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Drug-Resistant Illnesses—What You Should Know

Drug-Resistant Illnesses—What You Should Know

With the huge rise in the use of antibiotics over the past 70 years, some pathogens are now becoming resistant to the drugs that once easily eradicated the illnesses these pathogens cause. People who become infected with one of these drug-resistant organisms are at increased risk for longer, more costly hospital stays and are more likely to die from their infection.

Medical researchers and public health experts believe there are a few different causes for the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria. These include the widespread use of antibiotics in animals as well as and the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in humans.

Cattle, pigs and chickens are routinely given antibiotics to prevent illness and increase weight gain. However, 55 outbreaks of foodborne illness over the past 40 years have been caused by antibiotic-resistant pathogens. New York Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter, a microbiologist, said “We have evidence that the practice of overusing antibiotics in food-animals is ruining these drugs’ effectiveness, and every day that the government stands idly by, we move closer to the nightmare scenario where routine infections can no longer be cured with antibiotic treatment.” Slaughter has proposed Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), which would ban the use of 8 major classes of antibiotics from use on healthy animals, with exceptions only for animals who are actually ill.

Doctors are often pressured to prescribe antibiotics for illnesses that antibiotics are ineffective at treating, such as viruses. Parents of sick children have been shown to be particularly bad about exerting pressure on their doctor to give their children an antibiotic, no matter what the illness actually is. In the case of viruses (such as the one that causes the common cold, most coughs and the flu), antibiotics are useless. Antibiotics work against bacteria such as streptococcal bacteria (strep throat) and staphylococcal bacteria (skin infections). The bacterial infections most in danger of becoming resistant to all antibiotics include anthrax, gonorrhea, group B Streptococcus, Klebsiella, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Streptococcus pneumoniae, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and the antimicrobial-resistant staph bacteria VISA and VRSA.

The best way to help reduce the spread of drug-resistant illnesses is to refrain from pressuring your doctor to prescribe antibiotics when it is not appropriate, and when antibiotics are called for, to take them according to directions. Be sure to complete the full course of the antibiotic regimen prescribed, even if you are feeling well again. If you don’t, some bacteria may linger and develop a resistance to the drug you are taking, potentially making that antibiotic ineffective for you in the future. Do not skip any doses, share your antibiotics with anyone else, or use antibiotics that have been prescribed for someone else.

In general, the symptoms of a virus disappear in about a week or so. In contrast, bacterial infections tend to linger. So if you have been feeling ill for more than two weeks, consult with your physician to see if antibiotics may be appropriate for treating of your illness. If not, he or she can prescribe other effective ways to treat your condition.

“Exercise” Versus “Lifestyle Activity”: How Active Are You—Really?

“Exercise” Versus “Lifestyle Activity”: How Active Are You—Really?

If you are like most people, working out just for the sake of working out does not really appeal (although there are many dedicated gym buffs who couldn’t live without their daily workouts!). We all know that it’s important to exercise regularly if we want to live a long and healthy life. However, if you find the idea of trotting along on a treadmill for 15 minutes and then spending half an hour of working out on Nautilus machines to be about as exciting as a trip to the dentist, then this article is for you!

Experts recommend that we get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week to stay in shape. But many people find taking this much exercise at once (or in three 50-minute stretches) too daunting. The good news is that a recent study conducted by researchers at Boston University that was published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that bouts of exercise lasting less than 10 minutes a couple of times daily, such as the kind you get when cleaning the house, were sufficient to meet your weekly exercise needs.

Over 2,000 participants were included in the study, more than half of whom were overweight. Motion detectors were attached to each of the subjects for eight days, and an average of half the participants met their weekly exercise quota of 150 minutes. The average participant met his or her quota with exercise that lasted less than 10 minutes at a time. The types of exercise ranged from moderate (heavy cleaning, walking briskly and sports such as golf and badminton) to vigorous (running, hiking, shoveling and farm work).

As long as the participants met their 150-minute per week quota, no matter the length of their exercise, they had lower body mass index, smaller waists, lower triglycerides and better cholesterol levels than those who did not meet the quota. Assistant professor at Boston University’s School of Medicine, Nicole Glazer, says “But this study really speaks to the idea that some activity is better than nothing. Parking a little bit farther away, getting off the bus one stop early—all of these little things can add up and are related to a healthier profile.”

For years, researchers have studied the effects of exercise from practicing sports or visiting the gym. However, according to Glazer, “This idea of lifestyle activity is one that is under-measured in research studies.” Activities such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, using a push mower instead of a riding mower, etc. can add up to a significant amount of energy expenditure. Experts still stress that it’s important to also get in some traditional forms of exercise and not merely replace it with lifestyle activity. Still, any exercise is useful.

“The levels of sedentary behavior in this country are alarming. So the concern that someone’s going to stop exercising and instead just get off the bus a stop earlier, that’s not my concern,” Glazer says. “The real concern is, is this a stepping-stone? Is this the way we can get inactive people to do any sort of activity? People will come up with any excuse to not exercise. I don’t need to worry about my giving them one. They’ll be able to think of something.”

Remember Dr. Oblander’s adage: If you don’t use it, you will lose it! Make sure that you figure out a way to move and remain active…no matter what your age is or your athletic ability!

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When Are Antibiotics Appropriate and When Should I Avoid Using Them?

When Are Antibiotics Appropriate and When Should I Avoid Using Them?

People are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers that can result from the overuse of antibiotics. When antibiotics were first discovered in the early 20th century, researchers believed that they had found the key to conquering many deadly diseases. Since that time, antibiotics have certainly helped to cure diseases that once wiped out large parts of the population. However, there is growing evidence that antibiotics are now being used too frequently, and that they are often being used in inappropriate circumstances. This has led to many previously curable diseases becoming antibiotic-resistant, which means that a cure now requires the use far stronger antibiotics. In fact, some diseases have now become resistant to nearly all antibiotics. It is obvious that if antibiotic use continues in this way, we may have a major health crisis on our hands.

The first thing to be aware of is that antibiotics are not effective in the treatment of viruses. They only treat bacterial infections, certain fungal infections and parasites. For diseases such as the common cold, flu or bronchitis, antibiotics are completely ineffective and their use in cases such as these will only contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. You should not ask your doctor to prescribe antibiotics if you have a sore throat or the stomach flu, for instance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antibiotics were prescribed for an acute respiratory infection in 68% of visits to the doctor. However, 80% of those prescriptions were unnecessary.

Antibiotics are often an appropriate treatment for conditions such as severe sinus infections that last longer than two weeks, ear infections, bladder infections and skin infections. These are frequently due to a bacterial or fungal infection, and treating them with antibiotics is effective.

If you have been prescribed an antibiotic, it is very important that you take it exactly as directed by your physician. If your symptoms happen to clear up before the entire course of antibiotics is completed, you must still continue to take them as prescribed. This is because there may still be a few lingering bacteria in your system, and—if they are not all killed—the strongest ones may survive to produce new generations of ever stronger bacteria that might make current antibiotics less effective.

Some doctors feel pressured by their patients to prescribe something, whether it’s really going to be helpful or not. A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that pediatricians will prescribe antibiotics for children 62% of the time if parents expect them to, and only 7% of the time if the parents do not expect an antibiotic prescription. Do not put pressure on your doctor to prescribe antibiotics for your condition. He or she is the best judge as to whether antibiotics are appropriate.

Also, keeping adjusted helps keep your immune system at its best. To avoid catching colds and other viruses, be sure to keep you and your family adjusted! Call our office at 406-652-3553 if you need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Oblander!

How to Make New Habits “Stick”

How to Make New Habits “Stick”

Forming new habits can be just as difficult as breaking old ones. But when you stop to think about it for a moment, it is clear that all of our habits, both positive and negative, had a beginning—a time BEFORE the behavior became a clear, recognizable pattern. In other words, there was a time when your current habits weren’t yet habits at all!

So how do new habits actually form? And is there a way for us to develop POSITIVE new habits in a focused, deliberate way? We call this “making new habits ‘stick’”.

Like anything we learn, our first attempts at any new skill are usually halting and inconsistent. But slowly it becomes second nature until we can’t remember a time when we found the behavior unusual, uncomfortable or challenging. Once we’ve learned how to do something and turned that something into a recurring pattern of behavior, it’s “like riding a bicycle,” as the saying goes…

New York Times investigative reporter Charles Duhigg became something of an expert on the science of habit formation and change. He read hundreds of studies and interviewed the scientists who conducted them to discover the mechanisms behind habit formation, and wrote a book on the subject, “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.”

Duhigg has described a self-reinforcing process he calls the “Habit Loop”. Based on his interpretation of neurological studies, Duhigg believes that every habit has three components: “a cuea trigger for a particular behavior; a routine, which is the behavior itself; and a reward, which is how your brain decides whether to remember a habit for the future.” For example, let’s say you want to stop being admonished by your dentist for not flossing regularly. First you put the dental floss right next to the toothpaste, so you can’t miss it (the cue). Then every time you go to brush your teeth (the routine) you floss because it’s right there in front of you. Finally, when you go to the dentist, he or she praises you for flossing regularly (the reward).

Establishing a new habit takes most people about 30 days, although it can frequently take twice that. You can improve your chances of success if you’re able to do a little advance planning. For instance, imagine you want to develop a habit of going to the gym every day. First, start small. For the first month, plan on going to the gym three days a week for 30 minutes each. Plan your workouts for days and times that are least likely to have things such as work or childcare interfere with your gym schedule. It can also help to enlist a buddy who has similar goals to join you so you can reinforce each other’s commitment. Then figure out a reward to give yourself for each completed workout, such as going out for a drink afterward with your workout buddy or enjoying a little Ben and Jerry’s, guilt-free. You can also give yourself some long-term rewards to envision, such as looking good in a bikini on the Caribbean beach you plan to visit next summer. If you can stick with it regularly for a month, there’s a good chance it will become part of your weekly ritual and you will soon crave your workouts. You can then gradually build up to more days. In three months, you may find that if you have to skip a workout you actually MISS it! Something’s just not right…

Duhigg says “If you can identify the right cue and reward—and if you can create a sense of craving—you can establish almost any habit.”

How Chiropractic Care Has Helped Me: Introducing Brigadier General Becky Halstead

How Chiropractic Care Has Helped Me: Introducing Brigadier General Becky Halstead

How Chiropractic Care Has Helped Me: Introducing Brigadier General Becky HalsteadRetired Brigadier General Becky Halstead is no stranger to pain. She spent her entire adult life in the military, and was the first female graduate from West Point to become a general officer. She has seen battle all over the world, including in Iraq. But she has also fought her own personal battle—with fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a condition that is still not fully understood, but it involves symptoms that include headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, anxiety and depression. “It’s as if your whole body is a bruise … You hurt everywhere,” Halstead says. Even something as simple as showering was painful. “The water hitting your skin, it would feel like it was tearing.”

The conventional treatment for fibromyalgia involves pharmaceuticals, which Halstead took for a number of years. However, the drugs have only limited effectiveness, and she did not want them to affect her job. She said “I knew it wasn’t going to kill me—I was just in pain, so I took myself off all prescription drugs when I went into combat. I was in charge of 20,000 soldiers. That’s a huge command, a huge responsibility. I wasn’t going to have someone doubt or wonder whether the prescriptions influenced me or my decisions.”

However, it became impossible to continue in the military while dealing with debilitating pain, so she retired from the army in 2008. It was then that she began semi-monthly visits to a chiropractor, and that’s when her health began to turn around. Within a year of beginning chiropractic treatment, she was able to discontinue taking pharmaceuticals entirely by combining regular chiropractic spinal adjustments with nutritional supplements.

Halstead says of chiropractic care and how it has helped her, “It’s not like you’re cured, but you feel so much better. They set me on a path of getting well. I’m the healthiest I’ve been in 10 years. I was taking eight or 10 prescription drugs in 2008. The more I went to the chiropractor, the less prescriptions I needed.” She continued, “When I retired, my pain was easily a 9 or 10 (on a 10-point scale) every single day. My pain now is a 2 or 3, and maybe even sometimes a 1. I don’t think I’ve hit a 10 since I started regularly seeing a chiropractor.”

“If I had known how much chiropractic care would help me when I was a commander in Iraq and in the United States, I could have taken better care of my soldiers.” Although chiropractic care for military personnel was approved by congress, there are still many treatment facilities that do not have a chiropractor on staff, which Halstead would like to see changed.

“Until we’ve done that we have not fulfilled our leadership responsibility,” Halstead said. “If you want to help them, see a congressman and ask ‘aren’t our men and women getting these benefits?’ I’m not a chiropractor I’m a satisfied patient, a beneficiary of their talented hands, minds, and hearts. Go find yourself a chiropractor and change your life!”

As a side note: Dr. Oblander sees many veterans in his practice. However, it can be difficult for veterans to get coverage for chiropractic care.  If you want to help veterans and/or you willing to champion chiropractic coverage for all of our military – please let our congressional representatives know that you support chiropractic care for our veterans and military personnel!

http://www.omaha.com/article/20130316/LIVEWELL01/703179900

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t22AVZ44z3A (first of a 4-part series)

 

Spotlight on Food Allergy Trends. What’s the Best Advice?

Spotlight on Food Allergy Trends. What’s the Best Advice?

auburn-haired girl, young woman wiping her nose

One thing is certain: food allergies are on the rise. According to a 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 50% more food allergies in 2011 than there were in 1997. An estimated 15 million Americans have food allergies, and the numbers are increasing. Four percent of the population has a food allergy now, as opposed to only one percent ten years ago. What is not so certain is what is causing this increase in food allergies. Experts believe it is likely due to a few different causes, including over-cleanliness, reluctance to feed children certain foods at an early age, and the quality of the foods we eat. It may also be that physicians are becoming more skilled at recognizing the problem and, therefore, that food allergies are diagnosed more frequently.

One interesting thing to note is that American children are more likely to have food allergies than children in other nations. It may be due in part to Americans being better-off than people in other countries. The CDC noted on their website that, “Food and respiratory allergy prevalence increased with income level. Children with family income equal to or greater than 200% of the poverty level had the highest prevalence rates.”

Experts surmise that the immune systems of people in poorer and undeveloped nations get exposed to pathogens far more often than people in nations with higher standards of cleanliness and more access to antibiotics. Exposure to a wide range of microbes at an early age helps to ensure that the immune system is kept busy and learns early to recognize the difference between a dangerous microbe and a harmless one. Many children in the US now grow up in homes so clean that they encounter relatively few germs until they are exposed to them in school.

Another issue is the reluctance of parents to feed their children foods that may possibly cause an allergy. For example, some women avoid eating peanuts during pregnancy and will not feed them to their children until they are older. However, if we look at the rate of peanut allergies in Israel, it is far lower than that in the US. The primary difference between the two countries is that Israeli parents feed their children peanut snacks at a far earlier age than American parents do.

The American diet also consists of far more processed foods and GMOs than the diets of other countries. The side effects of genetically modified foods have still not been thoroughly investigated, but more studies are finding health issues in animals fed genetically modified foods. In addition, conventionally-raised meat in the US is typically fed hormones and antibiotics, which may be wreaking havoc with our own immune systems when we eat meat from these animals.

Extensive pesticide and herbicide use can also increase the risk of food allergies. A study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology found that people exposed to chemicals called dichlorophenols (DCPs) were more likely to develop food allergies. These chemicals are created when common pesticides and herbicides break down. People with the highest level of this chemical were more than twice as likely to have a food allergy.

The best thing you can do to help ensure that you and your family do not develop food allergies is to eat whole foods from reliable sources as often as your household budget will allow. Organically-grown foods may be one part of the answer. To be labeled “100% organic,” foods must not have been exposed to pesticides and herbicides, has not received hormones or antibiotics, and cannot be genetically modified. In addition, don’t be afraid of getting dirty! Regular exposure to germs helps keep your immune system exercised and it will be less likely to overreact to harmless microbes.

 

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Massage Therapy: It’s Not Just for Rest and Relaxation!

Massage Therapy: It’s Not Just for Rest and Relaxation!

What do you think about when you hear the word “massage”? If you’re like many people, you associate massage with a day of pampering at an exclusive resort spa in the mountains or at the beach. But if that’s the first picture that comes to mind, you might be missing something very, very important. That something is the therapeutic value of massage—the ways that massage can actually improve your health and well-being.

While it is certainly true that many types of massage do help with relaxation, therapeutic massage also has a variety of important health benefits. For instance, therapeutic massage:

  • Accelerates healing by improving the circulation of blood and lymph to injured areas
  • Promotes flexibility by stretching and loosening muscles and connective tissue
  • Improves muscle tone and helps prevent or delay muscle atrophy cause by prolonged periods of forced inactivity
  • Relieves pain in joints by reducing inflammation and swelling in joints
  • Increases the effectiveness of chiropractic adjustments

Practitioners and patients alike have discussed these types of benefits for many years, but researchers have recently made a great deal of progress collecting and analyzing clinical data to understand the effects of therapeutic massage. Here are some “headlines” from their work as well as a few “notable quotes” from their study findings.

Improved Circulation and Post-Exercise Pain Relief

Investigators at the University of Illinois at Chicago recently conducted a study to determine whether or not massage improves general circulation and relieves soreness after exercise.

  • “Our study validates the value of massage in exercise and injury, which has been previously recognized but based on minimal data,” said Nina Cherie Franklin, UIC postdoctoral fellow in physical therapy and first author of the study. “It also suggests the value of massage outside of the context of exercise.”
  • “We believe that massage is really changing physiology in a positive way,” said Franklin. “This is not just blood flow speeds—this is actually a vascular response.”
  • Because vascular function was changed at a distance from both the site of injury and the massage, the finding suggests a “systemic rather than just a local response,” she said.

Reduced Chronic Low Back Pain and Improved Mobility

There are more than 100 million massage therapy visits in the U.S. each year, and lower back pain accounts for more than one-third of them. Why?  Because massage works!

A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that patients receiving massage (whether “structural” massage or “relaxation” massage) had better outcomes than those receiving typical medical care without massage. Measured after 10 weeks and again after 26 weeks, patients who received massage had less pain and better mobility than the control group. At 52 weeks, the results were less clear.

A review in Harvard Health Publications contained some very positive words about the study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine:

  • “My interpretation of this well-designed study is that massage appears to be at least as effective as standard treatments for chronic low back pain.  It might even be better.  And it’s likely safer than medicine.  Depending on actual costs and insurance coverage, massage may even cost less than usual care.”
  • “In my opinion, it’s time massage became a more standard option for the treatment of chronic low back pain.”

The Chiropractic Care – Massage Therapy Connection

Massage is often recommended as an integral part of a broader chiropractic treatment plan, either in the form of massage to loosen muscle tightness before an adjustment, or after an adjustment to help the muscles adapt to the newly-repaired spinal structures. Many patients report that the combination of these two therapies works better than either therapy alone. In our experience, this is most noticeable with conditions that cause chronic pain—chiropractic manipulation or mobilization techniques work to relieve the structural problems and therapeutic massage works to resolve the soft tissue problems. This is why many chiropractors work closely with massage therapists to find the most effective treatment regimen for each patient—the one that returns them to a feeling of health and well-being as quickly as possible. In our Grand Avenue office, here in Billings, Dr. Oblander often works hand in hand with our massage therapists to work with patients who have been in car accidents, are worker’s compensation patients, or who have other issues which our experience tells us would be addressed by combining massage therapy with chiropractic care

If you’re interested in learning more about what massage and chiropractic care can do for you, please give Oblander Chiropractic a call at 406-652-3553! We’ll be happy to discuss your situation with you and to explain our approach. We’re here to help!

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To Stay Healthy this Fall and Winter? Wash Your Hands! The Simplest Way

To Stay Healthy this Fall and Winter? Wash Your Hands! The Simplest Way

As summer turns to fall, lots of people (children and adults alike) will be spending more time inside and in closer proximity to one-another. Washing your hands is something simple we can all do to keep our schools, workplaces and homes just a little bit healthier. In fact, it’s actually been identified by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the single most effective way to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

But researchers at Michigan State University recently found that only about 1 person in 20 actually washes his or her hands properly in even the most obvious hand washing scenario—after using a public restroom. According to a summary by writer Lindsay Abrams of the Atlantic:

“Of 3,749 people observed leaving the bathrooms, 66.9 percent used soap, while 10.3 percent didn’t wash their hands at all. The other 23 percent of people stopped at wetting their hands, in what the researchers, for some reason, call “attempted washing” (as if maybe those people just weren’t sure how to follow through). Although the researchers generously counted the combined time spent washing, rubbing, and rinsing, only 5.3 percent of people spent 15 seconds or longer doing so, thus fulfilling the requirements of proper handwashing. They average time spent was 6 seconds.

Why Hand Washing?

Bacterial and viral infections can be spread when the hands come into contact with infectious respiratory secretions and carry them elsewhere. This happens most often as a result of someone coughing, sneezing, shaking hands, or touching an object that has been in the proximity of a sick person and then touching the face—particularly the nose, mouth or eyes. This is one of the primary ways of transmitting the virus that causes the common cold.

Washing your hands after using the toilet or changing a diaper is of utmost importance, as the ingestion of even the smallest amount of fecal matter can cause serious illness from deadly pathogens such as E. coli, salmonella, giardiasis and hepatitis A, among others. You should also be particularly careful about washing your hands after touching garbage, handling animals or animal waste, visiting or caring for an ill person, or if your hands show visible dirt.

Those who handle food should routinely wash their hands, not only after using the toilet, but also after touching raw meat, fish or poultry, since the microbes present on uncooked food can cause gastrointestinal infections ranging from mild to severe or even life-threatening.

Perhaps those with the greatest need to wash their hands on a regular basis are healthcare workers. Because they’re constantly exposed to sick patients and patients with weakened immune systems, and since they frequently come into contact with contaminated surfaces, these professionals have a special responsibility. Before the importance of hand washing was widely understood within the healthcare community, millions of people became sick or died from infections passed along on the hands of their caregivers. During the 19th century, up to 25% of women died in childbirth from childbed fever (puerperal sepsis), a disease subsequently found to be caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes. After hand washing was introduced as a standard practice in the delivery room, the rate of death dropped to less than 1%.

It All Begins With Hand Awareness

Here are the “4 Principles of Hand Awareness”:

  1. Wash your hands when they are dirty and BEFORE eating
  2. DO NOT cough into your hands
  3. DO NOT sneeze into your hands
  4. Above all, DO NOT put your fingers into your eyes, nose or mouth

How to Wash Your Hands the Right Way

To wash your hands properly, you need only two things: soap and clean, running water. If these two things are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has a minimum 60% alcohol content.

Before washing your hands, remove all rings and other jewelry. Using running water, wet your hands thoroughly, then apply enough soap to work up a nice lather. Keeping your hands out of the water, rub them together, being sure to scrub both the front and backs of your hands, including your wrists, and also washing between the fingers and under the nails. Do this for 20 seconds, then rinse completely under the running water. Be sure to turn off the taps with a paper towel rather than your bare hand. According to the CDC, the whole process should take about as much time as singing “Happy Birthday” twice.

But What About Drying?

The Mayo Clinic recently published its own comprehensive review and analysis of every known hand washing-related study produced since 1970. Interestingly, their researchers found that drying hands was a key part of preventing the spread of bacteria. They also concluded that paper towels are better than blowers for this purpose. Here’s some of their reasoning:

  • Most people prefer paper towels to blowers, so they’re more likely to use them.
  • Blowers take too long, encouraging people to wipe their newly-cleaned hands on dirty pants or to skip the step altogether.
  • It takes less energy to manufacture a paper towel than it does to dry hands with a blower.
  • Blowers dry out the skin on your hands.
  • Blowers scatter bacteria three to six feet from the device.

As chiropractic physicians, we have a special interest in helping our patients (and non-patients, for that matter) avoid illness and injury. This means helping them develop healthy lifestyle habits—like regular hand washing—that prevent disease. We also work closely with them in areas like diet, exercise, sleep and stress management. If you’d like to learn more about what we can do to help you stay healthy and live your life to its fullest, please call or visit our office today!

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The Most Dangerous Jobs: A Chiropractic Perspective

The Most Dangerous Jobs: A Chiropractic Perspective

It’s no secret that some jobs are just more physically demanding and more dangerous than others. Some of the most challenging ones are obvious—combat roles in the military, fire and rescue, heavy construction and deep sea fishing are just a few that come to mind. However, when it comes to non-fatal musculoskeletal injuries, the statistics tell a very different story about occupational health and safety and about who’s most likely to get hurt on the job.

Because chiropractic physicians are experts in treating conditions that involve the musculoskeletal and nervous systems (including many common workplace injuries), we have a unique perspective on why they happen, how they can  be prevented and the best ways to treat them.

Musculoskeletal Disorders by the Numbers

Let’s start with a long-term trend that’s good news for the nation’s workers but that doesn’t get much media attention. The number of reportable occupational injuries and illnesses has declined steadily across the past decade from 50 cases per 1,000 full-time workers in 2003 to 33 cases in 2013. So progress is clearly being made, even if it doesn’t grab the headlines.

That said, musculoskeletal injuries continue to be among the most common on-the-job injuries, and they can require significant recuperation time. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) “are injuries or illnesses affecting the connective tissues of the body such as muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, or spinal disks.”

A very high percentage—about one-third—of 2013 workplace injury and illness cases that required days off from work involved the musculoskeletal system.  Plus, workers who sustained musculoskeletal injuries required more time to recover before returning to work—a median of 11 days to recuperate compared with 8 days for all types of workplace injury and illness cases. In 2011:

  • The back was the primary site of MSD injuries in 42% of all cases across all occupations, requiring a median time off of 7 days to recuperate.
  • Although it accounts for only 13% of all MSDs, the shoulder was the area with the most severe injuries, requiring a median of 21 days off of work to recuperate.
  • Injuries and illnesses due to repetitive motion involving “micro-tasks” (such as typing) accounted for only 3% of all occupational injury and illness cases. However, those workers with this kind of injury required nearly 3 times as many days away from work to recover as those with all other types of injuries and illnesses—a median of 23 days.

 

As we mentioned earlier, though, MSDs are not distributed evenly across all industries and occupations.

  • In 2013, the highest MSD incident rates were found in transportation and warehousing (80.3 cases per 10,000 full-time workers), healthcare and social assistance (50.2 cases per 10,000 full-time workers), arts, entertainment and recreation (46.5 cases per 10,000 full-time workers) and construction (41.9 cases per 10,000 full-time workers).
  • In 2011, six occupations accounted for 26% of all MSD cases: nursing assistants, laborers, janitors and cleaners, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, registered nurses and stock clerks.
  • In 2011, those with the greatest number of median days spent off from work in order to recuperate from an MSD were heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (21 days).

So it’s clear from the numbers that the dangerous jobs featured on reality TV shows (think about Deadliest Catch and Ice Road Truckers) aren’t necessarily the ones that result in the most MSD-related visits to the chiropractor or general practitioner.

The Role of Chiropractic Care in Prevention and Treatment

Over the past several years, companies of all sizes have become increasingly interested in occupational health and wellness programs. Chiropractic physicians have a special interest in working with employees and business managers alike to help prevent job-related injuries and to encourage a healthy, productive work environment. If you’d like to learn more, we encourage you to call or visit our office today.

Chiropractic care can be one of the most effective ways to treat musculoskeletal pain and accelerate recovery.  Dr. Oblander has the training and experience necessary to successfully diagnose and treat a wide range of workplace injuries, and he’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have! So if you or someone you care about has recently been hurt on the job, please give us a call at 406-652-3553 or stop by either of our Billings chiropractic offices. We have an office located at 3307 Grand Avenue and an office at 410 Wicks Lane in the Heights  and we’re here to help!

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Being a Great Fitness Buddy

Being a Great Fitness Buddy

Studies have shown that one of the best ways to stick to your fitness regime is to have a reliable fitness partner. Being a fitness buddy means that someone else is counting on you to make them accountable for their workout, keep them inspired and ensure that they are not alone in their quest for fitness. To be a great fitness buddy you just need to keep a few basic guidelines in mind:

You should both have similar goals ­– If you are training for a place on the Olympic team and your fitness buddy just wants the occasional weekend workout, neither of you is likely to meet your goal. This does not mean that you have to share the same goal, but they should be relatively comparable. That way, you can encourage your partner to meet their goal while not losing sight of your own.

Find someone at a similar fitness level – Your fitness partner does not want to feel like they are being left behind if you are at a much higher level than they are. Similarly, choosing someone at a higher level may make them feel like they have to hold back. Having the same starting point is more motivating for you both.

Be reliable – Always show up when you say you are going to. Your fitness buddy will be more motivated knowing that he or she can count on you to be there for a scheduled workout. You should ideally have similar schedules so that your partner does not have to work around your previous commitments.

Don’t hesitate to push your partner – It’s natural to want to do as little work as possible to reach our goals. But encouraging your fitness buddy to push themselves a little farther than they might on their own can help them to reach their goals a little faster. Never push them beyond what they can safely do, but there is no harm in encouraging your partner to push beyond what they perceive are their limits, and they will be pleasantly surprised at how much they can accomplish that they never thought they could.

Keep focused – Help your partner to keep focused on his or her workout by ensuring that your mind does not wander off or become distracted by the cute guy or girl walking by in the gym.

Provide useful criticism ­– Do not hesitate to correct your workout partner if you feel he or she is using bad form or doing something unsafe. Part of the responsibility of being a great fitness buddy is ensuring that your fitness partner does not become injured during their workout and that they perform to the best of their ability.

 

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