July 22, 2014
July 21, 2014
video clip from July 18th, views from south of Omak…
July 20, 2014
You can’t always plan for what’s coming, but preparation and prevention pay off most when things get their worst. This video will, no doubt, be the basis for a safety meeting somewhere in the not-too-distant future (and should be the basis for firing). While the Methow burns on the east side of the mountains, it will be business-as-usual for the average Safety responsible employee in Everett.
Three years ago, when I first started offering employers a means of measuring and decreasing their back pain injury rates, I thought that it might be difficult, it might not work, but given the gravity of the situation in terms of incidence rate, expense and disability, it was important enough to try. There are lots of reasons, but for the most part when people see their job as “promoting safety”… “by ensuring compliance” with the law, on the one hand, and “administration and enforcement of ordinances” on the other, every one stays busy but there isn’t much energy left for noticing whether or not the average employee’s risk of injury is going up or going down. It isn’t measured and it’s not the focus. That’s the impression that I got anyway, few have seen the value of a serious, in depth, conversation about it.
Since then I read a story that I would like to share. It’s about what happens when safety becomes the priority. It’s from “The Power of Habit”, by Charles Duhigg.
In 1987 Paul O’Neill was introduced as the new CEO of Alcoa to a room full of Wall Street investors and analysts. Most there hadn’t heard of him. He opened with this sentence: “I want to talk to you about worker safety.”
“Within a year of O’Neill’s speech, Alcoa’s profits would hit a record high.”
“Whats more, all that growth occurred while Alcoa became one of the safest companies in the world.”
“By attacking one habit and then watching the changes ripple through the organization.”
“… Some habits… matter more than others…. These are ‘keystone habits,’ and they can influence how people work, eat, play, live, spend and communicate. Keystone habits start a process that, over time, transforms everything.”
“…The habits that matter most are the ones that, when they start to shift, dislodge and remake other patterns.”
“O’Neill never promised that his focus on worker safety would increase Alcoa’s profits. However, as his new routines moved through the organization, costs came down, quality went up, and productivity skyrocketed.” (Today O’Neill teaches hospitals how to focus on worker safety and keystone habits that can lower medical error rates.)
It’s a very good book. Later on in the book, there’s this:
The way we habitually think of our surroundings and ourselves create the worlds that each of us inhabit. “There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods to them and says, “Morning boys. How’s the water?’” … “And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then one of them looks over at the other and goes, ‘What the hell is water?’”
While you are thinking about that, here is the news from this past week: “Employers Need Chiropractic First and Sooner”, based on a Study just published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Clearly, no amount of evidence is compelling when it comes to prevention; no amount of experience or combination of experience and qualifications is compelling either. The status quo is very stable.
I know my words are often provocative. And Everett clearly is not the vanguard of progressiveness when it comes to integrative health care. But any brief glance around reveals that the job isn’t getting done when it comes to back safety. And if you do want help reducing your employee’s risk of injury, I can help. You can get a taste of what’s available at this We’ve Got Your Back class, through the Everett Parks & Recreation. It will be at Forest Park next month. Like the fires that follow a draught, it’s not a matter of if it become the priority, it’s only a question of when.
Or you could just call us at (425) 348-5207.
July 14, 2014
We Chiropractic doctors have called it Innate Intelligence for over 100 years…
July 13, 2014
In the Tai Chi Hand Form, we start with Tai chi At Rest. This pose, or posture or Style as it’s called, is a standing meditation that can be held for an indefinite period. It’s the predatory, transitional time where we get centered, grounded and “mindful”. Held for longer periods the meditative effect accrues.
Of course few people take the opportunity to benefit from spending much time in this Style… We all move on the the rest of the Form – this is just the start. It is the start, the start to a magnificent journey. It’s also a place to stay. Here is a report of a recent study talking about the benefits of mindful meditation.
It’s funny, I looked on my own computer and searched Google for a photo of Tai Chi At Rest and didn’t find a single one… It’s a Style that is all about stillness, so… I guess it’s less photogenic. I will take care of that some time and Post it here later…
Incidentally this is the Posture that teaches alignment (standing up straight), breathing, relaxation and centering your mind (on your breath is a good place to start). Here you learn about neutral spine, the all important alignment that is essential in bending and lifting. (Read: It’s actually very very important!)
It is here that we first experience letting go of the unnecessary tensions in the body and appreciate what it FEELS like to really relax. And in our daily Tai chi practice it is all of this that attempt carry throughout the rest of the Form and all other aspects of our Tai chi work. No small feat!
Like every other little tiny aspect of Tai chi, you could write a book about just this Style.
In my own practice, and in an effect not to short change this Style, I take three breaths in this Style, with my eyes closed. Shifting to the Tai Chi Ready Style, we simply drop our hands down – as I do that I open my eyes.
Then it’s on to Tai Chi Beginning Style (you can see why those first two Styles are so easily over looked:-)
July 12, 2014
July 11, 2014
I’ve mentioned before that we now know exercising while you are in pain is not a good idea. The thing is, “exercise” and “in pain” are experiences that follow a broad spectrum. It’s subjective.
New patients are usually clear about being in pain. But while real exercises begin once a person is out of pain, breathing and bracing can begin right away.
Being in pain alters breathing. In fact astute personal trainers all look for what is called “stress” breathing when their clients are performing exercises. When a person is in pain, they are under stress. They often display stress breathing. Sometimes that altered breathing becomes a habit: like the pain, and like all the other things that are altered by pain and become habits.
I mentioned it yesterday to a patient who was often dizzy after getting up off the table. In pain, he would brace himself as I had recommended, but then he would hold his breath while getting up. Then, when he was on his feet and relaxed, he would get dizzy and have to wait a while to walk away.
So we notice and we teach. Then we notice again, and teach some more – learning along the way. And on it goes.
By the time many people are adults normal abdominal breathing is not their habit, so we begin by teaching basic abdominal breathing.
When a patient learns to brace themselves to support their back while in the relief, rehab, or recovery stages of care, they also have to learn to breath at the same time.
Bracing involves tightening the muscles of the gut, the butt, and the ones that stop defecation and urination (the Kegel crowd). By doing that all the muscles of the “core” are activated, the spine is stabilized, and injury is less likely to occur with movement. (To experience bracing put one hand on your back and the other on your stomach. Now cough. That’s a sudden brace.)
Combined with proper breathing, bracing can shorten the relief stage of care. It’s also a fundamental part of proper bending and lifting technique so it’s worth knowing. A great deal of re-injury is prevented because patients in the early stages of care – who still have to go to work and perform as an industrial athlete – know how to brace properly.
July 10, 2014
July 9, 2014
Another fun time on the bank of the Twisp River over the 4th… Our room with a view. Helen now says that she feels like a “Twisparian” (It only took 35 years:-)
July 8, 2014
Another case in point…
It is so easy for people to think that other people can do what they do, especially if it is easy for them.
These recommended exercises are not beginner level exercises. Some will be way too much for the average person, even if that average person doesn’t currently have back pain.
It is true that a normal healthy adult should be able to do these things without trouble. But in my experience very few people can actually go through a series of tests of normal function and pass them all. These tests are a great starting point for a person wanting to get fit. Whether quantitative or qualitative, these tests will reveal the weakness that can then be the target of a thoughtful workout program.
With that approach, the exercise program will balance out these functional weaknesses and round out a person’s fitness. In this way prevention really is possible, and with safety guiding the process, the usual set backs can be avoided.
Another often unappreciated benefit of this approach is that progress will be very quick and measurable. This gives a person the positive feedback they need to feel good about their choices and motivates people to stick with it… so they can continue to experience these successes.
You can leverage the entire process even more by targeting basic human movement patterns for assessment and correction/training, because then you increase your functional capacity at work and at play. Again, increasing the odds that you will not experience injuries and accidents and you can continue on the training path of health and fitness.
I know that all this might sound complicated, and you haven’t been offered this approach at the gym or from the media. It isn’t that complicated at all. The tests are all published and are being used by sports teams and coaches, trainers and therapists, across the country and through out the world. You haven’t heard about it because it isn’t a sound-bite sell. It doesn’t come across as sexy as the article above.
Think about what you really want from your exercises and what the exercises you are doing really provide. If you are happy with the results you are getting and the progress you are making, wonderful. If you would like help, give us a call at (425) 348-5207.