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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!




Why I Believe the 5 Minute Appointment is a Curse

Why I Believe the 5 Minute Appointment is a Curse

Five minutes is the common increment of time that way too many doctors are using for scheduling their patient appointments.  Do you think that 5 minutes is enough? I don’t and here’s why:

•    A patient and doctor need to develop a relationship. 5 minutes doesn’t allow for more than exchanging names.
•    A doctor should know more about a patient than what is written on their patient questionnaire or profile.
•    Any healing modality is more successful in an atmosphere of trust. It is almost impossible to develop trust in just 5 minutes.
•    Patients need and deserve to know that a doctor cares more about them than his pocket book.
•    5 minutes does not allow a doctor enough time to make a careful analysis of a patient’s needs or their health.
•    The 5 minute time slot is based solely on profits – whether they be for the practice, the HMO or the stock holders. It never has been and never will be about the patient or creating a warm, caring atmosphere for them.

I can tell you that I have been in staff meetings where the primary concern was how quickly and efficiently patients could be shuffled in and out of the exam room. I am sooo grateful that when my husband was once part of a group practice he would not agree to 5 minutes appointments with his patients. However, I know that many doctors cave in to the pressure to do so.  Healing and Health care are about healing and health – not about fast, furious treatments and patient neglect. Every practice must make a profit in order to stay in business but profits should not be the only driving force in taking care of patients. If you agree, I hope that you will make it a point of utilizing doctors who are willing to take the time with you that you need and deserve! (One of them being my husband Greg at Oblander Chiropractic!)

What You Need to Know About Depression – Oblander Chiropractic

What You Need to Know About Depression – Oblander Chiropractic

I was once a person with depression. Not “just” the baby blues or a few months of feeling down and out – I had all out don’t-want-to-live anymore depression for about 5 years.

It is surviving those five years of my life that has been a major contributor to my passion to help others have health and wellness in their lives.

The dictionary defines depression as: A condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.

My personal definition of depression is pain, anguish, torture, agony, grief, melancholy, and suffering, etc. which overshadows the life of an individual who has every reason to feel otherwise. Depression is the sponge that robs life of its joy and satisfaction while wreaking havoc with relationships, families, and the life of the depressed individual.

Most people think that depression is a mental illness – in the medical books that is how it is defined but I can tell you from personal experience that depression affects every area of health: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. I can also tell you that for each of those headline-grabbing stories about those with “mental illnesses” gone haywire, there are millions of depression victims suffering silently who are of no danger to anyone but possibly themselves. Those millions only want to be well again.

My own experience with depression included allopathic (MD’s) treatment and alternative treatment.

My first experience was with MD’s. MD’s sought to mask my symptoms with medications. The egos of the doctors who treated me did not allow me, as the patient, to be a viable participant in my own treatment. Unfortunately, patients with mental illnesses are often judged incapable by health professionals of being able to have clear, coherent thoughts. My doctors may have thought I was “crazy” but even now – these many years later I believe that I knew my body and what my body was experiencing better than anybody and that I should have been considered an essential participant in my treatment. However, the issues I had with allopathic treatment went deeper than that. I have always believed in addressing the source of a problem. Therefore, I wanted to get to the root of what was causing my depression. Getting to the root of a health issue is not something a standard MD does. A standard MD looks at symptoms, makes a diagnosis, and whips out the prescription tablet. For me, masking symptoms was not an adequate solution.

My second experience was with chiropractors. They tested my blood, found that I was suffering from severe adrenal fatigue and that I was in need of other nutritional components. They recommended the appropriate herbal remedies. From there, they worked with me to get to the root of the other physical ailments that I was suffering from – believing that all of the ailments I was suffering from were related. Finally, they encouraged me to do stretching exercises, deep breathing, and to incorporate inspirational books and literature into my life on a daily basis. Their treatment included regular adjustments to make sure that my nervous system (and therefore my entire body) was working as optimally as it could.

Eventually, we were able to find that my depression was directly related to my 24/7 migraines. I had been suffering from migraines for almost 13 years by the time I first received chiropractic treatment. The chiropractors who treated me helped me find the cause of my headaches and then eliminate them. Once my pain levels were significantly reduced – my depression left.

The chiropractic treatment and nutritional therapy that I received was not a “magic pill” and my depression and migraine headaches were not remedied overnight. However, they were eliminated and, for me, finding  and removing the cause was a much better solution than masking symptoms for the rest of my life.

As a former sufferer of depression, I can tell you what depression was and what it wasn’t and what I have since seen in common among those I know who suffer with depression.

Depression, for me, was not a complete withdrawal from life. It was also not a choice. I could not choose to be better just because I wanted to be. Although learning to have a more positive mindset helped – it too was insufficient.  What depression was was the loss of the emotional coordination I had once had. I was no longer able to navigate the normal ups and downs of life with the same tenacity and flexibility I had once possessed. It was not unlike losing muscle control in a hand or a limb but in this case it was my emotional state that lost its coordination and control.

I also can tell you that just like any victim of an accident or illness – my need for love and support did not go away – instead, it became even more important.

There are several components that I believe link themselves to depression:

Inadequate Nutrition – I believe that the absence of adequate nutrition can be a huge contributor to depression. Good whole food supplements are wonderful but a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains is not just important to a healthy body – it is also important to healthy emotions.

  1. Health Issues – Physical health that struggles can and usually will affect emotional health. Again, what we eat is so important and so is exercise. Those endorphins that help us feel better when we do not have depression also help us feel better when we do. Chemical imbalance is a common culprit in depression. (Sometimes chemical imbalances can be caused by prescription drugs.)
  2. Lack of Proper Self-care – How we take care of ourselves and the expectations we place on ourselves is huge. I was personally guilty of too often burning the candlestick at both ends. I see many sufferers of depression who are guilty of the same thing. Our bodies are amazing in their ability to adapt and compensate. For those who push the limits relentlessly there often comes a time when their body decides to give them a warning that they need to slow down and take life a little easier. Depression is often that warning.
  3. Negative Self-talk – We all talk to ourselves. We all have self expectations. It is common for those who suffer from depression to have unrealistic expectations of themselves and to be especially hard on and/or demanding of themselves. We all need to be as kind to ourselves as we are to our best friend or sweetheart. It is important that we love ourselves.
  4. Lack of Spirituality – Spirituality or the ability to look to a higher source of power to assist us in life is incredibly important. When we believe that we can only rely upon ourselves or that it is us against the world – just that thought alone can be depressing. I found that spending time each day with inspirational literature and working to build my personal spirituality helped me immensely.
  5. Lack of Faith – The faith I am talking about here includes faith in ourselves, in our fellow man and in our creator. Believing in ourselves and in our ability to change, to improve and to create a meaningful life is incredibly important. Believing that we can heal and that life can improve is critical.

 I remember once having a conversation with a woman regarding my depression. Frustrated with my inability to function in a healthy and normal way, she accused me of choosing to be depressed. I can tell you that no one “chooses” to be depressed. However, I do believe that our lifestyle choices can greatly influence our propensity for depression. I also believe that our lifestyle and attitude choices greatly influence the type of health we will enjoy and how we will age. It would be wonderful if depression could become a thing of the past. In the meantime, I hope we will all do what we can to minimize its likelihood and to help those who are suffering!

What You Should Know about Whiplash

What You Should Know about Whiplash

Nearly 27% of drivers have been involved in a car crash in the last five years. (I was one of them.) In 2008 there were 208 million licensed drivers in the U.S. Based on these numbers we can estimate that over a five year period about 56,160,000 drivers will be involved in a car accident. That comes out to 11,232,000 accidents a year and over 30,000 a day. In other words…there are a lot of motor vehicle accidents in this country every year!

One of the most common injuries associated with motor vehicle accidents is whiplash. Whiplash is an injury to the neck caused by sudden acceleration-deceleration force. This is usually the result of a stationary vehicle being struck from behind. This causes the torso to thrust forward while the head is thrown back into hyperextension and then whipped forward into a hyper-flexed position. This causes stress and strain on the soft tissues of the neck including muscles, tendons, ligaments and joint capsules. Symptoms of whiplash include, but are not limited to pain, stiffness, headaches, dizziness, tinnitus and weakness.

Many factors account for the severity of whiplash and the resulting symptoms. The severity of the impact and position of the head at impact are major factors in the potential severity of the injury. The health of the individual prior to the accident can make a big difference. A young person in good health will fare better than an older individual with preexisting degenerative changes in the neck. However, regardless of the perceived severity of the accident, all whiplash cases need to be taken seriously no matter how minor it may appear.

In many situations only the symptoms of whiplash are treated. Muscle relaxers, pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications are often prescribed along with adequate rest. Unfortunately, this is often the extent of the treatment.

Because of the damage that occurs in a whiplash injury, degenerative changes may be put into place that may not become obvious for many years after the initial injury. I was fortunate when my accident occurred in that I knew to seek chiropractic help right away. Being married to a chiropractor, I knew the risk factors involved. Another bonus was that I have had lots of interaction with the patients in our office that have been in accidents. Time after time, they have expressed a desire that they wish they would have known how much chiropractic treatment would have helped them when they first had their accident. Many have found that chiropractic treatment helped where medications and physical therapy failed. If you have been in a car accident and suffered a whiplash injury, talk to a chiropractor… you’ll be glad you did!