Lower Back Pain Tops List Of Reasons Why People Seek Medical Attention – Part 1
Posted Aug 03 2013 3:00pm
Consulting with physical therapy experts to make sure a work space is designed to be kinder and gentler on backs can help eliminate some of that pain, according to Tidewater Physical Therapy in Virginia.
There’s the common cold, and then there’s lower back pain. The two ailments top the list, in that order, of the most common reasons people seek medical attention, said Wayne MacMasters, president of Tidewater Physical Therapy.
Lower back pain will afflict an estimated 80 percent of adults at some point in their lives, with many adults suffering from chronic back pain, according to Tidewater Physical Therapy.
The good news is that cures to lower back pain can be in reach for a large segment of the population. MacMasters said weight loss or management, regular exercise, smoking cessation, strengthening the core of the body and trauma prevention are all steps to reducing and even halting back pain.
Other tools are consulting with experts to make work stations and businesses kinder and gentler on backs. MacMasters launched Tidewater Physical Therapy in 1986 and has shepherded the business through the opening of 31 clinics.
“It’s bigger than I thought it would be,” MacMasters said.
To help businesses create healthy work environments, Tidewater Physical Therapy employs industry experts in ergonomics in the work place – essentially the science of optimizing the interactions between the person, the job and the environment. Not only does it help employees stay on the job, but it also helps businesses lower health care costs.
For every dollar spent by a business in wellness promotion and injury prevention, $3 to $5 is returned on that investment in the form of lower insurance premiums and claims, reduced worker’s compensation costs and increased productivity, MacMasters said.
Whether it’s talking to a Rotary Club or meeting on site with employees, Tidewater Physical Therapy is trying to teach the principles of healthier lifestyles, even in office settings where workers are hunched over computers all day.
Donna Abbott, a clinical director and ergonomics expert at Tidewater Physical Therapy, recently spent an hour with Jennifer Daknis and Ashley Gorse at Sigmon Daknis in Newport News. Daknis, a partner in the firm, and Gorse, client relationship manager at Sigmon Daknis, are at their desks all day.
It wasn’t long before Abbott was diagnosing problems at their desks that could lead to strains and pain in their necks, backs and elsewhere. Before observing and analyzing their office spaces, Abbott walked the two women through an introduction of personal ergonomics.
It doesn’t work to just to fix the work station because it’s a work in progress, Abbott said.
“Ultimately, it’s how you fit the environment,” Abbott said. “If it doesn’t fit you, it’s not the right size.”
It’s not just in the office that the principles of ergonomics are beneficial, Abbott said. They cross over into home offices, kitchens, in the yard and elsewhere in life, she said.
Ergonomics boils down to position, position, position, Abbott said. Blood flow is vital because blood carries the nutrients and oxygen around in the body.