Category Archives: Information

WHY YOUR POSTURE IS CHANGING AND METHODS FOR OPTIMAL POSTURES!

All of us know of parents, grandparents, neighbors, anyone that comes into your mind that you have noticed a change in their posture over the years.  Is this now happening to you? Maybe?  Changing posture is a very insidious occurrence.  We don’t physically notice the changes until we can no longer reach high up in the cabinet for that special bowl we need.  Or, our lower back becomes stiff from sitting for even as much as 20 minutes. Or we can no longer squat to the ground as we were once able.  Or turning your head as you back up your car is now either stiff or painful.  You then develop alternative methods because you can no longer perform these movements.  Why is this?  Losing the range of motion in any one joint causes changes and alterations in many other areas in your body that you are not aware of!    This is especially true when there is not a traumatic event to associate the changes with.  Let us review a few reasons why this occurs and then a few methods to combat the soft tissue changes that ultimately change our posture.

Soft Tissue Has Power!

Normally, we do not think of our soft tissues has having power, but they certainly do.  Fascia, the newest accepted organ of the body is meant to be strong, elastic, and slide and glide as we move.  It has a covering, whether thick or thin, over every part and parcel in our body.  Fascia is strong and is known to have contractile powers, yet not eccentric abilities.   Eccentric means the ability for a tissue, as in muscle to contract, yet become long at the same time. This means that fascia once contracted repeated over time may have the tendency to want to remain in the position.  This is one reason that creates abnormal forces on tendons and joints.   With this being said,  static postures that is your worst repetitive motion, awkward postures, highly repetitive motions without rests, unexercising, incorrect food intake, emotional stressors, all together form to create changes within your body that you cannot detect until;  until you cannot turn your head normally until you cannot squat to the floor normally until you cannot reach high into the cabinet for the bowl, and until you feel that stiffness upon standing when only sitting for 20 minutes.   All of this changes your posture.  Now you may notice that increased thoracic curve if looking in the mirror, or your shoulders are so far forward, you have these indents between your pecs and collar bones.

Regain Your Power Over Your Soft Tissue!

I am not the pessimist or fatalist.  I am heralding a trumpet call for any individual that really wants to create optimal changes in their body.  Even if you have Parkinson’s, you can maintain optimal postures for much longer periods of time.  My husband is proof of this.  What are some methods to create changes for an optimal body posture?  It does demand commitment of daily work, 5 – 10 minutes.  Your diligence will pay off.  Will the changes happen quickly?  It takes the time it takes.  The more time you put into this the faster the results.  And, no, the results are not permanent.  This is a lifestyle change.  First, you want to take a baseline of where you are in your joint motions:

Since pictures are worth a thousand words, here are movements that are considered normal and you should strive for:

  Thank you SFMA for this picture!

These movements should not cause pain!  Do not attempt if you already know you have joint movement challenges in any of these areas.  This is meant to bring to your attention how malleable we can still become.

STRATEGIES TO INCREASING YOUR OPTIMAL POSTURE AND MOVEMENT

Many of us have challenges in one or more joints.  Choose the least restricted joint and begin to slowly use a dynamic movement, rather than a prolonged stretch, to increase the range of motion.  Laying down is a great method to use for neck, shoulders, hips, knees, and low back.  Remember, this is how babies begin to increase their range of motion and strength; they are laying down first because they do not have the trunk control sit up.  So,  babies begin by wiggling and jiggling, and discovering a hand, a foot, and work on that movement.  They do not know they are exercising and increasing in the range of motion along with muscle strength and control.

The best method is to contact a professional to educate, teach, and empower you to optimize your soft tissue so you have power over your soft tissue!

Yes = Yes, No = No. There is No Maybe

ACE your communication!  How to Recognize, REFINE, Resolve Colleague and Team Expectations and Communication Challenges

Lori: “Brad, can you email me that information by this Friday, so the project can be completed?” 

Brad: “I am so busy and will not be at work tomorrow.  I’ll see what I can do.”

This is a common communication exchange in everyone’s life.  Should Lori expect the information from Brad she asked for by a specific date?  Yes?  No?  Whenever we communicate answers that are ambiguous, such as, “I’ll see what I can do”, “I am not sure…”, “I think I might”, “Let me get back to you”, we are not communicating very well.  The above short examples are open ended without any definitive answer in response to the person asking the question that requires a definitive answer.

These forms of communication often lead to frustrations between co-workers, doubts of co-workers, and the typical office gossip between co-workers.  All leads to further break down of communication and work productivity.

  How can someone’s ambiguous response be properly delt with that shows respect, confidence, and  demonstrate the satisfied interdependence for that co-worker; or team?  Whether you are working in a team situation, work closely with specific colleagues, or need to collaborate with someone you do not know yet, the principle of agreed communication expectations is foundational. 

 

Agreed Communication Expectations = ACE

The concept on agreeing on expectations in communicating is not new, not a new religion, not groundbreaking for the 6 o’clock news.   Yet, this topic continues to be written about in books that are on best sellers’ listings.  There still is Dale Carnegie’s best-selling book, “How To Win Friends and Influence People”, published in 1936 with over 30 million copies sold worldwide. This book is one of the best-selling books of all time. According to Wikipedia,  it was number 19 in 2011, on Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential books. And there are  Dale Carnegie Communication classes now offered.  Another best-selling effective communication book, “Crucial Conversations” by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler, another New York Times best seller with over 3 million copies sold.  With hordes of e-books, Kindles, Audible and the good old fashion book, combed with living in a society where technology is at our fingertips on our phones, laptops, pads, and desktops, why is communicating with each difficult?  The title of the blog, Yes = Yes, No = No is the giveaway to agreed communication expectations, or ACE.

How ACE Works

The timetable to start effectual communication is anytime: anyone can require this principle, reinforce this principle, retrace this principle in a chronology of communication with another.  Setting and agreeing on communication standards that includes updates, reminders, and to be able to speak up to another when the communication is not clear without being rejected, (as we are all subject to not stating clear thoughts!), that builds the success of communication, which, builds the productivity, respect, and admiration for one another.   Below are 2 examples of how two or more people can agree on terms of communicating without the feeling of misunderstanding or that feeling of ambiguity of whether the expectation will be met or not.

 

EXAMPLE 1

Agree that responses to requests need to be a “Yes” or “No” answer

Of course there are instances when a simple “Yes” or “No” needs to be accompanied by negotiating a different timeline, or amount of information that was requested, or some other difference where the two, or group, can agree and then rely on.  Ultimately you need to answer a “yes” with the appropriate delivery times, or “no, but I can next week, on such n such a day”.

You Cannot be “Just meat and potatoes” for responding to others

If you are the individual supplying the request, and you think you may need more time or cannot supply the entire bulk of information,  then state just that and state the reasons why.  This is where you cannot be that “Just meat and potatoes” person, meaning that short answers or quips is what you are about and that is how you communicate.  When at work, often, you do need to fill many gaps with proper reasonings to others, so they are informed of your request for change of date of requests or amount of information you can provide.   We must take into consideration that in large organizations,  the same department is also divided into silos.  Signifying that just because you have certain knowledge, another team member, or co-worker will not.  We cannot assume others have the same internal knowledge, no matter how trivial, that we have.

 

EXAMPLE 2

Repetition Builds Collaboration Confidence

I remember when matriculating for my physical therapy degree, most of the younger students would whine and complain about hearing the “same thing again”.  What they did not understand was that information repetition was building their ability to use that same information in a variety of ways.  Working situations are no different.  Ensuring that everyone is supplied and has responded to either requests, or changes of information, or changes in timelines are vital for not just the success of a specific project; it builds the success for better working relationships.    People that work well together will accomplish much more and more efficiently.

TAKE HOME                                         

Agreed

Communication

Expectations

ACE your communications!

How Solid are Your Clinic’s Consent Forms?

Our society is more than full of forms: application forms, loan forms, insurance forms, and the beloved, consent form.  We are so inundated with forms, almost daily, we become somewhat numb, or the level of automaticity raises to the point we do not carefully read what we sign. 

The other facet to a consent form, is the development of a form.  This short blog will refer to consent forms for mainly outpatient physical therapy clinics.  With growing regulations at the state and Federal levels, growing methods to offer, and growing patients, a consent form is a foundational piece to any clinic.

What Should a Consent Form Contain?

Most clinics prefer to keep a consent form as simple as possible, yet, in the wake of our recent and continuing challenges of the invisible beast, outpatient clinics now have additional opportunities to offer patients.  All, in my view, should be explained, disclosed, and signed by each patient, with a copy handed to them for their own records.

Basic Material in a Consent Form

  •  HIPAA Privacy Acknowledgement

o   Includes who and who not to divulge medical history to

o   Some clinics prefer for HIPAA statement to be separate

  • Clinic policies of treatments that maybe used

o   Should always state patient have right to refuse

  • Risks and benefits of treatments
  • Attendance policy
  • Places for date, time, and signature of patient or legal guardian signature

Additional Items in Consent Forms

Therapy clinics are now adding a “release of liability”, “hold harmless”, in the consent forms.  In a search of forms that are online at many physical therapy clinics, the liability waiver is increasing as compared to consent forms 5 years ago.

Also added to consent forms, or are additional consents for electro stimulation, traction, or other modalities.  Some clinics create a completely different form to sign, as not all patients will utilize that modality.

The topic of interest today is the telehealth consent.  This is a new and upcoming form in the utilization of outpatient physical therapy and deserves some small comments.  Such questions as; can you use Apple Iphone Face Time or Duolink as a telehealth method?  As both ends are strongly encrypted, so far these forms of “telehealth” are allowable.  Maybe not so in the future.  The caveat to any telehealth visit, is the consent and understanding that the patient at home allows and understands that if he/she does not live alone, the medical conversation may be overheard and seen.  It the patient wishes for the telehealth conference to be private they must ensure that on their end.  The conversation should be recorded, and consent must be attained in the consent form and at the beginning of the call.  This protects both parties.  As this technology is new, with many many grey areas still to be configured, voice recording important; and, if the clinic is using a telehealth 3rd party company, the entire recording of voice and video can be captured.

Take Home Points?

  • Semi-annually review all types of patient forms.
  • Apply telehealth to the consent form, even if the use of an Iphone would be utilized.
  • Obtain consents for recording conversations, even with just a follow up phone call.
  • Strongly consider the Liability Waiver addition.  Sometimes it is important that patients understand they are the more active person in the therapy duo.  The feedback of the patient in every exercise, modality is important.  If the patient is not successful, neither will your business.
  • Begin to look for that 3rd party telehealth system that fits into your budget.   Many clinics visualize the need, but to actively use it is another.
  • Strongly consider the patient signing a consent and liability waiver each visit.   This is important as patient’s values, ideologies, and expectations changes.  Having them sign the form with each visit again rolls back to the statement that it is the patient who is the more active person in the therapy duo.  This serves as a strong reminder.

Forms are the foundation to a strong business model.  Do NOT throw money away.

Is Your Client Performing their Homework?

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

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.

 

Recap

  • Rapport building
  • Expectations from both of you at the very beginning
  • Ensure your client truly understands and demonstrates what they are learning
    1. Can they verbalize and teach that back to you
    2. How many times can they discern the proper movement pattern from the incorrect one

HAPPY EDUCATING!!

Viruses and Bacteria: do we really know the differences? Part 1


Photo by CDC on Unsplash

BACTERIA

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.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

VIRUSES

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.

COVID19

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.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

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
Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

Bibliography

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

Beginning the journey to move at your desk every 15 minutes means quality and pain free!

Remote working from home: Posture, Ergonomics, Exercises: a series on more choices when you are at home SERIES 2 : YOU CAN EXERCISE WHILE WORKING AT YOUR DESK

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.

STRETCHES

We are not rubber bands, rather an intricate closed loop system that interacts and makes adjustments 24 hours a day.

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.

EXERCISES

Any exercise holds the same truth:  Quality not quantity and to NO PAIN.   Exercises serves many purposes:

  1. Build strength
  2. Build stamina
  3. 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.

This is especially useful for that nagging “knot” at either side of the base of your neck.

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.

LOWER EXTREMITY

Make sure you do hold onto something. You will gain better benefit and not have to cheat which dramatically lessens the desired affect. Performing in standing also helps to stretch out the front hip flexors that become so very tight when sitting.
This is an overall “go to” for your back, trunk, shoulders, upper extremity! In this picture the model’s back is slightly rounded. That is an option. Another option is to maintain as straight of a spine and bend (flex) from the hips only. This feels Great! And is wonderful for increasing range of motion of shoulders, thoracic extension and relieves pressure of low back.
Here is learning to perform a better quality squat. Because most individuals lose range of motion in their hips, the low back must now become more mobile. And, the lumbar spine a a stability joint even though it has many moving joints! So, here begin with your arms not as high as seen in the picture. Do not plop onto the chair, but very lightly and slowly feel the material of your clothing touch the chair. Upon rising you must squeeze your glutes hard, for those are the muscles that truly allow you stand. Not so much your quads and spinal erectors that so many of us have now habitually learned and cannot tell what muscles we are using. This paper is designed not only to get you moving at your desk, but to educate you as well, so now you will know why certain focal points and methods are fundatmental.

This should suffice for now as you begin this new journey! Please contact us and let us know you are doing and any questions we can address in later postings!
info@physicalperformancesolutions.com
Business Cell: 803-275-7675

Remote working from home: Posture, Ergonomics, Exercises: a series on more choices when you are at home

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 image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is sliders-300x225.jpg
Furniture sliders work well on carpet and are easily attached to legs of most chairs.

   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!

info@physicalperformancesolutions.com

PH: 803-275-7675

An Answer to: “SAFE DISTANCING”: how it is not realistic for millions of individuals in their profession

COVID19

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!

Sore Feet? Maybe It is Due to Weak Foot Muscles!

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