“It’s good to repeat and review what is good twice and thrice over.”

~ Plato

As a Doctor of movement for more than 17 years, I have treated thousands of patients suffering from back pain. Periodically, one of these patients will have been progressing well with their treatment – reporting significant improvements in pain and motion – only to arrive for their next therapy appointment in a panic.  All of a sudden, they report feeling so much worse, without being able to attribute the increased pain to any particular event. Their minds start reeling – they recall an MRI report of a damaged disc when they first initiated physical therapy and immediately conclude that the damaged disc is causing this relapse. They then sit inside all weekend afraid to move. 

Upon hearing this alarming report, I ask the patient to retrace the weekend’s activities to pinpoint the moment when the pain erupted. I ask if there was anything different from their usual routine – a party? A dance? A movie? Dining out? This is when the truth comes out: A high school football game on Friday night where the patient sat on the bleachers for more than two hours. Of course, I must then remind the patient that prolonged sitting without proper back support is more than likely the culprit. Going back to the basics, I review with the patient what we already know:

  • Sitting:  Use a lumbar roll to support the lower back. Sit evenly on sitting bones, with feet flat on the floor.  Remember that prolonged sitting is your worse enemy!
  • Movement:  Move frequently as much as you can tolerate. Motion is lotion to your joints!
  • Stretch:  “Brush your Muscles” just like you brush your teeth; twice a day or more often to loosen up muscles and reduce stress on your body.

I then remind the patient about the importance of “trim-tabbing” – or making slight adjustments to navigate an ocean liner to reach its destination safely. Sharp drastic turns and panic can be catastrophic.  When panic over the possibility of emergency invasive surgical treatment is replaced by understanding how their actions impacted their relapse, the patient becomes eager to return the basics; applying simple, proven principles to return to good health.

As a leader, I find myself forgetting this at times. I can take one issue and blow it up it so big in my mind that it overshadows all other important progress in the business.  I know full well that this kind of thinking can be dangerous, if not catastrophic.  I believe it is part of the struggle for me, and for all of us as leaders who have the ability to influence. Trim-tabbing starts in my own mind as the leader: A change in mindset can result in abundance and opportunity.

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