Category Archives: Lean Six Sigma

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.

Assess Your Posture: How your posture reveals your emotions and more

 

Most of us can hear the echoing voices in our minds of our mothers and grandmothers,  “sit up straight”, “stand up straight”.  They were right.    The collection of data, we call research, begins to tell a story behind what our grandmothers said regarding posture.  As psychology and human factors continue the climb ladders of research and understanding, postures convey more than a good or bad habit.  Postures reveal your emotions, perceptions of yourself, and certainly, how others perceive you.

Posture helps good or negative memory recall

Research: a learning curve that helps to shape how we think, do, and act.  Research is a type of cell phone, many individuals rely heavily upon it, and would be in a quandary without it.   History of mankind continually exposes that the peoples of the world had considerable amounts of knowledge about many things; there was no research to substantiate it.  We now rely on great historians to support the knowledge of the past.   Much of human knowledge can be considered “common sense”:  do not walk and then stop in front a fast-moving vehicle if you want to live.  Much of human knowledge also has varied parameters of opinions and conjectures, creating confusion in decision making for some.  In the case of posture and different memory recalls, research does affirm erect posture will elicit better memory recall of good memories in contrast to slouching posture will recall a higher percentage of depressing memories (Erik Peper, PhD, BCB, et al., 2017).   Many of us, when we stop and think, can relate times of trouble, we might remember slouching, almost an attempt to hide our faces.  When assuming that posture, those unhappy and troublesome memories are easier to recall.

                TAKE HOME POINT

When experiencing troubling times, sit up and stand up erect.  Use your memory to facilitate positive changes that are often required when traveling through those valleys.

5 Postures, 5 Emotions

A very interesting study conducted by a group of researchers at Psychological Sciences, University of California, Merced, CA, USA, (Eric A. Walle, et al., 2017) used actors to portray 5 emotions: joy, sadness, fear, anger, and disgust.   An interesting point is the study used photoshop to remove the actors’ heads and changed all photos into the same grey color as to remove as much outside influence.  The focus was to only view the body, without the facial expression, as facial expressions, in past research reveal inconsistencies (Allison Winters, 2005).  Anger, fear, and disgust were the most often chosen, 79%, correctly by the participants that viewed the photos.  Joy and sadness had variations yet were considered to still have statistical significance.

 

Postures do display our internal emotional state, without looking at the face.  I venture to say most of us have watched people moving about and we automatically perceive something about that person.

TAKE HOME POINT

There is always someone watching you.  If you are planning an interview, an important meeting with the organization’s decision makers, a first date, your posture is talking when your lips may not be moving.

First impressions are your posture.

Postures in the Form of Exercise Movements

Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong have a common thread: static and dynamic postures that are specific in length of time a posture is held, the sequencing of the posture, and the movement that takes place shifting from one posture to another.  As a physical therapist and provider for employee injury prevention, these forms of “exercise”, are remarkably familiar.   The fourth common thread that yoga, tai chi, and qigong have, as compared to exercise equipment, is the mindfulness that is integrated into these forms of exercise.  History shows that these types of body and mind exercise movements are to bring the body and mind together to create a harmony of the two.  Harmony brings on homeostasis, which, in turn, allows a calm emotional state of being, safety, and facilitates physical healing. American western thinking wrestles with this concept from gyms to medicine: the body and mind are separate, even though the human body and mind are one (Budiman Minasny, 2009).  Body work therapists are very familiar with this concept as emotions from the past are often elicited when performing bodywork on a client (Bruno Bordoni1, et al., 2014).

 

Salient to these types of mind-body exercise, is the relaxation response created.  Fascia, a large organ that is the holding matrix in the body is only just beginning to surface with research that correlates and upholds the mind and body as one.

 

“The number of receptors in the fascia far outnumber those in the muscle and around the joint [55,56]. Within these mechanoreceptors, the majority of input comes from the interstitial receptors that are intimately connected to the autonomic nervous system. Stimulation of these intrafascial mechanoreceptors leads to an altered proprioceptive input to the central nervous system, which then results in a changed tonus regulation of motor units associated with this tissue. The result is relaxed, freer moving and more pliable tissue.”

Meditative Movement, Energetic, and Physical Analyses of Three Qigong Exercises: Unification of Eastern and Western Mechanistic Exercise Theory

Penelope Klein 1,*, George Picard 1,2, Joseph Baumgarden 1 and Roger Schneider 2

 

Also, in conjunction with how fascia behaves and is directly linked to the central nervous system is how this tissue, when moved properly reduces inflammatory responses and assists with DNA repair, (Penelope Kline, et al., 2017).   New theoretical models of how the mind and body are connected are a frontier for physical, emotional, and healing capabilities of the human body.

            TAKE HOME POINT

  • Emotions directly affect your posture
  • Practicing mind-body exercises evokes the body’s relaxation response that facilitates stable emotions, allows for the body for physical healing, and increases physical stature and abilities

 

What has this to do with Safety in the Workplace?

 

Postures can certainly reveal our emotions internally.  If we can allow ourselves to learn, recognize, then change, our emotional stability will preserve us from accidents at work, home, or sport.  Changing your posture via some of the topics discussed, will also have a direct affect on your peers at work and family, not to mention your emotional stability and well-being.

 

Well-being ranks high in organizational surveys.  Most of us, in our American culture, are facing exceedingly more stressful situations, out of our control.  In the workplace, it is important for our emotions to be stable; not the yo-yo, the ups and downs, from a look, a word, added assignments, we are now thinking this is our new normal.  No, it is not your new normal.  How we change by being proactive will change us and others in a positive manner.

References

Allison Winters, M. (2005). Perceptions of Body Posture and Emotion: A Question of Methodology. The New School Psychology Bulletin, Volume 3, No. 2,.

Bruno Bordoni1, et al. (2014). Skin, fascias, and scars: symptoms and systemic connections. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 2014:7 11–24.

Budiman Minasny, P. (2009). Understand the Process of Fascial Unwinding. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE AND BODYWORK, VOLUME 2, NUMBER 3,.

Eric A. Walle, et al. (2017). Postural Communication of Emotion: Perception of Distinct Poses of Five Discrete Emotions. Frontiers in Psychology, 0.3389/fpsyg.2017.00710.

Erik Peper, PhD, BCB, et al. (2017). How Posture Affects Memory Recall and Mood. Biofeedback, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp. 36–41.

Penelope Kline, et al. (2017). Meditative Movement, Energetic, and Physical Analyses of Three Qigong Exercises: Unification of the Eastern and Western Mechanistic Exercise Theory. Medicines, 4, 69; doi:10.3390.

 

Surface Electromyography: the AI to transform optimal movement and worker injury prevention!

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?


Below we determined the percentage of decreased muscle activity from simply changing how the worker moves the awkward plywood.  The percentages are outstandingly wonderful for the worker.

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!

https://www.physicalperformancesolutions.com

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

Getting Beyond Low Hanging Fruit

How Accountable is Your Organization?

Employee health and safety professionals understand the importance of safety in the workplace.  They know that safety comes in all shapes and sizes.  Yet, when bad decisions are made by management regarding safe procedures such as lock out tag out, what are some of the possible outcomes? Well, this:

OSHA case study: How some companies still flout safety to gain economic advantage

In this OSHA case study, luckily there were no severe injuries.  But what was just as detrimental was the non-verbal but loud and clear message to the employees: “We don’t really care about you.  It’s about how fast the product can be produced!”

Robotics assist in many ways.  One way is to reduce possible awkward positions and sustained awkward positions of employees. When dangerous short cuts are imposed like the one outlined in the OSHA case study— allowing employees to climb into the robotics cage with the robot still moving—what else is an employee to think?

Couple the OSHA case study with this one, posted in the same timeframe in EHS Today:

SLC 2018: Engaging the Workforce Is a Key to Health & Safety Excellence

In this article, Dr. Fulwiher makes excellent points and suggestions.  Our take home, since this is what our organization tends to witness, is this statement of Dr. Fulwiher’s:

This requires a transformation in the leadership of the organization, be it a for- profit or nonprofit, understanding the need to become more transformational and less transactional.” 

This is very true, as most top executives and middle managers are truly only focused on the output in the long run.

People DO NOT CARE how much you know
until they know HOW MUCH YOU CARE

So many articles continue to revolve around this mantra.  And it is true, isn’t it?  So, what can supervisors, employees, and middle managers do to demonstrate this at work and also outside of work?

  • Take an extra 45 seconds to dialogue with any colleague, co-worker, and more importantly, someone you do not know well.
  • When conversing, look them in the eye and notice the color of their eyes. Most of us don’t look at those we’re talking with in the eye.
  • You can smile when talking.  Even if the conversation is a critical point, smiling shows that you do care, and also places the other more at ease.

We should not need classes on this. However it appears that  we do, since there are books, audio tapes, seminars and lectures that all focus on how to become more attentive, genuine, and accountable.

Accountability Starts at Every Level—
in Your Organization and in Your Community

We hear, read, and experience for ourselves the disappointment and frustration when someone is not accountable for something they said or something they said they would do.  We know what it feels like, and we would love the unaccountable people in our lives to become accountable.  Unfortunately, it’s beyond our power to change someone else.

Therefore, the only way to experience change is to change ourselves.  This is what life is about: change.  How can we become our highest selves,  and how can we truly begin to treat others the way we would like to be treated?  Here’s a way to begin in your professional life:

When at work, be accountable.  What does this really mean?  Your “yes” is “yes” and your “no” is “no.”

In a meeting, if you are asked to participate in a project, or asked to assist someone with something small in their project, don’t say, “I’ll see what I can do.”  Either say “yes, I will,” and give them the date by which you’ll provide the information, or say “I can’t,” and provide a reason why.  This is where your accountability starts.  Becoming more direct, detailed and authentic will yield better outcomes in all of your interactions, whether with your supervisor, peers or employees.

As a role model of accountability, you can then begin to challenge your co-workers and colleagues in this area, as well as coach those you supervise to adopt this revolutionary mindset and value.

 

3D printer manufacturing

Innovation Is Not Just for the New and Most Up-to-Date Products for Consumers

Your employees deserve innovation, too.

3D printer manufacturingA recent article in the Harvard Business Review focused on the importance of U.S. firms bringing home their innovation centers—which they’ve shifted overseas right along with manufacturing (Sridhar Kota, et al., 2018). The article additionally points out that the U.S. “has also lost the ability to do the kinds of process improvements that are essential for innovation.” Our expertise and experience tell us that there’s a particular deficit when it comes to factoring in the humans, particularly those on the production line and the assembly floor.

Sports medicine technology and injury prevention innovations and their benefits are not being captured by industry.  Innovations made in data science, virtual technologies, and data collection and manipulation can now reveal, in real time, just how individuals move, thereby creating the platforms for movement retraining and other methods to restore optimal movements in any individual employee.  The impact of poor movement and the benefits of optimal movement aren’t a line item on any profit and loss statement, but they are certainly being felt there.  You’ll never see human movement in a strategy document, either, but you should, and here’s why.

As technology innovations advance, companies can begin to see exponential growth.  However, if these new types of technologies are imbalanced within a company, collisions will begin to occur—in output, life cycles, and elsewhere.  Although these innovations work on paper, they don’t always integrate and succeed on the assembly floor.

An example here would be that engineering innovators are using technologies such as virtual simulators, like 3D printing and other types of technologies.  While on the assembly floor, employees are still required to contort their bodies in order to assemble the product.  Some of the processes can now take longer due to the intricacies of advancements in product design and manufacturing.

In addition, these enhanced assembly processes now require increased skills from employees.  Current employees require more training, and new employees require new and different training.  This eats up valuable resources and does show up on the profit and loss statement as employees must be educated, trained, and mentored much longer.

Manufacturers have no choice but to invest in innovative approaches in the manufacturing assembling process.  Robotic assembly is not the only innovative restructuring process out there, and in fact is ancient in today’s marketplace. Powerfully integrating employees into today’s advanced manufacturing processes is the Holy Grail.

This type of methodology and use of technology can be referred to as “translational research”: not only investing in the R&D, but turning that R&D into physical reality, and that includes technology-enabled proactive and positive integration of the human part of the equation.  It’s this type of innovative use of human-focused technology in process design that can decrease employee injury, increase the consistency of quality of product, and increase the efficiency of production time.

Most large organizations have not yet come to the realization that seeking out cutting edge responses to human limitations on the assembly floor is a critical component of strategy and process design in today’s quickly changing production environment.  SMBs are looking for big business models to follow.  In both cases, the ROI of focusing on such solutions is rapid and a conservative >800% in the first few months.*

For some years to come, human beings will be on the assembly floor, much of the work there requiring more awkward positions and/or tedious fine motor skills of the upper extremities.  Biology of the human body is not getting a facelift in the near future.  Therefore, using the innovations happening in human movement analysis, correction and optimization will help to integrate and capitalize on the human aspect of assembling the new innovations created by engineering designers.

*Case studies available on request.

Employee Morning Stretch Program

Why Your Morning Stretch Programs May Be Waning

Employee Morning Stretch Program
Many organizations have some type of morning stretch program prior to the work day.  They are often led by employees volunteering to lead the program.   We consistently observe at various companies that many employees do not participate in the program.  When asked why, the reasons are varied and some examples are:

  • “Stretching isn’t for me.”
  • “I don’t like it.”
  • “I do this at home.”

Such generalized statements led us to think:  Why?  We gathered some of these employees and asked them if they would help us in finding answers.  What we determined is that many employees do not participate because:

  • They know their range of motion is very limited and they’re embarrassed;
  • They’re overweight and consequently cannot perform the stretches, and again are embarrassed, or
  • They think that stretching will re-aggravate prior surgeries or injuries.

Morning stretch programs should be designed specifically for these individuals, but are not.  Allowing the morning stretch program to falter and die is a disservice to the employee.

Organizational managers and top executives can’t be focused on output and EBITDA alone.  Remember, it’s the assembling employee that IS your means to achieve your output.   If the employees are not educated and motivated to increase their physical abilities, the output will be continued accidents, inconsistent quality, longer output times and employee injuries.

If your stretching program is going through a similar decline, rather than scrapping the program welcome wellness companies in to revamp, teach, educate and motivate and continue to evolve the program.  Stretching—proper, individualized stretching—requires professional education and in-person guidance.

Targeting the audience of employees that are very reluctant and may need this the most in order to prevent soft tissue injuries at work or outside of work takes a gentle touch, the right stretches, and a cheerleader’s loving enthusiasm to get them to stay the course.