Maybe you have noticed this tagline on my website. Perhaps not. I thought long and hard about a motto, slogan or catchphrase for my business and this is the result. I did not put it through a rigorous focus group evaluation process, so I’m not sure if the public understands what I mean. Hence, my next blog post.
What does it mean?
Break the cycle. This portion of the phrase is referring to the pain cycle. Over the past 27 years, I have seen many clients and completed countless ergonomic evaluations.
I was almost always called in to do an ergonomic evaluation because someone was experiencing pain. Unfortunately, it was quite rare that I was asked to complete an assessment to prevent a problem, but that is the way our healthcare system works. As I would talk with the person and evaluate how they use their equipment, I could get a clear sense of how much their work equipment and work habits have contributed to the pain they are experiencing. I could also get a pretty good feel for how willing they were to change their work habits. All this information, combined with years of experience helped me make a recommendation on whether they should seek out additional therapy or not.
For many people, a few tweaks of their workstation set-up and some changes in their posture, they are good to go. Their pain should settle down quickly. These are the folks that notice a pattern between their work and their pain and aren’t afraid to speak up. They notice they hurt while working, and they feel better over the weekend or while on vacation. They also notice this pattern early in the process and don’t just wait to see if it goes away. It might be their neck, back or hands that hurt. It doesn’t matter much where the pain is located. These people probably don’t need any therapeutic intervention such as occupational or physical therapy. Improved work habits will settle things down.
The next group is similar, but perhaps they need more changes to their workstation or work habits. They have also let things go longer. This may be because they didn’t want to make a fuss at work or they are just too busy to make the time for an evaluation. They are generally very fast paced folks who are a little more ingrained in their work habits. These folks will likely struggle a bit more to make the necessary habit changes which will, in turn, take more time for the pain to subside. I will often give them a little more support by offering some stretches they can do to help them to break the pain cycle.
Then there are those folks that have been experiencing pain for many months or even years. They may have also seen their physician and been prescribed pain medications or a splint. Their work habits may not have even been on their radar screen as a cause of the pain. Or, maybe it did, but they didn’t know they had the option to change. These folks need more help and support breaking the cycle. In addition to recommending changes to their habit and workstation, I also suggest they seek out therapy. The pain they are experiencing will probably not go away with changes in the work they do, at least not for a long time. Breaking the cycle takes more. Seeking out help from an occupational or physical therapist will help break the cycle and support hem through making changes at work.
I actually see all four categories of people in my practice now. People who are seeking myofascial release to prevent pain and primarily want to be sure their bodies are functioning optimally do occassionally find their way to Mayer Wellness, LLC. These folks are rare, but there is a shift happening. More people are thinking preventatively. It does take time, energy and resources but it is possible to design your life to focus on prevention.
The majority of my clients fall into the other categories. They are experiencing pain somewhere in their body and want help breaking the cycle. I may be their first stop in this process, or I may be one more therapy in a long line of traditional treatments, alternative medicines, and medications. There are so many people with pain and almost as many options for managing it. Most of the people that end up in my office are seeking not just to break the pain cycle but also figure out why the pain is there in the first place.
Although I hate to admit it, my skills are limited (tongue in cheek). My skills and my scope of practice are certainly limited. I can’t diagnose medical conditions. What I can do is help people work backwards through old injuries and surgeries, evaluate their posture and body alignment, evaluate their holding and body tensing patterns, evaluate their habits of movement during work, leisure and exercise, evaluate their stress and how they manage it, and finally evaluate the tension in their muscular and fascial system. Through this process, we connect the dots and create a hypothesis about where the pain may stem from. From there we begin to redesign their life.
The redesign process may be limited to reducing the tension in their tissues through myofascial release (MFR) techniques. For others, the redesign process may mean changing postural habits. Others may need a lifestyle make-over adding new methods for stretching their bodies or managing stress. For one client it was as simple as changing the way she sat on the couch with her family in the evening to watch movies. This simple redesign and a few MFR sessions broke her cycle of back pain and had her back on track.
Many people don’t know they have control and options beyond medication to manage and even eliminate their pain. And, these people aren’t unaware because they aren’t intelligent. While working at Creighton University and providing ergonomic evaluations, I helped heads of departments, physicians, attorneys and even exercise science faculty sort out their ergonomics and get rid of their pain. These folks most certainly have plenty of smarts. What they don’t have is my skill set. They have their own area of expertise. The attorney I helped undoubtedly wouldn’t expect me to be able to represent myself in court (should the need arise). I call on her to help me with that aspect of life.
Sometimes my clients, past and present, feel “dumb” that they didn’t recognize their poor posture or a movement habit I point out. I remind them of their own area of expertise, and they aren’t expected to know it all. They have me. And, when the time comes that I need something in their area of experise, I may call on them. In fact, I have. I have served technology professionals, physicians, nurses, physician’s assistants, architects, engineers, massage therapists, teachers, spiritual directors, teachers, moms, grandmas, plumbers, receptionists, delivery drivers, coders, executives, business owners, marketing professionals, caregivers, students, office managers, therapists, security professionals, athletes, stylists, dog walkers, optometrists, and many more.
Each person brings a perspective that consists only partially of their professional knowledge. Every individual has a set of beliefs about what it means to be healthy and well and what will help them achieve it. I learn so much from hearing their ideas and perspectives on wellness. Most are very open to my recommendations and whole-heartedly implement them to the best of their ability. The clients I am blessed to work with are very enthusiastic about simple lifestyle redesign ideas that will empower them to take control over their pain. It is exciting when they report back… wow, I feel better.
So my goal and the goal of Mayer Wellness, LLC is to help people…
Break the cycle.