Ricky's Riffs:

Random Thoughts on Travel, Education, Health, and the World in General


The HAG Capisco: Best Chair in the World?

August 28th, 2017

Growing up, I remember my parents sitting in front of the television set in their big faux leather Lazy Boy recliners.  They would lean back and the foot supports would rise as they sank into their chairs dreamy soft cushiness.  Usually, after about twenty minutes, they would be asleep and when they finally trudged off to bed, it would usually be with aching backs.  Another chair related “injury!”Read the rest of this entry »


A World of Pain

June 30th, 2016

In our highly medicated society, Americans consume more mind and mood altering drugs—legal, illegal and prescribed–than any other people in the world.  Cocaine, heroin, marijuana, Xanax, Ambien, Atavan, alcohol and many more: a full spectrum of pain, anti-anxiety, anti-depressant and stimulating medications.

We all know people affected by the overuse of these substances. Some of us know people who have died from them.

But why are we in so much pain?  So depressed?  Why can’t we sleep? Or focus?Read the rest of this entry »


NAMM 2016: Music, Mayhem and an Ergonomic Review!

February 9th, 2016

I’ve just gotten back from my fourth NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show in Anaheim, CA.  NAMM is a yearly gathering of makers and sellers of instruments, amplification systems, headphones, concert lighting, digital interfaces and many more tools for the musician.

The show is not open to the public. I attend as a volunteer with MusiCares, the health care arm of the Grammy Foundation. In that role, I spend time in the Musicares booth, advising musicians on health issues–from proper lifting techniques and nutrition to recommendations about stools, straps and other ergonomic equipment.

Then, as my rock and roll self, I cruise the Convention Center halls:  four floors packed with the latest equipment, from the classics—Gibson, Fender, Taylor, Rhodes—to the small boutique producers. Companies with names like TecAmp, Resonance N’goni, and Hapi Drum, who are creating high quality gear in small workshops around the world. Basses and guitars that you’ll never find at Guitar Center; high end amps and instruments that even I had never seen before.Read the rest of this entry »


From Stools to Thrones: The Chair and Its Discontents…or, How Chairs Tell Us Who We Are

March 6th, 2015

The objects with which we surround ourselves serve multiple functions. On the one hand they may be utilitarian: dressers, chairs, and desks that support our home and work lives. At the same time, they tell us and others who we are. Does our home or office convey sophistication (elegant furniture), intelligence (books) or artiness (paintings and sculpture)? Are we practical (sparely furnished rooms) or frivolous (surrounded by knick-knacks)?

These objects can also convey status and authority. A king’s throne, for example, sits squarely in the middle of the reception hall. It is likely the most ornately carved piece of furniture in the room and is placed on a platform, denoting power and proximity to God. Or take in contrast the simple stool, without frills, designating its user as a worker focused on completing a singular task.

Both “chairs” serve a function and tell a story. Like that king and those workers, we create our worlds with purpose.Read the rest of this entry »


“Sitting is the New Smoking”: “7 on Your Side” Featuring Dr. Ricky Fishman

January 29th, 2015

The utility of sit/stand desks is finally hitting the mainstream. Here is a Channel 7 segment that was on “Seven On Your Side” with Michael Finney. I am featured:)

Feel free to make comments or get in touch with me with any questions about the revolution taking place in the field of work site ergonomics.

Click below and enjoy!
 

 


New Models for Health and Healing

December 24th, 2013

We are currently in a full-blown health care crisis. The Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) roll-out was a disaster. People in some states are still struggling to register through exchange websites to buy insurance. Others resist being forced to get insurance at all (the young and healthy), while some have learned that, despite President Obama’s promise that they could keep their old insurance plans, they could not. For many, the new policies are shockingly expensive.

On the provider side, things are even worse. Allowable benefits have been reduced, and reimbursements slashed by 60% or more in 2013 alone. Facing these cuts, providers are being forced to leave insurance networks, provide reduced quality care, or just get out of practice altogether. Meanwhile, patient premiums are rising.Read the rest of this entry »


NAMM, MusiCares, and Tribal Healing

February 18th, 2013

I recently returned from attending my second NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show.  This year, as in the past, I was working with MusiCares, the charitable health and human services arm of the Recording Academy (GRAMMYs).

MusiCares offers support for musicians in need.  Among other benefits, it helps them pay their rent, subsidizes the cost of medical services, and provides free support groups for musicians who are dealing with staying clean and sober.   Read the rest of this entry »


Levels of Healing, Part One: Physico-Chemical Dimensions

September 15th, 2012

Most people come to see me because they have pain: neck pain, lower back pain, head pain. And they want relief.

I first take a history. How long have they had the complaint? What makes the pain worse?  What relieves it? Have they had any car accidents or sports injuries?  What kind of work do they do?  Do they exercise? And so on.Read the rest of this entry »


NAMM 2012: An Ergonomic Round-Up

January 30th, 2012

Once a year, in the Anaheim Convention Center, the National Association of Music Manufacturers (NAMM) provides space for the creators of musical instruments, amplifiers, recording equipment and every imaginable music accessory to display and demonstrate their newest wares. As a long-time bass player and a bit of a gear head, I was excited to finally be attending this legendary trade show.Read the rest of this entry »


Integrative Care for Musicians: Upper Extremity Injuries

November 14th, 2011

Rockers play hard.  Think of Pete Townsend and his windmill power chords, of Jerry Lee  Lewis frenetically pounding the keys.  We all love the sound and feel of that hard driving energy.  But the physical effects on players can be significant.  Repetitive stress injuries to shoulders, arms, and hands can stop a player in his or her tracks with debilitating pain and/or numbness.Read the rest of this entry »