motions, or heavy lifting. The question now becomes whether the fatigue is good or not good. This requires the professional to understand how to read and interpret the findings. In our case here for the person that spends many hours at a computer, upper trapezius and spinal erector muscles fatigue quickly. More so in women than men. Forearm extensor muscles also fatigue prior to 15 minutes from use of the keyboard and mouse. PPS has not tested, but the data is out there that the gluteal muscles we sit on for such long periods of time begin to lose their speed of firing. Yes, the gluteal muscles work because we are standing and walking, but at a slower rate and not as many muscle fibers fire. This now adds to the complexity of why so many people have joint and tissue problems. Other muscles must take up the slack that other muscles are not performing. Mind you, all of this is taking place and you are not aware of it. It is something that you don’t feel, until so many changes have taken place, joint problems, pain patterns set in.
What Happens Every 15 Minutes?
You must find a timer that will reset every 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, you will change your posture, and perform one exercise and one stretch. It will be in the developing of this repertoire that will make you successful. The success will come in various positive adjustments:
You are now consistently consistent with the 15 minute protocol.
Instead of noticing that right upper trap trigger point at 2 hours, you don’t notice it until later in the day, followed by not at all!
Your stamina is increasing, which, means you are increasing in strength.
You may not be as irritable, because now you are accomplishing much more than the work you are employed to do, but at the same time, you are exercising, a commodity that is a necessity not a novelty. And the quality of work produced is better, because you are better focused on work than that tight low back or sore lateral elbow.
Interacting with the family is not a chore now.
This list is endless.
You know, we are not rubber bands and don’t “stretch” like we think. Yes, there are many elastic components in our body; none the less we are not rubber bands. Our tissues actually slide, glide, through and around each other that creates the movement. And our tissues are very well connected, like a forest of spider webs after a light misty rain. When you “stretch” you are encouraging tissue gliding to its fullest capacity. In the beginning, stretching is often frustrating, because we are now very aware of how tight and adhesed our tissues have become. Using the 15 minute rule, you will see changes quicker. THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE WITH ANY STRETCH IS THE QUALITY OF THE MOVE AND ALWAYS TO NO PAIN!
Quality ensures the optimal movement and the NO PAIN says you are not being aggressive, which, can damage tissues you are attempting to become more flexible and strong.
Any exercise holds the same truth: Quality not quantity and to NO PAIN. Exercises serves many purposes:
To optimize movement patterns
The number 3.) is where you will be taking your best guess, as there is no professional to watch, guide, and teach you the correct movement from the wrong movement. This is a kinesthetic exercise as well. You must think about the movement: how does it feel, and where? Is one side easier than the other? And watching YouTube may not give you the answer, because you are not that person you are watching. You have a different life history, different medical or physical abilities or challenges, and certain different tissue adhesions. So, here we will make the beginning easy and have more writing on what is and is not the way to perform an exercise. And do not hesitate to contact us so we can help through video conferencing.
FOREARMS / UPPER TRAPEZIUS / NECK
How often we take for granted a part of our body until we cringe at the thought of picking up something small. Much of the time it is due to the forearm tissues being so adhesed that the smallest of function required causes pain.
When stretching, you can use them as a slow movement or hold for 5 – 10 seconds. Holding a stretch for longer periods of time, slows down the speed of the muscle firing ability for a while. Not a bad thing after a work out. But during the day, using these as slow movements helps to restore normal firing patterns in addition to the all important tissue gliding.
SERIES ONE: YOUR CHAIR IS THE FOUNDATION FOR A BETTER POSTURE
The ability to change your posture yet maintain a good posture when working at a computer for extended time periods is like good real estate: location, location, location! Without going into extreme details, good and changing postures maintain optimal joint alignment, uses various muscle groups for sustaining of different postures, that ultimately reduce those nasty trigger points on either side of the base of your neck, low back stiffness, and other stiff joints. Most often we sit in chairs at work, that have rollers on them, side arms, and some handle mechanisms to change the height or tilt of the chair. And if the chair you use does not help you when at work, your physical complaints begin to over ride your ability to focus on tasks at hand. In many organizations, you may not have a choice of the chair that is good for you. Now that you may be working from home, your choices and adaptations expand immensely. For an example: at work you would like to sit on an exercise ball, but the company policy is no exercises balls to be used as chairs secondary to liability reasons. At home, you can certainly use an exercise ball as a choice.
Lets begin with the “I don’t have a chair with wheels, and that would certainly be nice to have.” Find one or two chairs, that will fit several postural changes and attach furniture sliders on the legs by attaching them with sticky backed Velcro.
This way the sliders are easily removed. Placing sliders on the legs allows to push the chair around without too much friction and resistance. If your home office space is hardwood or tile, use the thick felt pads and attach them in the same manner with Velcro.
At home, you can make most chairs fit for changing your posture frequently, thereby reducing over fatigue of postural muscles. The key component is when changing your posture, work in a stretch or a 15 second exercise. All which helps to “reset” muscle firing patterns and to normalize postural muscle firing rates.
So, you have picked out a few chairs. The next step is to figure out which one or two will work better for you. The chair is a piece of equipment that can determine your pelvic position. This is important to determine optimal pelvic alignment first.
GOLD: The Position of Your Pelvis is the Foundation to How the Rest of You Aligns!
I wrote a piece before about good posture in sitting, and, I think redundancy builds in the habit; so let’s review how pelvic alignment really aligns the remainder of your spine that includes your head. Your pelvis, made up of 3 bones on the left and right side of your body connect to your sacrum, the triangular bone at the base of your lumbar spine. All together these bones form a bowl shape. Your hips are also apart of the pelvis. The red circle surrounds this pelvic region. The picture to the right shows the person in what is called a “posterior pelvic tilt”. Nothing wrong with that, but this tilt of the pelvis is actually dictating how the spinal bones will align traveling to the head. This posture creates a domino affect to the rest of your torso, including your shoulders. And, with prolonged static postures, as is common in computer tasks, the muscles associated with posture begin to behave abnormally, that you cannot detect. By the time you detect muscle soreness, fatigue, headaches, or joint stiffness, this abnormal muscle firing and firing patterns have been going on inside of you for a long time.
Current ergonomic postulates state that the hips and knees should be at a 90 degree angle for proper sitting postures at seated work stations. Yet when hips are flexed at 90 degrees, the pelvis is more apt to be in a posterior position. The many individuals will correct by increasing the pelvic tilt to an anterior tilt that increases lower lumbar disc pressure. All of this information, still very basic, may appear to be too detailed, yet it is in the understanding of your position, that will empower you to do and correct properly.
The picture to the left has the hips in more of a 100 degree angle, which, is good. Now begin to look up the spine: The red line shows the true plumb line. So, in this picture, the person is leaning back slightly, which increases shear force on the sacrum, increases a forward head and rounded shoulder posture. I would not use this picture as a good visual for seated posture.
Learning from Visuals
Since most of us have difficulty “feeling” where our body’s are in space and understanding and feeling a correct manner verses what we are used to doing, (usually not correct), and if there is no professional to truly help you to discern and self correct, then good visuals are another method. Since this paper is to talk solely on the chair, the above are pictures that can help you to learn an optimal posture that you can sustain. Let me repeat here again that sustain static positions are the worst repetitive motion, therefore sitting for long periods of time at a work station, say, longer than 15 minutes, reeks havoc not only on the musculoskeletal system, but metabolically as well. Use some of the short visual basics as choosing and using a chair to your greatest advantage!
If you ever have any questions, feel free to reach out to us!
What we are learning from the COVID19 is just how quickly it spreads and has the capability to interact with certain medications people maybe taking. The consequences for some are life threatening and death. Safe distancing was an easy method to begin a downward curve of this menacing virus, yet it is not a realistic long term solution. And, most people do agree that it will take a multitude of methods to truly combat and totally mitigate this virus.
Safe distancing cannot be avoided
Many careers and job tasks will continue to require close human contact: Dentistry, allied health, personal fitness trainers, chiropractors, nursing, parents interacting with their children, and the list is endless, I only name a few. This is true in many industries. Close proximity of workers is how the assembly was designed; and, it will take engineering thought, design and additional factors to correct, if that be that organizations top priority list.
Immediate viable options – now
Americans, especially, are not accustomed to wearing protective face masks or gloves when out and about shopping, or at work when PPE does not suggest so. These types of protection are truly new to Americans. Lets look more closely at what protective face gear can do:
It limits the amount of invisible droplets of any contaminant that is in the air from entering your nose or mouth. This is not just for COVID19. It can be a simple cold virus.
Many individuals wear protective face gear during high pollen seasons, during times in areas where dust clouds are in the area or increased smog density. Others with suppressed immune systems may opt to wear them because IT DOES limit the percentage of contaminants into them.
Wearing protective face gear can also limit your expulsion of any contaminants you may be harboring and not aware of. Be honest, how many of us go to work, shop, or attend social gatherings when we have a cold, or “know” we are “coming down” with something? We have all heard that phrase before. Only now, we could potentially be spreading serious illness to others, that otherwise appear to be healthy. And, lets face it, there are those times a sneeze just happens.
Wearing protective face gear is also a physical reminder when you cough, sneeze or for us that have a tendency to rub your face. You will feel the mask and be reminded to not touch your face or use your elbow to sneeze or cough into. The protective face gear will also limit how many contaminants are now on your sleeve that you will now be wearing for the remainder of the day. And in heavy populated areas with public transportation, how many people may accidentally rub against that area?
Wearing Protective Gloves
Most of us wear protective gloves at one time or another when performing certain tasks. Cleaning caustic cleaners at home, or wearing gloves to protect our hands from cold harsh weather. There are catchers mitts, half finger gloves for weight lifting. The point is we wear gloves a lot! Although, no one has given it much thought in recent years to actually wear protective gloves when shopping. Yes, we tell our children, “Don’t touch that!”, when in a store. “You don’t know who has handled it before”, etc. And what about handling all of the food products: we hold them, read labels, handle fresh produce to see if that is the pepper we want to buy, yet handle it with bare hands. Ok, we wash the fresh produce once we get home, but whatever we touched is on our hands. So how many things did we touch before we got home? And, how many of us really use hand sanitizer after EVERY time we touch something? We don’t. At least the majority of us do not.
Now, handling items is becoming more important, as we do not know who touched, or sneezed or coughed in that area. Wearing protective, disposable gloves is a good viable option.
Even if you continue to use hand sanitizer, your hands will not be so dried out and scaly. Protective gloves protects your skin with your natural protective oils.
When touching something you think is contaminated with what ever, it is easy to remove the gloves safely, thus your skin is clean from the contaminant.
While social distancing will eventually become a natural instinct in the coming years, we can still enjoy physical closeness that humans desire. It is in our DNA. We can also become more cognizant and employ items we use already and incorporate them in more of our daily living.
So, don’t be afraid to wear those dressy gloves when having a glass of wine!
All of us have more than likely experienced sore feet at one time or another. It could have been due from wearing those beautiful tight stilettos sported at a party, or from running that first 150 triathlon. Or maybe there is a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis? The reasons are varied. But, how many think of the main cause of foot soreness is from weak foot muscles!
The recent 2018 International Fascial Congress held in Berlin Germany, Dr. Daniel Lieberman, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology and Chair, Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, brought up very interesting concepts of plantar fasciitis. One of the many areas of studies Dr. Lieberman is involved in, revolves around studying the evolution of human movement; and, how evolution of human movement has changed over time. He also studies how different groups of peoples in the world move today.
His insights of walking and running in relation to the foot, and the plantar fascia are strikingly interesting. To boil down just one piece of information from his wonderful and engaging talk is that our western society culture of how we live and work is a contributor to weakened intrinsic foot muscles (the deeper muscles of the foot), that, in turn, places undo stress and work on the plantar fascia. Think about it: most of western society wears shoes. Many types and styles of shoes restrict and constrict how the smaller intrinsic muscles of the foot work. This limitation reduces their ability and strength.
Studies continue to indicate how shoes can alter how the foot functions as a whole. Because of the many moving joints in the foot and ankle, altered muscle firing patterns will place altered stresses on various joints. Most of which we do not feel while we are young, but certainly begin to experience the total effects as we age.
And, while there are a multitude of reasons for sore feet as mentioned earlier, the best two methods to begin to combat sore feet are: 1.) Exercising the intrinsic muscles of the feet and toes and 2.) choose your shoes wisely.
There are many exercises for the feet to choose from on the internet: suffice to say, ensure that any exercises you do, do not cause pain or increase any pain you may have. If that happens, please contact a health care provider such as a physical therapist or chiropractor that know feet to help you.
For choosing the best shoe, of course that depends on what you will do when wearing those shoes. Steel toes shoes are typically difficult, in that the steel or composite cap does not match up to the toe joints as the foot advances. Sneaker type of steel toe shoes, may not give the distance between the foot and the concrete to sufficiently reduce the ground reaction forces from the concrete.
RECAP: Exercise your feet!
Choose your shoes to fit what you will do! Call us for more information on strengthening your feet!
1.) Nicholas B. Holowka, et al. Foot strength and stiffness are related to footwear use in a comparison of minimally- vs. conventionally-shod populations.
2.) Elizabeth E. Miller, et al. The effect of minimal shoes on arch structure and intrinsic foot muscle strength
Morning movement and stretch programs can do more for you than you think.
Points to changing how you move.
It does not matter what we do for work, outside of work, or where we are, movement is key to doing anything. Even static positions are movement. Muscles must attain a certain level of synchronized firing or you would not have the ability to sit. Anyone that has even minimal neurological deficits understands this. This truth is never more important than as we age!
Certain joints are designed to provide stability, while other joints promote mobility. Ball and socket joints are more mobile, while hinge joints such as the elbow and knee are more for stability. In the diagram below, you can see alterations between stable and mobile from one joint to the next.
The lumbar spine (low back) should be more stable, but because of hip or thoracic joint movement limitations, the low back must become the more mobile part. In these cases, chronic low back pain and injury result. Looking at the model, “S” meaning stable and “M” meaning mobile, notice that the S’s and M’s alternate. Now further look and compare between the model’s right side: “How We Should Be,” and the model’s left side: “How Most of Us Are.” One joint limitation can impact all other joints—not only how they move but more importantly their job function!
Also notice that if the hip range of motion becomes limited—stable—then the knee, a hinge joint that is considered stable, becomes more mobile.
The approach to morning stretch/movement programs and work place wellness programs linked below begin to address this.
I have been reading lately more and more articles on LinkedIn and other sites about what is truly most important in a company. Oleg Vishnepolsky, CTO of the Daily Mail and Metro.Co.Uk posted an interesting experience that gave opportunity for thinking and changing his actions titled, “Your most important assets are not your clients, it’s your loyal employees. If you take of your employees, they will take care of your clients.” Then there is Brigette Hyacinth, writer and author about working relationships in companies, who posted on LinkedIn a similar topic, “Why You Should Put Employees, Not Customers, First!” Great articles to remind us that employees are individuals with high value.
And while this topic is not new, why are there so many articles and books on this topic? It is obvious that there is a truth behind the saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” This is an excellent company mantra. For employees are, at the very least, two things to a company: 1) a company’s largest operating expense, and 2), a company’s largest and most valuable resource. It is, therefore, critical for company executives to be the leaders in the manner they treat employees directly under them, as well as initiating programs that are powerful in the statement of how much a company cares for their employees. The business we’re in—preventing employee injuries through a multitude of proven methods—is a demonstrable way to say to all employees that the company cares. The benefits are two sided and valued by all recipients.
You may be able to visualize how the company can and should demonstrate outwardly their appreciation of employees, yet need a few easy methods to begin to institute and grow that care. Below are three methods that can be used that will send a strong message to your employees about company commitment to them.
Develop and start a strong daily stretch and movement routine.
Companies that already have morning stretch programs in use, take stock. It is quite possible that revamping and improving the program is in order. For companies that have never started a morning stretch program, this method will be a welcomed employee experience.
Why? Morning stretch and move programs provide not only physical flexibility and protection against injury, but daily educational moments as well. Executives and managers can use this time with employees to improve their knowledge of physical movement and fitness. Not all individuals will have the same knowledge base, and this is an opportunity to bring everyone on the team to the same basic level of understanding.
For educational background, our bodies really do not stretch the way we may think of when the word “stretch” is used. Yes, there are elastic components in the tissues, but, overall, the tissues inside the human body slide and glide over each other. In addition, static stretches—the most commonly used type of stretch in many morning routines—should be replaced with what is known as dynamic stretches, or in Physical Performance Solutions parlance, specific movements.
Research shows that static stretches used prior to highly repetitious or ballistic movements can actually slow down the muscle firing process in the body for a short period of time.
To turn a static stretch into a dynamic stretch, make the stretch more of a movement rather than holding the end position.
This type of movement increases the blood and oxygen flow throughout the body, therefore mimicking larger movement patterns that maybe similar to the movements used in the work station.
Also add movements that are the opposite of what is used in the workstations. Why? For example, if gripping electric drills all day is a common task, the forearm muscles, both flexors and extensors, become fatigued well before the worker notices fatigue or stiffness. Teaching workers how to move body parts in the opposite direction helps to encourage and facilitate the tissue glide that is normal in the body.
Develop and encourage employees to use these movements all throughout the workday. Research in this area repeatedly shows that altering movements is beneficial to tissues of the body in maintaining a proper tissue motion.
Institute a mentoring program for all employees.
In physical labor positions, many employees would like to step up and have the opportunity to expand their skills, yet feel that it’s not possible. Starting a mentoring program at this level is just as important as mentorship programs that may exist in management or elsewhere in the company.
Mentorships here can take on many forms and be kept simple. You might consider a reverse mentoring program. An example of reverse mentoring can be an employee mentoring a production manager on the assembly line. Managers aren’t doing the work, so they may be missing some important elements that the frontline worker can see. More importantly, the relationship between a mentor and mentee is something that can foster respect across departments and job titles: a benefit that money can’t buy.
Another example of reverse mentoring is to couple an older employee with a younger employee. These methods help to increase the knowledge base across the workforce and build mutual respect. This reverse hierarchal mentoring is also shown to increase trust, understanding and engagement across departments and across a company’s entire organizational structure. Additionally, reverse mentoring is a positive method for gaining an accurate pulse of the culture of the company.
Developing a mentorship program:A H A moments: Agree, Hunger, Appreciate
Agree. Each party needs to define their goals. What are the expectations? Both individuals need to agree to these and any additional rules as the mentorship program is designed. Defining goals and expectations ahead of time helps the two to help each other gain the knowledge each one would like to gain. This helps to increase communication skills for both parties and certainly increases the work relationship.
Hunger.To learn! At certain times, even the mentor will become the mentee. Especially in reverse types of mentorship programs, both parties are learning new information as they share their ideas and concerns. All of this helps satisfy each participant’s hunger to grow.
Appreciate. Appreciation comes from the new knowledge and perspective that was shared. As I mentioned earlier, no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. In mentorships, the building of new relationships builds a new level of acknowledgement and appreciation. That appreciation can result for many reasons. The salient point is that more individuals within the company now have a greater depth of awareness—interdepartmentally, intra-departmentally, and across the company’s organizational structure as a whole. Engagement will increase for the company as a whole. And, as a whole, the company will succeed! Because more and more employees will be on the same team.
Utilize specific employee surveys.
Employee surveys are not new. Most medium to large companies use employee surveys to gain insight on what is important to employees in aggregate and also to address specific areas of concerns for individual employees. We suggest a specific type of survey that will be used to impact the first two suggestions we’ve laid out here: morning stretch and movement programs, and mentorships. Via integrating the responses from this more specific survey, these two well-known methods can evolve, stay fresh, and engage employees, thereby becoming a true demonstration of the company’s appreciation of and care for its most valuable asset.
We focus on the wellness of individuals using a unique, multifaceted approach. Our techniques to normalize movement patterns, as well as increase strength and stamina, are proven in both industrial and private settings. Our approach saves companies unnecessary expenditure on workers compensation claims.
We continue to seek the best means in technology, manual therapies, and movement re-training to empower all clients. We will always provide superior and customized attention to all clients so they may achieve their mission.