“Right now you have to be the CEO of your own health, you have no choice. There is a supermarket of options, which is one of the problems.”
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“Counting my positive health-care experiences while working in the corporate world, could be summed up on one hand and one finger.”
I have had chronic back spasms all my life. If I had a flare while working in the corporate world, I had one choice, to get time off to go to visit a medical professional. This was always stressful and left me more willing to “grin and bear it” than actually jump through hoops to get help. Then came the journey along the yellow brick road…towards relief. I would go to see my doctor who would tell me to go see a specialist. That specialist would recommend physical therapist. The physical therapist would suggest a chiropractor…
All these options suck up time, cost money and create stress. I never knew who was right and who I should listen to, and in the end I just tried them all and hoped for the best.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS MEETS CORPORATE CULTURE
At our current moment and place in corporate culture timeline, we are only just starting to appreciate the interconnectedness of health and happiness with productivity and loyalty. There are some early adopters like Facebook, who see the health and wellness of their employees as a key to productivity and loyalty. “There are people there [at Facebook] that say: We don’t want to leave for different companies simply because of having this health center here because it’s so comprehensive.” explains Dr. Daniel Lord DC, who is the physical medicine lead at the Facebook Health Center.
Dr. Lord describes his team, “We have two chiropractors, three physical therapists, an acupuncturist and so our team is going to double because we’re actually building a bigger center so I will have even more of each. And that team reports to me and we will work right alongside with primary care so there are four MDs, about eight nurses. There is a behavioral health person, two now, therapists. Also a nutritionist is on staff and so we are one big team.”
THE NUMBER ONE PROBLEM
The number one issue Dr. Lord sees at Facebook is back pain, “It’s not surprising, they are a bunch of tech professionals that are highly, highly motivated, type A high-performing, very passionate about what they do, people.” He explains, ” back pain is the number one issue because people work at computers and they sit for long periods of time, they are stationary.” “I went over to Africa with a team of doctors and therapists and we were serving some underserved communities and we were providing them with healthcare. And one of the things that I thought was really interesting is that they didn’t have any lower back pain there and we [the developed nations] have a horrible lower back pain problem. They are doing manual labor and we are just sitting at desks so how do they have no back pain?” observes Dr. Lord. “They move correctly. They drive all the force throughout the day through their hips which is correct.”
THE SUPERMARKET OF OPTIONS
One of the problems with our current health care system, explains Dr. Lord, “…right now you have to be the CEO of your own health, you have no choice. There is a supermarket of options which is one of the problems.” He goes on to describe a recent market study by Dr. Scott Halderman reviewed on Spine-Health.com discussing the current predicament of patients seeking care for back pain. Dr. Lord explains, “[The] conclusion was that there is definitely effective treatments for back pain but it’s hard because there is a supermarket out there. You could get a massage, you could go to the chiropractor, you could get acupuncture, you could take pain meds, you could take supplements, you could go to a trainer, you can go to an orthopedist,… And on and on and on.”
Dr. Lord sympathizes with the problems a patient has in trying to decide which provider to go to. How do you manage the pain? How do you prevent the back pain from reoccurring? “Those are questions that I am trying to deal with and I’m trying to educate people on because at the end of the day a lot of these things are businesses. People who are selling you something, they have the hammer and you are the nail and so everything is going to sound good if they try and pitch you on it.”
BEING THE CEO OF YOU OWN HEALTH
As health care consumers, Dr. Lord believes firmly in the idea of being the CEO of your own health. He defines that as not only having a good doctor to talk with, about your health issues with, but also educating yourself.
He goes on to explain his approach with patients at the Facebook Health Center, “We’re going to coach them not just okay, you need to have good posture but actually the strategies behind it; what you can do with Micro-Breaks, what you can do with positioning on your chair, different strategies of moving at your desk to really making sure that they move and which it helps them heal faster and it prevents it from coming back.”
“…When we educate people to prevent back pain, we are teaching them how to move through their hips and that’s the number one thing. It doesn’t matter why your back hurts, somehow the structures in your back got stressed.”
Dr. Lord continues “… It’s all a part of the continuum of care. And then we are not just shoving them out the door, the other really big piece is bridging the gap from okay, I have pain, it’s gone to then now I’m going back to my normal activities and healthy lifestyle. How do you bridge that gap?”
CONSUMER HIGH-TECH GADGETS
Working in the high-tech sector, you would think Dr. Lord would have access to some pretty cool and expensive tools. The truth is that he is a fan of simple affordable consumer gadgets, “…some of my favorites I would like you to know that are actually useful, one is called Lumo Lift and this is really a cool piece of the technology because it not only tracks your steps which a lot of them do, it tracks your movement throughout the day, it also tracks your posture. And it’s kind of ingenious where it vibrates if you are in a bad position.”
“It’s a perfect indicator of where your posture is because it can tell if you are hunching forward or rolling your shoulders. It also coaches you so you can do coaching sessions …so if you hunch over too much it will give you a couple buzzes to remind you to sit back up so it’s kind of a cool biofeedback way to improve your posture habits.”
Some other low-tech items Dr. Lord likes to prescribe are, “The other thing that I really like to use is called Intelli-Skin. And it is not a technology… It’s just a shirt but the technology is in the materials. It’s kind of a compression shirt so it fits fairly tightly so it is comfortable for some people, not as comfortable for some other people but people who are able to wear it get really great results.”
“The Fluid Stance, it looks like a surfboard and it is kind of like a balance board, but it’s more stable than a wobble board or what you would see like in a PT area or a gym where it’s like really stable. It’s just a little unstable where you can shift your weight and move your ankles back and forth and you balance but you are not in fear of falling.”
“Another one is a floormat for workstations, it is called Topo. And it’s interesting because it has kind of a foam soft feel that you would normally think of for the mats… You can stand on the edge and like stretch your calf. You can stand on… There is a big hump in the middle that you can change your foot position and it’s all cushiony, but it kind of gets you to move around as you stand and put your feet in different positions and stretch your feet in different positions.”
A POSSIBLE HEALTHCARE FUTURE
Facebook, along with a select number of American corporations understand that the health and happiness of their employees and the importance of a healthy corporate culture, are all factors that positively effect their bottom line.
Regardless of what your employer does or does not offer you in the way of health care perks, it’s up to you in the end, to educate yourself with simple, evidence-based actions that can help you navigate the supermarket of medical offerings.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE?
What does your company offer you in the way of health care? Have you found good evidence-based solutions that have helped your wellness? What tools or techniques do you use to keep yourself healthy? Let us know in the Comments Section below..
“In the end, learning how to adapt your habits and environment towards prevention, is the key to a healthy outcome.”
What Would You Like to Do?
“Well I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out at Facebook the past few years. It’s definitely different relationship that you have with your patients and it definitely gives me the advantage to really focus on patient care because I don’t have to deal with the business aspects of running a clinic.” – Daniel Lord, DC.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN:
- How Facebook takes care of their employees with in-house integrated medical care that delivers a well rounded approach to caring for the individual.
- Employees love this perk so much that many of them say that they won’t work anywhere else.
- Daniel’s #1 common problem that he treats is back-pain because people sit and work at computers all day.
- Daniel wants to teach his patients how they be the “CEO of their own Health.
- Eliminating pain is important but so is preventing it from returning!
- There is a “super-market” of choices for patients, how do you choose which solution to solve your problem?
- Many developing countries don’t have the same back-pain problems modernized countries do, find out why.
- Something you can do right now to help yourself: “abdominal contraction of 20% on, at all times.
- Daniel has a short list of electronic and physical gadgets/tools that he loves and help people be healthier while they work; Lumo Lift, Posture Shirts, Fluid Stance and the Topo Anti-fatigue Mat. Listen to the podcast and learn why.
It’s very important for your health and wellbeing to take micro-breaks every 20 minutes , and just spend 30-60 seconds doing one or several of these exercises at your desk.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
Daniel’s Website and blog: Practice Posture
Scott Halderman was the lead author of the Spine-Health article mentioned
Kelly Starrett, Doctor of physical therapy.
MobilityWOD is the ultimate guide to resolving pain, preventing injury, and optimizing athletic performance.
Sit Better, Live Better: Excerpt From Dr. Kelly Starrett’s Becoming A Supple Leopard
Micro Breaks No.1 // The McGill Overhead Reach
Microbreak No.2 // Standing Posture Reset
Microbreak No.3 // Cracking Up With Coach Stevo
PRODUCTS DANIEL LOVES AND USES WITH HIS PATIENTS
There is so much great actionable content in this episode, but the big takeaway is simple; There are so many choices available to treat your ailments, aches and pains, but it all starts with you being an active, informed participant in your health journey.
We all need to be The CEOs of our own Health.
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