Everett Chiropractic Center Blog

July 1, 2012

Risk Factors

Risk Factors 2

Two ways to introduce a wellness habit: pursue health or avoid disease. Managing risk factors is somewhere in between and is seen as a leveraged way to incorporate wellness. That’s because it targets the prevention or correction of highly expensive and/or common health problems. (Note: a risk factor can’t be said to “cause” a disease by itself, but it is associated with having it. And the more risk factors that you have for a given condition, the greater the odds that you will get the condition.)

Have you ever had back pain before (very expensive/very common)? That is the #1 risk factor for getting back pain again. Do the muscles of your lower back lack endurance strength? That’s #2 (and if you don’t know that answer it can be found in two minutes). Given these facts it could useful to know that exercise and chiropractic care are two things that can help prevent back pain.

Sometimes risk factors are not preventable; sometimes they can be prevented. Smoking is preventable. We used to think genetics was not preventable. Now we know that genetic expression is highly influenced by many things that we do have control over (Epigenetics). The past? We don’t have control over that.

In the same way that we recommend Tai chi because it leverages your time (giving you the greatest number of benefits of any activity there is for every minute that you practice), you can pick a risk factor that, when addressed, impacts the greatest number (or most important) of at risk conditions.

Physical inactivity for example is something we have control over. It’s also a risk factor in obesity, as well as diabetes, cancer, stroke and heart disease. And obesity is a risk factor in diabetes, cancer, stroke and heart disease.

Poor diet is another one of those risk factors that is a risk factor for other risk factors (obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol for example which are risk factors for diabetes, cancer, stroke, heart disease and others).

When you think healthy habits or wellness for yourself or your company, think of each element as an investment. Make the element that you introduce as measurable as possible, then you can keep track of your return on investment in a variety of ways. Here is an example: a company has a measurable way to describing what back injuries are costing their employees and their company. Given the statistics most companies have some degree of worry over their employees getting injured backs. I already mentioned one preventable measure of back injury risk: poor low back muscle endurance. Another is whether employees can and do properly bend and lift. Improper bending and lifting is a measurable risk factor for low back injury and many companies are now interested in measuring that risk.

Think of the leverage of screening employees for proper bending and lifting technique, and then teaching proper bending and lifting. Imagine reinforcing that teaching with an activity that also strengthened their lower back muscles. One example might be a Tai chi class that employees could take at the beginning of the work day and/or the end of their work day. While strengthening their low back and improving their bending and lifting technique, employees would also be managing stress through relaxation (that list of benefits is long), improving their balance (fall prevention), improving their immune system function (fewer colds and infections – think days lost from work), training their brain (enhanced focus and mental clarity), and it is a marked increase in physical activity for most people (see list of most common causes of death above), just to name a few additional benefits.

This is a true wellness initiative that is an investment rather than an expense. It’s measurable. And it’s affordable – once key people within the company are trained, they can provide the screening, training and teaching to the rest of the company. Simple and sustainable.

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4 Comments »

  1. I would agree on that. Being healthy is a choice. Having the right attitude makes a whole lot difference.

    Comment by baronshlomo@gmail.com — July 2, 2012 @ 9:04 am

  2. […] A few days ago I talked about screening for risk factors and then addressing the risk factors as a way to prevent disease. Cause, effect, and the odds of getting disease were discussed. Here I will mention the mirror image of that approach. Suppose you wanted to cause health. Health is defined as having all the parts working 100% of the time at 100% full function. It’s an ideal. […]

    Pingback by Risk Factors.2 « Everett Chiropractic Center Blog — July 5, 2012 @ 3:22 am

  3. […] the conversation about risk factors, thinking in terms of opportunity costs just helps put things in context. We live in a world where […]

    Pingback by Opportunity Costs « Everett Chiropractic Center Blog — July 12, 2012 @ 9:30 pm

  4. […] to feel better, or taking whole food supplements and loosing weight so that you can reduce risk factors and get healthier. Let us know what your health goals for the New […]

    Pingback by 2012 In Review: Added Value « Everett Chiropractic Center Blog — December 31, 2012 @ 8:34 pm


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