So the summer has kicked into full swing this week and this blog has taken a back seat in my list of priorities. so in an effort to keep the audience captiviated i’ve invited the cuz to fill in for this blog. enjoy.
one love, one heart.
Okay, so this is my first official blog, and most likely one of few to come. I’m not quite as technologically inclined as D.J., but I hear this blog thing is up and coming. So please forgive me if I don’t know all the proper abbreviations, or if I don’t put the appropriate smiley faces after jokes or passive aggressive comments.
So that you have some idea who the heck I am, and why I am writing on D.J.’s blog I’ll give you a brief curriculum vitae.
I’m the guy D.J. calls “the cuz”
Thank goodness that’s out of the way. Anyhow, D.J. and I have been talking for some time now about me making a guest spot. We just needed something that I was passionate about, and that had some relevance. Needless to say this took awhile.
At any rate we decided now was the time, and we had the perfect topic.
It has been well documented the effects western society has had on, well, westerners. In fact we are increasingly aware of this as baby boomers continue to age and require more of our healthcare systems. Politicians debate over how to provide care for the masses, and schools struggle to produce clinicians to support an increasing demand for healthcare professionals. All the while insurance companies are charging their clients more, and paying providers less.
On the other side of the coin you have the preventative maintenance crowd that preaches ergonomics and proper body mechanics. And many large companies are beginning to follow this trend by reimbursing employees for gym memberships, teaching proper body mechanics, putting in their own gyms, and having workspaces evaluated for proper ergonomics. My profession has me operating on both sides of this gun that is 21st century healthcare.
In America the number one reason for doctor visits is the common cold. A close second is low back pain, and oddly enough general practitioners on the whole know very little about differentially diagnosing back pain. They often end up handing out a pamphlet and an exercise sheet, and telling people to lift with their legs. To be sure, this is all that some folks need, but many others require much more skilled intervention than that. On the other hand many go straight to their chiropractor who generally can be more beneficial than the GP, but oddly enough most chiro patients say one of two things: 1) “My back gets out of alignment.” or 2) “My pelvis is rotated.” Finally some end up at the orthopedist or the physical therapist, but regardless, LBP creates the largest dent in disability dollars than any other diagnosis.
This obviously brings us to prevention. What can an aging and ailing American public due to lift the load that is breaking healthcare’s back. I must admit if I had the solution I wouldn’t be wasting my time writing this stinking blog. But I do have at least one extremely relevant suggestion. A suggestion that not only will have an impact immediately, but I am certain if we were to do a longitudinal outcomes study over the next twenty years we would find that it will have completely altered the landscape of healthcare.
It is relatively common knowledge that our physical activities over the course of our lives have a cumulative effect on the way our bodies age. All you have to do is look at common orthopedic diagnoses to discern this. For instance: tennis elbow, jumper’s knee, and golfer’s elbow are a few that would apply. And any person who uses lumbar support in their Tahoe could enter into their own personal experience diatribe on the positive postural effects their SUV provides.
Therefore that brings us to what we can do to lessen the strain on our weakening healthcare system. I mentioned earlier the prevalence of back pain in our society. And given time it will undoubtedly cripple it. So that places responsibility squarely on the shoulders of American men and women to do whatever they can to prevent movement disorders of the spine. Reminding ourselves to sit up straight, sleep on our side, and lift with our legs. Only scratches the surface my friends. In fact I would imagine all of you could have told me those three things with very little thought on your part. So if we all know some basic principles needed to protect our backs then we either have an implementation issue or we just aren’t doing all we can. I propose that we must carefully evaluate all of our daily activities so that we might recommend more specific changes. To further this thought process we must look at gender specifics. “Are men’s and women’s activities similar, or do they have some variances that would predispose one over the other to a life filled with functional limitation as a result of back pain?”
This brings me to my current line of thought. We all know that bending forward is not advisable even to pick up a pencil. And we all have friends or family that can tell us this with certainty as they have had an episode of pain as a result of this poor movement pattern. Furthermore some have even ended up in the O.R. having a microdiscectomy due to forward bending. Realistically we can never totally avoid this movement either. So that means we must do all we can to reduce the volume with which we do it. Knowing all of these things lead me to wonder if there were then activities that men do more than women, or vice versa, that require forward bending. Naturally my bias was toward men, and very soon light bulbs went off.
There is an activity that we as men do several times daily at home and at work that demands forward bending. But unfortunately, changing it will require a paradigm shift in bathroom etiquette. So we as men must beg that our female counterparts enter into this voyage of change with us. For the good of the American people’s health, we must ask that you put the toilet seat down and then pick it up when you are finished. Biomechanically it is more efficient for you all to do this, and it is time that we as men banded together to fight for our right to live a pain free life. But we as men also know that we usually have to meet you all half way. So we offer this bargaining tool. We will get better with our aim.
Thanks for reading,