Wal-Mart just announced it is eliminating health insurance for part-time employess, and SHARPLY raising premiums for full timers. The decision by America's largest employer in advance of ObamaCare going fully into effect in 2014 is the shape of things to come. Employers will have a choice- cover everyone, or pay a penalty. Since the penalty will be far less than the cost of providing insurance, many will stop covering employees.
My prediction stands (regardless of who wins the 2012 election): We are headed for a national medi-gov plan, essentially medicare for all. Basics will be covered, but people will be trained to pay for "non-emergency" care out of pocket.
Which is why chiropractors, PTs, massage therapists, trainers and other Posture Professionals who work to optimize motion and function can be successful as the population ages...the key is building the perceived value for services. The Walmart logo may be more true than the company realizes, if reducing coverage encourages greater responsibility for health.
In other words...having people choose to pay out of pocket because they functionally observe and KNOW you help them, and because you help them to help themselves move well.
Perception: Where you think you are Reality: Where you are Your Posture: How your body negotiates the difference between Perception and Reality
Watch people when they first get a glimpse of themselves in a mirror....they usually do a fast posture "straighten up". People THINK they are standing straight, but when they see their reflection they pull their shoulders back and belly in to improve their perceived self-image of their body. In other words, they do a "posture shift".
People usually think of posture as having to do with how straight they're standing. This is true, as far as it goes -- alignment is one of the three elements of posture. In fact, posture professionals use a photo or mirror to make someone aware of the difference between their perceived posture (I feel like I'm standing straight) and objective reality (the slumped forward and uneven person in the picture).
People THINK they're standing straight...but they really aren't.
One scientific measurement which quantifies how close someone's posture is to reality is COP (Center of Pressure). COP is when a plate on a force platform measures how much the body sways. If you've tried the Balance section on a WiiFit videogame you've had a basic COP test.
NEW STUDY: 203 previous studies were evaluated in a metastudy which found that patients with neck pain (from traumatic whiplash as well as non-specific onset) showed more postural sway on COP tests. The loss of posture stability was associated with the presence of pain but showed less relation to how long the person had been in pain.
DATAPOINT: More pain means more sway. Even when people have long-standing problems, their sway was not as pronounced if they were not in pain that day.
OBSERVATION: Dysfunctional neck sensation (pain) is associated with dysfunctional neck proprioception. In other words, neck pain affects the ability to know where the head is in space...as well as to how the entire postural chain functions.
CONJECTURE: CPEPs, chiropractors and other posture professionals who reduce pain and improve function are improving the alignment between perception and reality.
1. Altered postural sway in patients suffering from non-specific neck pain and whiplash associated disorder - A systematic review of the literature, Ruhe, Fejer & Walker, Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 24 May 2011, 19:13 doi:10.1186/2045-709X-19-13
DATAPOINT - Improving motion improves pain and wellbeing, and targeting additional contracting (active subsystem) and connecting (passive subsystem) in more different ways to improve motion increased the effect. In other words...MORE IS MORE.
"It's a really valuable tool, like a car trunk,"Pam Jones, senior designer at L.L. Bean about their Turbo Transit II backpack AKA " the minivan". It's LL Beans fastest growing by sales and largest pack ( 2,400 cubic inches) with the capacity of a small dorm refrigerator.
The comic/social commentator George Carlin does a riff about consumerism, saying that we need to buy "stuff" to fill our house, and then need a bigger house so we can get more "stuff", which then fills so we need a bigger house, ad infinitum. Training kids to carry a dorm room (oops..I mean fridge) on their back would be a funny extension of that riff...if it were not so sad. I am writing this on Friday afternoon and can see kids getting off a schoolbus, some with backpacks the size of their torso. Besides training kids minds into consumerism, we are training them to hunched over postures and the resultant effects on health. Because it is physically possible to load more onto a child does not make it wise or desirable (except for those of us who will help them in 20 years when they suffer from back pain and other posture problems)
How Heavy Can a Backpack Get? Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2011
The Body Learns to Move in the PATTERNS you teach it- 3rd Posture Principle
The model of a muscle shortening to create a discrete motion in a direction is overly simplistic. As I have previously contended, muscle patterns are unique on a fiber by fiber basis. The complexity of motion can be described with the three motion subsystems of the StrongPostureTM model, Contracting, Connecting and Control (corresponding to Punjabi's Active, Passive and Control subsystems). Motion patterns result from Connecting subsystem muscle activity constrained by the Connecting subsystem (joint architecture, ligaments, tendon and fascia) and guided by the Controlling subsystem (CNS/PNS).
A new study demonstrates that motion patterns are even more complex. Park, Tsao, Cresswell and Hodges have demonstrated that the deep posture stabilizing muscles do not have discrete functions, but their fibers can have antagonistic function within the same muscle. The researchers looked one of my favorite muscles, the psoas, and showed some fibers were active in flexion and others fibers active in extension.
The Study: Fine-wire EMG electrodes were inserted into the psoas major at the transverse process (PM-t) and vertebral body (PM-v). Activity was then measured in flexion and extension (sagital plane function).
Observation: The two regions of the psoas showed opposite function, with the PM-t engaged and active in extension and PM-v in flexion. In other words, different populations of fibers in the same muscle had antagonistic effects. A similar effect was noted for fibers inserted into the front and back of the Quadratus Lumborum (QL) where right trunk lateral-flexion was measured
The researchers' conclusion: "These findings provide novel understanding of the unique activation of discrete regions of PM and QL."
SPW Conjecture I: The co-contraction of antagonisic fibers within a muscle plays a significant role in stabilizing and controlling joint motion. SPW Conjecture II: The conscious control of each degree of motion in StrongPostureTM exercises trains this stabilization by finding and recruiting unused fibers.
Differential activity of regions of the psoas major and quadratus lumborum during submaximal isometric trunk efforts. Park RJ, Tsao H, Cresswell AG, Hodges PW.J Orthop Res. 2011 Jul 28. doi: 10.1002/jor.21499.