Archive for the ‘Ergonomics’ category

Happiness vs. Pain…I’ll take happiness please!

April 26, 2018

Our last article centered on companies using the “life changing” marketing ploy in their advertising as a new way to endear their products to new prospective buyers.  

pexels-photo-414012.jpegIt got me wondering what is making these ad companies presume that we all need our lives changed.  On a scale of happiness with, let’s say “my existence is endlessly beautiful” at the ideal top and whatever its absolute opposite would be at the bottom, most of us would be residing somewhere in the middle.

“Where in between?” is the question.  Most people I would think have an enduring quest to constantly improve their position on the “Happiness” or shall we say “Quality of Life” scale.  It certainly is a goal of mine.

Happiness for most of us partly implies being able to conceive of a better future which of course later becomes a better now.  Attaining goals, being successful, finishing importantfood-dinner-lemon-rice.jpg projects, vacations, seeing or contemplating being with a loved one, having and loving a compatible partner, envisioning a great meal at a favorite restaurant, observing family/friends winning in life, etc. are all things that would help plot us more on the plus side of this scale.

One has to be able to look, imagine, or project into their own future positive, fun, constructive, and worthwhile things to help make our existence the way that they wish to have it in our tomorrows.  The ability to project into tomorrow is critical to our “quality of life”.

Do you know what a primary barrier is to being able to project into tomorrow, or dream of future happy moments or to contemplate making high flown goals?  What can acutely prevent us from thinking about anything but the here and now?

pain2

Pain creates a very insistent demand to stay right here in the present.  When the pain is chronic or perhaps severe enough, it dictates:  “Don’t you dare think about having fun today, tomorrow or anytime in the future.  I demand your attention, NOW!”

People, having innate problem solving intuition will obey these “orders” to try and make the pain subside or disappear.  If you are fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with this, just ask someone that you may know who has a “bad back”.  How the thought of just getting up out of their chair without pain is about all the future they care about.  Or pexels-photo-143654.jpegperhaps ask someone who hasn’t had a good night sleep in weeks due to a shoulder injury.  And God forbid, someone who has become reliant on an opioid to dull their severe pain.  The addiction to pain medications plunge people down this “Happiness” scale suddenly and in some cases to the absolute bottom of it.

Pain suppresses happiness.  It can pin us to the present and for some even to the past to when the actual injury took place.  It takes a special person to live happily with chronic pain.

Backsafe® and Sittingsafe®, our musculoskeletal injury prevention programs, were created to enhance people’s “quality of life”.  We want healthy employees to feel even better.  We want your employees with aches and pain to feel “normal” again and to raise them up this “quality of life” scale.  It is such a wonderful experience to observe groups of middle aged or “aging” people go through this training and see their immediate rise in the “quality of life” scale.   When they identify THE causes of their discomfort and pain and learn how to prevent it and gain immediate improvement via our stretching routines, the whole tone of the group rises. pexels-photo-452738.jpeg

Can we help you to help your employees be happier?  When people aren’t in pain, their morale is better, production is higher, and workers’ comp costs are reduced.  And you can contemplate happier vacations too!  Contact us today!  The process is simple and powerful.

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Life Changing? Heck yeah!

April 2, 2018

OilChange.58d2770c4e8c2Last week I swear I heard an ad on the radio about how a company’s oil change was life changing!  I started laughing because what I hadn’t realized until I heard that, is that “life changing” is the buzz word in marketing today.  Life changing diets, teeth whitening, vacations, hair plugs, all are promoting a need to change our lives.  What is so bad about the ones we have now?  I am not denigrating the value of any of these things, but an oil changeReally?

In my life I have had some life changing events for sure:

  • When I got married—definitely a life changerfood-couple-sweet-married.jpg
  • When I got divorced, another life changer
  • Oh, and married again…for SURE a life changer
  • Having children certainly changed my life.  I went from caring about my golf handicap to nurturing little ones.

You can’t really compare an oil change with having kids, can you??

When I heard this hyperbolic pitch to sell more quarts of oil, I reflected on what our company does for a living.  Recently, I read a quote from an employee who had experienced a series of annual Backsafe® workshops.  He used to have back pain a couple of times a year, and now he “has had 4 straight pain free years”.  Yet another employee said that Backsafe “fixed all my back problems and pain.”

I compared those employees’ feedback with the oil change ad and I thought “Man, that oil changing company has a pretty low standard for changing people’s lives.”trade-deficit

80% of the population incurs a back incident in their lifetime.  That is a horrific statistic.  Talk about life changing!  Back and shoulder injuries cost US companies up to $60 billion per year.  These injuries are “budget” changing too!

Being properly trained can prevent one of the most painful injuries a person can experience.  Preventing these claims have helped companies to save thousands of lost work days per year, saved millions of dollars in workers’ comp costs; and helped increase worker production all at the same time.1475793789402

Let us help you change a life or two.  And when there are less work related injuries there just may be more bonus money that can be spent on hair plugs, teeth whitening and even a great oil change or two!

The “Way of the World”, Lost Production & Workers’ Comp

March 27, 2018

old-teaching-youngProbably every young person has, at one time or another, heard “Well dear, that is just the ‘way of the world’”. This response is a catch-all response for things that are hard to explain; aren’t pleasant; or for things that have been a certain way for a long time for no particular reason.

Twenty seven years ago, when I was first introduced to the wonderful world of Workers’ Comp, I actually got that response from a client risk manager. It was in response to my naïve question at the time, “why are there so many back injuries”?  I had asked this question because, being new to workers’ comp, I discovered that back claims were one of the most common claims and the MOST expensive. I spoke to Risk Managers, Operation Managers, HR Directors and I got the impression that despite what they did to prevent these injuries, they kept on happening.

Well, today, 27 years later, we have solved the back injury riddle. We don’t have to say back injuries are the “way of the world” any longer. Logically speaking it didn’t make sense that the human spine was designed to fail more quickly than other parts of the human body.

why

There HAD to be a reason for these “breakdowns” other than it was the “way of the world”. Like anything else once you discover the “WHY” of a problem the solution is relatively simple.

Do you know why 80% of the population has a back incident in their lifetime? FIT discovered the basic reason for most back injuries that occur on and OFF the job.
We have now implemented the solution to over 1 million employees across North America with remarkable success. The most gratifying aspect to our clients’ management teams is that they are receiving THANK YOU’s from employees for providing the Backsafe® training that serves them and their families on and off the job.

“For years, my back would hurt a couple of times a year. Since starting at CDW and starting regular stretching with the Backsafe classes, I have had 4 pain free years.”

Employers now can prevent their most expensive claims and increase communication and TRUST with their employees at the same time. We don’t have all the answers to the “ways of the world” but we do for back injuries! They no longer fit into that description. The “way of the world” is for employees to go to work and to return home safe and healthy.

The Opioid Epidemic & Workplace Injury Prevention

January 4, 2018
pexels-photo-143654.jpegAccording to Consumer Reports over 50% of Americans are taking prescription medication in this country. Pharmaceuticals are a $450 billion industry. Medications do a lot of good for so many people, but most of us would agree that we are an over-prescribed nation. This is no more evident than with the national opioid epidemic. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that 91 people die every day from opioid overdose.
This epidemic is a tragedy for so many people and their families. The stories are heart breaking, but not surprising. When a drug can mask pain with a false sensation of well-being, no wonder it is highly addictive.
pexels-photo-164652.jpegThe opioid crisis is costing US companies over $500 billion per year in absenteeism and lost production according to marketwatch.com.
What can employers do to counter this cultural pharmaceutical trend? Pain is the enemy of us all. I recently asked an audience at a National Safety Conference “Who here is experiencing pain or discomfort on any part of your body?” Almost 100% raised their hands. I asked “Why are you putting up with it?” I got an expected silence because most people inexplicably just live with it.
Why is that? Why do we allow discomfort and pain to settle in on our bodies to affect our quality of life? Why do we let stiff muscles and joints insidiously restrict range of motion over time and make us feel old?old-man-time-watch-160785.jpeg
We falsely assign this accumulation of “micro-trauma” to aging!
FIT discovered during our initial research 25 years ago, one of society’s biggest oversights. We live on a planet with a gravitational field that pulls everything to its very core center. We live in this gravitational pull 24/7 and we live with complete ignorance of how to properly use our bodies while conducting normal everyday activities of living. We sit, lift, sleep, push, pull entirely devoid of understanding the insidious repercussions of violating biomechanical laws that when obeyed prevent fatigue, discomfort, pain and musculoskeletal injury.
80% of our population will suffer from a back incident in their lifetime. And like the audience at the above mentioned conference, most adults live with unnecessary discomfort because we don’t know how to prevent it or when we get it, how to get rid of it. Society has trained us to put up with life altering discomfort and then when it becomes too painful, to seek relief via a pharmaceutical pain killer!
After training over 1 million people, FIT has good news! We can all feel better and be more in charge of our own health with just a little training. Something can be done about back, shoulder and other sprain/strain injuries and discomfort. The cause is not aging! The cause of back, neck, shoulder, wrist, discomfort is micro-trauma and Backsafe® and Sittingsafe® teaches how to prevent it!
Micro-trauma can be prevented by:
  1. Knowing a few simple laws of biomechanics applied to activities of daily living.
  2. Practicing a series of easy yet powerful stretches to get rid of pain and discomfort.
 FIT’s Backsafe® training puts employees in charge of how they feel. Backsafe teaches employees for the first time in their lives how they can work and live in ways that prevent the very micro-trauma that is affecting lives every day.
We can be in charge of how we feel. We are not victims to some unknown reason that causes back, shoulder and other sprain/strain injuries. There is a simple and known cause and Backsafe (Sittingsafe® for office workers) teaches the solution.

Sitting…Getting a “Bum” Rap

October 31, 2017

See what we did there? 😉

Pardon the title pun but recently there was yet another article about the dangers of sitting.  “Sitting Most of the Day May Lead to an Early Grave”  was the headline. This,  on the heels of “Sitting is the New Smoking” and other articles about sitting,  is creating some major concern for those millions of people that predominantly sit for a living.

99373800-1024x537The human body was designed for us Homo Sapiens to survive well at the top of the food chain.  Living things that were mobile tended to have clear advantages over those that weren’t.  Mobility is a key feature of the human blueprint.  In fact, per studies quoted in the article above and more, we are severely penalized if we don’t use this “gift” of mobility.

We live in gravity 24/7 and the goal of gravity is to drive everything, including us to the center of earth.  Not a pleasant thought when you think about it.   However, our bodies are designed to live in gravity.  We NEED gravity to survive.  Resisting gravity is critical to our health.  In fact accelerated aging is being linked to those who don’t or can’t resist gravity.

space-hair-nybergIf we aren’t being mobile, gravity is winning.  A wonderful book about the effects of sitting is “Sitting Kills, Moving Heals” by Joan Vernikos, Ph.D.(NASA).  Her research found similar physical maladies with astronauts who lived in no gravity environments (space) and office workers, whom while sitting are not exerting against gravity.  Apparently the body thrives on motion and the exertion against gravity.

Well what are the millions of people that sit for a living supposed to do with all this doom and gloom around sitting?  Not go to work?  Or stand up all day?  The good news is there are things we can do to counter the effects of sitting.  According to Dr. Vernikos, merely standing up often during your day can counter the effects of sitting.  Move your printer or cell phone away from your desk so that you need to get up to attend to them.  Set an alarm every 20 minutes to stand up.lxpu-1432506798-133948-full

How about this simple very healthy tip-DRINK LOTS OF WATER!!!  Not only will you stay hydrated but you will be forced to stand up and walk to the bathroom. Therapeutic indeed!!

And last but not least, who TRAINED you how to sit?  Yes, there are ways to sit properly.  In fact if you don’t sit properly your symptoms can be: neck and shoulder discomfort, low back pain, headaches, wrist and forearm discomfort or pain, eye strain, fatigue and a general feeling of malaise.

Today, millions of people sit in positions that are dictated by where their keyboard lies, where their mouse is located, the position of their monitor and whatever their chair settings are adjusted to.   They are being victims to never before being taught how to sit properly.  So basic, yet so vital.

Sittingsafe® is a new form of office ergonomic training.  You can learn how to positon your body in optimal positions, how to stretch away discomfort and stress and how to maintain your body’s mobility.    We don’t have to be the victims of sitting.  We can sit and be healthy.  You just need to know how!!

Dennis Downing, CEO

Getting Older Doesn’t Have To Hurt!

October 16, 2017

payments-2Aging is an interesting process.  We get wiser, more confident in who we are, more competent in our chosen line of work and hobbies, and overall settle in to our way of life.

There is also another phenomenon that occurs.  Most people as they age experience an onset of aches and pains.  It isn’t something that just happens overnight.  It happens via an insidious gradient, little by little until one day it registers as discomfort or pain.

Then with life going 100 miles per hour, we ignore this non-optimum condition with hopes of it disappearing, or simply acquiescing and justify it by assuming it is just “aging”.

Let me pose this question:  Do you feel discomfort or pain on your body?  Many readers will answer “yes” to this question.  After your “personal pain audit” you may have discovered something not optimum in your low back, neck and shoulders, dull head ache, wrist or forearms.plumber-with-back-pain_1368-544

I have asked people “Why do you put up with this discomfort?”  Many answer “I guess it is just me aging” and most don’t know it is possible to get rid of it.

I can go on a major rant right now on how poorly served we are by a society that has never taught us how to manage our own pain and discomfort, instead directing us to see prescriptions and surgeons.  But I will refrain!

The cycle of a typical sprain/strain injury event is fatigue (a muscle or joint tiring from sustained postures, repetitive stress, etc.), discomfort, pain and then if unattended to, the injury.

We have been dedicated, for 25 years, to teaching employees and management how to self manage their own health.  It is so simple to do!  Cumulative micro-trauma is the cause of most sprain/strains. The discomfort that you earlier detected on your body is stored micro trauma.

For most of us, all we have to do are 3 things to alleviate it or even permanently get rid of it.

Isolate the cause—what postures or repetitive activity is the primary cause.

Change the physical behaviors that are causing it (lifting, pushing, pulling incorrectly, sitting incorrectly, keyboard, mouse, monitor in incorrect positions, etc.)

Relieve aches and pains with the correct stretches using the correct technique in the correct order.

We have discovered that much musculoskeletal discomfort and pain is preventable.  Backsafe® is our training workshops that teaches employees in just 2 hours how to do physical work on and off the job and teaches simple yet powerful stretches that rid the body of that pent up discomfort creeping in on their lifestyles.  This pent up discomfort left unattended can accumulate to a point that causes the $50,000 claim and lost work time.  Finally a workable solution to back and shoulder claims, right!!

Sittingsafe® is our office ergonomic training program that teaches people how to sit correctly and how to adjust their existing workstations so not to cause pain and discomfort; and the Sittingsafe stretches are almost too good to be true!  Headaches, neck and shoulder pain, low back pain have disappeared by just knowing what stretch to do to relieve it, combined with correcting the exacerbating sitting and working positions.

draft_lens17603987module148010435photo_1296861127No-medicationIn summary, aging doesn’t have to be accompanied by pain and discomfort.  We don’t need pain medications to live our lives.  The body is a miraculous contrivance.  It heals well if given the chance.

We teach people what we all should have learned years ago—How to self manage musculoskeletal discomfort; how to prevent painful injuries; and how to stay away from pain medications and unnecessary surgeries.

Contact us (800.775.225) to discuss how we can help put your employees more in charge of their own health.  It is a win-win.  Employees not in pain and windfall savings for the company.

Back Pain is NOT a Normal Condition!

June 27, 2017

back-painI recently read an article that claimed that back pain is a normal human condition!  Although it is true that 80% of the US population will suffer from back pain in their lives, it does not mean it is a “normal human condition”.

It would be like saying illiteracy in the 1800’s was a “normal human condition”.  Granted it was “normal” to be uneducated at the time, but to brand that condition a “normal human condition” would have been a major mischaracterization as in 2003 in many parts of the world the literacy rate was over 90% (99% in the US). (Max Roser and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina (2016) – ‘Literacy’. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: https://ourworldindata.org/literacy/ [Online Resource])

Is it then possible to theorize that one can educate oneself on how to prevent back pain from ever occurring in the first place?  Is our society  functionally illiterate regarding the spine, one of the most important parts of our bodies?

Back Basics

25 years ago FIT was established to prevent back and shoulder injuries (and since then, office ergonomic injuries too).  Our first discovery was that most back injuries are caused by what we call CMT (cumulative micro trauma).  CMT is an accumulation of tiny physical transgressions on our bodies that over time add up to fatigue, discomfort, pain and if continued, injury.

Secondly, we discovered shockingly, that as a culture we are virtually 100% illiterate as to the structure and practical function of our spines.  This lack of understanding leads to a life of accumulating unnecessary CMT!

80% of the US population will experience back pain.  A back injury can, in a brief moment, change one’s life or cause one to be on potentially addictive pain medication.  Yet despite this horrific “natural human condition” no one has educated us (properly!) on how to perform normal activities of daily living in a way that would prevent CMT and its painful manifestations.

38678647-quiz-wallpapersProof

How many cylinders do you have in your car?  4, 6 or 8?  70% of you or so will know that answer.  How many bones (vertebrae) make up your spine?  I will wait while you google this, because, like me years ago, I had NO IDEA!  Why are there curves in your spine?  How many curves?  We know more about our darn cars and trucks than we do our backs and we can replace our vehicles!  Don’t feel bad, virtually 100% of us are functionally illiterate relating to our back and how to use it properly.

The spine is an engineering feat!  You have to really work hard to “earn” a back injury.  You have 24 bones:  7 cervical (neck), 12 thoracic (hump in your mid back); and 5 lumbar (base of spine)…and 3 curves.

After “practically educating” over one million employees about the very simple laws of lifting and living in a world with a 24/7 gravitational force, we can 100% pronounce that when people become educated why and on how to lift, bend, work, care for their children, mow the lawn, shovel snow, do laundry, work on a computer, in other words “live life”, injuries plummet.

We trained 20,000 flight attendants for an airline on how to do their work and life duties and how to properly stretch away CMT, and back and neck injuries dropped 63%!

SAMPLE TIP

171092762-300x200Our Backsafe® on-site workshops experientially educate workers on how to NOT become a victim of back and shoulder pain.  One of our Backsafe laws to prevent CMT is never reach for or with a load.  Holding a box, baby, or bundle close to you significantly reduces “intradiscal” pressure on your spine.  A 10 pound object held 10” away from you becomes a virtual weight of 100 pounds on your spine.

Do this exercise:  Stand up.  Hold your arms out in front of you for a few seconds or until you feel a little fatigue.  This is 12% of your body weight.  Now relax your arms to a normal position and feel the relief.  The relief you feel is your body thanking you for keeping your arms close to your body.

Now make believe you have a box or laundry basket in your hands and you want to set it down on a desk or table.  Move close to the table whereby you can set the “load” down without reaching.  How pathetically simple!  Yet, extremely beneficial to know and apply to your life.

FIT wants to increase employees’ physical literacy as pertains to musculoskeletal well-being.  The beautiful part about our process is no matter an organization’s morale, employees are eager to know how to relieve pain and discomfort and willingly buy-in to change their behaviors on and off the job.

Email or call us at (800) 775.2225 and schedule an interview to learn how we can help your employees and help your company to prevent painful injuries and to save money in 2017.

Sincerely,

Dennis Downing, CEO

Future Industrial Technologies, Inc. 

 


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