Back pain is an expensive health problem for both patients and businesses. A 2012 study reported that we spend about $635 billion on pain every year, with a significant amount of that spent on back pain. Over the years, quite a few studies have shown that chiropractic care is more effective for back pain than medical care, plus chiropractic patients spend less money on their care than medical patients do.
Because back pain is such a common problem, a group of Canadian researchers recently investigated the role that the type of primary caregiver has on financial compensation.
This was a large study of 5,511 patients who experienced a work-related back injury in Ontario, Canada. The patients saw the following providers for their first visit:
85.3% saw a medical doctor
11.4% saw a chiropractor
3.2% saw a physical therapist
The authors set out to “compare the duration of financial compensation for back pain” among patients from each care group.
The study found that chiropractic patients had the shortest amount of time receiving compensation for their pain and also were less likely to have a recurrence.
In addition, chiropractic patients didn’t need to see other healthcare providers for their pain. 75% of chiropractic patients saw no other provider, while 58.6% of physical therapy patients also saw a medical doctor.
The authors conclude:
“The type of healthcare provider first visited for back pain is a determinant of the duration of financial compensation during the first 5 months. Chiropractic patients experience the shortest duration of compensation, and physiotherapy patients experience the longest.”
Blanchette M, Rivard M, Dionne CE, et al. Association between the type of first healthcare provider and the duration of financial compensation for occupational back pain. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 2016 Sep 17.
Today’s article was written by Michael Melton and is shared from the following website: https://www.chironexus.net/2016/09/chiropractic-patients-recover-faster-spend-less-money/
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!
Crash test dummies. You probably don’t think about them very much (if at all), but you may owe them much more than you realize when it comes to your health and safety on the nation’s roads. Automobile makers use crash test dummies—that is, inanimate, human-like mannequins—to simulate the type and scale of injury that may occur in an automobile accident. Car and truck manufacturers go to great lengths to design and build safe vehicles, and these “full-scale anthropomorphic test devices” or “ADTs” take a real beating day after day as they provide data regarding velocity of impact, crushing force, bending, folding, or torque of the body, as well as deceleration rates during test collisions.
U.S., car accidents kill more than 30,000 people each year and injure many more. However, manufacturers work continually to make cars safer and accidents more survivable through crash-testing programs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 1994 to 2009, the fatality rate decreased from 23 to 16 fatalities per 100,000 licensed drivers. Crash test dummies have played an important part in that achievement as a result of their role in car testing and design. They’ve also played an important part in reducing the severity of auto accident injuries.
In order to survive a car accident and walk away with minimal injuries, drivers and passengers must be able to withstand the changes in kinetic energy that occur when bodies in motion suddenly come to a stop or when bodies at rest are suddenly accelerated. A car’s safety features, including seat belts and air bags, are made to help mitigate the damage that these abrupt changes can cause to the human body. Crash test dummies allow safety engineers to identify how the changes in kinetic energy caused by car crashes affect the human body and its musculoskeletal system. Researchers use this data to identify areas where changes could improve a car’s safety rating. Additionally, the data is useful to gauge the effectiveness of these improvements once they have been made.
Anthropomorphic test devices, or ATDs, have become enormously sophisticated since the first crash test dummy was created. Dubbed Sierra Sam, the first ATD was made in 1949 to test how ejection seats in aircraft affected people. Today’s crash test dummies are designed to simulate human anatomy in great detail, and to respond as the human body would respond to the forces and impacts generated by auto accidents. Using a wide variety of advanced materials and sensor technologies, they can tell a researcher what types of injuries would likely have been sustained by vehicle occupants in a crash—anything from surface skin abrasions and contusions to soft tissue damage, broken bones and life-threatening internal injuries.
Combined with sensors in the test car itself and an array of slow-motion video cameras, ATDs have helped designers and engineers understand better than ever before exactly what happens in different kinds of accidents so that they can protect vehicle drivers and passengers. And there’s no doubt they’re very valuable members of the safety team—they can cost anywhere from $100,000 to $400,000!
ATDs are built in a variety of shapes and sizes to mimic human differences. However, they’re also used in ways that allow carefully controlled testing from crash scenario to crash scenario and from vehicle to vehicle. Before each test, engineers paint different parts of the crash test dummy’s body with different colors, allowing them to identify how each part of the body impacts parts of the vehicle’s interior.
Car accidents can be particularly hard on the musculoskeletal system—injuries to the back, neck, and extremities are common. Unfortunately, many of these injuries may go undetected immediately after a collision, when adrenalin is flowing and participants are generally eager to leave the scene and move on with their lives. Symptoms may appear days, weeks or even months afterward. Plus the injuries sustained in a car crash may cause a host of ongoing health complications, such as recurring headaches, neck stiffness, TMJ, dizziness and chronic back pain as well as reduced mobility.
Chiropractic physicians are specially trained to diagnose and treat the types of musculoskeletal injuries that many people suffer as a result of care accidents. If you or someone you care about has been involved in a car accident, it’s very important that they receive a prompt medical evaluation from a qualitied healthcare professional—even if they feel fine or are only experiencing minor symptoms. Detecting injuries as soon as possible often allows auto accident victims to recover more quickly and more completely, with less pain and less disability.
Although you may have heard the term before, you may not know exactly what a “shin splint” is. It’s a common term for painful inflammation at the front of the tibia caused by strenuous activity. Medical professionals refer to it as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS). The following exercises will not only help to prevent shin splints or MTSS, but the first two exercises can also help relieve some of the agony for those who are already suffering from the syndrome. If you already have shin splints, use care and restraint in performing these exercises.
Spread Toe Elevation – Stand with your heels together, toes pointed outward and rise slowly on your toes. Hold for a few moments and then lower your heels slowly to the floor. Perform ten times.
Tuck Toe Elevation – Start with your big toes together, heels spread apart, and rise slowly on your toes. Hold for a few moments and then lower your heels slowly to the floor. Perform ten times.
Edge of Oblivion – Don’t let the name scare you. By using this exercise, you can prevent future shin splints, sending them into oblivion! However, this might not be the best way to heal shin splints if you already have them. If that’s the situation you’re in, we’d suggest that you use the other two exercises instead.
1. Find a sturdy step stool, stair or curb.
2. Face downstairs or away from the stool or curb. Move your feet forward until only your heel is on the edge and most of your foot is dangling over empty air. For balance, hold onto the stair railing or maneuver your stool next to a wall.
3. Start with legs straight and point your toes downward as far as they will go (without going so far as to slide off the step).
4. Lift your toes as far as they will go.
5. Repeat as rapidly as you can.
6. Using a timer or watch, perform this exercise for a full 30 seconds. Make certain that you extend and flex fully each time.
7. When done, bend your knees at a 45-degree angle and repeat 30 seconds of extensions and flexions. When done, you have completed one full set.
8. Rest one to two minutes between sets and repeat until you’ve done three of these two-part sets.
If after the first set, you feel a burning sensation in your lower legs, then you’re likely doing it the right way. If at any point you feel damage is being done, discontinue the exercise.
With track season just around the corner, be sure to share this information with all your track star friends!
Watching a dancer put her leg to her nose is an impressive sight, and many of us can perform similar feats when we’re children. But we begin to lose flexibility as we age if we do not make a conscious effort to remain limber. Inactivity causes muscles to shorten and stiffen, and muscle mass is lost with increasing years as well. However, maintaining flexibility as we get older is of great importance, since it allows us to retain our mobility and reduces the likelihood of aches, sprains and falls as we age.
Optimal flexibility means the ability of each of your joints to move fully through their natural range of motion. Simple activities such as walking or bending over to tie your shoes can become major difficulties if your flexibility is limited. Unfortunately, sitting for hours at a desk, as so many are forced to do on a daily basis, eventually leads to a reduction in flexibility as the muscles shorten and tighten.
There are a number of different tests used to measure flexibility, but the one test that has been used as a standard for years is the sit and reach test. It measures the flexibility of your hamstrings and lower back. The simple home version of the test requires only a step (or a small box) and a ruler.
Before the test, warm up for about 10 minutes with some light aerobic activity and do a few stretches. Then place the ruler on the step, letting the end of it extend out a few inches over your toes, and note where the edge of the step comes to on the ruler. Sit on the floor with your feet extended in front of you, flat against the bottom step (or box). With your arms extended straight out in front of you and one hand on top of the other, gradually bend forward from the hips, keeping your back straight. (Rounding the back will give you a false result). Measure where your fingertips come to on the ruler. They should ideally be able to reach at least as far as the front of the step. Any measurement past the edge of the step is a bonus. No matter how far you can reach on the first measurement, do the test periodically and try to improve your score every few weeks.
If you find that you are less flexible than you should be, some regular stretching exercises combined with visits to your chiropractor can help to restore flexibility and improve range of motion, helping to ensure that you remain limber into older age.
How Chiropractic Care Has Helped Me: Introducing Jeff Gordon
To any NASCAR fan, Jeff Gordon is a household name. His list of accomplishments on the track is impressive by almost any measure:
After winning 3 races, Gordon joined Hendrick Motorsports in 1993 as part of the Sprint Cup Series in NASCAR.
In 1998, Gordon was named to NASCAR’s “50 Greatest Drivers” list.
In 2008, ESPN’s Terry Blount put him at #10 in a list of 25 all-time greats, and Fox Sports ranked him as #5 on its list of all-time best NASCAR drivers.
In 2009, Gordon became the first-ever NASCAR driver to achieve career winnings of $100 million.
After winning the Daytona 500 three times (1997, 1999 and 2005), and the Sprint Cup Series four times (1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001), Gordon had become a universally-recognized superstar in the sport. But things changed in 2008.
From 2008 to 2009, Jeff Gordon suffered from chronic back pain. An MRI performed half way through the 2009 season revealed what looked like an arthritic condition. He went through rigorous treatments that included physical therapy, stretching exercises and chiropractic treatments. Gordon noted that “there have been times, especially last year, but even this year, when I’ve been thinking about my back when I should be thinking about the car.”
All race car drivers experience tremendous G-forces on the track. This can wear on the health of the spine and create problems if not regularly treated. The pain experienced by drivers can be quite distracting and could shorten their careers if the distraction becomes too great to allow safe driving. NASCAR has a strictly-enforced drug policy that prohibits the use of pain medications that might otherwise alleviate some of the discomfort.
That’s what makes chiropractic such a perfect fit. Its therapies are non-invasive and drug-free. New York-area chiropractor, Dr. David Levine, DC, has discovered techniques that are particularly effective for the injuries suffered by athletes.
“The technique,” said Dr. Levine, “basically involves examining the patient and searching for muscle spasm, areas of pain and tenderness, restriction of motion, and inflammation. Once the treatment is completed, usually within 30 minutes, the patient will often begin to quickly notice relief.”
Jeff Gordon isn’t the only star athlete Dr. Levine has helped. His website contains testimonials from the NY Jets’ former All-Pro Linebacker Lance Mehl and numerous other NFL and NBA players. Dr. Levine’s specialized pain management chiropractic techniques currently have a 90% success rate helping athletes and injured soldiers overcome their debilitating pain.
“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.”
Professional football teams recognize the value that having regular chiropractic care affords their players. All of the 32 teams in the National Football League (NFL) use the services of a chiropractor for treating and preventing injuries to team members.
Dr. Spencer H. Baron, a team chiropractor for the Miami Dolphins and past president of the Professional Football Chiropractic Society, said, “The robust need for chiropractic care in the NFL has been deeply driven by the players’ desire for peak physical conditioning and not simply for injuries. From the earliest years of full contact football, their bodies are subject to structural stress that doctors of chiropractic are specially trained to care for. Many DCs who provide their services to professional athletes travel with their respective teams throughout the season, treating players up until game time, during the game and sometimes immediately following.”
A number of professional football players are staunch advocates for chiropractic care and the ability it gives them to perform at their peak.
Emmitt Smith, a former NFL player for the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals and NFL all-time record holder for rushing, dealt with a lot of hamstring problems during a tough season in 1994. He related how he had some difficult questions to answer: “’Do I need to get more rest? Do I need to eat better? Do I need a little more training? How can I take care of my body better? Do I need to find a Chiropractor?’ It was time for me to invest in me.” Smith added, “I found a specialist that’s really good in balancing out my body to make sure my hips are rotated right, and my body is functioning properly.”
Smith continued, “I remember somebody telling me that what I put myself in during the games is like having a car wreck every Sunday. It’s against the norm. You can find yourself in awkward positions. That stuff takes its toll. But if you take advantage of the health care, balance your body back out, put it back where it’s supposed to be, you function better, and you recover faster.” He said about chiropractic, “You can have a Ferrari body, but your wheels need balancing. I felt if I took care of my body, I could still function when I got older.”
Chiropractic apparently served Smith well in helping him maintain function and flexibility, because after his retirement in 2004 he went on to win the third season of Dancing With the Stars, teamed with professional dancer Cheryl Burke.
Other professional footballers have expressed their appreciation for chiropractic care as well. Joe Montana, who possesses three Super Bowl MVPs and was named Player of the Year in 1990, was so appreciative of chiropractic that he agreed to become the spokesperson for chiropractic in the state of California, saying “Chiropractic has been a big part of my game. Chiropractic care works for me.”
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lance Moore is another chiropractic devotee. He said, “Not only did my chiropractor get me back on the field, but he helped me to stay on the field. My body just feels much better overall because of the care I’ve gotten.”
Three-time Super Bowl champion Jerry Rice, a former wide receiver with the San Francisco 49ers said, “I believe in chiropractic, and I know that it works. You probably know about my long and successful career in football. I’m flattered by the testimonials to my durability. Football is a very rough and vigorous sport. Chiropractic was the key to keeping me in the game.”
Auto Accident Folklore—Being Thrown Clear and Bracing for Impact
You have no doubt overheard someone at work or at a party telling his friends that he never wears a seat belt-and that he has some really good reasons. The story usually goes something like this: He heard from a buddy he knows that a friend of a friend who was not wearing a seat belt had a bad car accident and walked away from it because he was thrown clear of the car. This is one of the most pervasive car safety myths out there. And if you believe this myth, you could be setting yourself up for serious injury or death.
Although there are a small handful of cases in which someone has survived a car accident after being thrown from the car, this is a very rare occurrence. In fact, you actually have a 25 percent greater chance of being killed if thrown from the car. Just consider the physics of the situation. The force applied to your body when a collision occurs can be strong enough to propel you 150 feet, which is equivalent to about 15 car lengths. And you would not just be flying gracefully through the air either. First, your body may go crashing through the windshield, it may scrape along the rough asphalt for yards, and then you could end up getting crushed by your own car or someone else’s. This is not to mention the other objects you may be hurled into when flung from the car. Statistics from a study performed by researchers at James Madison University show that the proper use of a seat belt reduces serious injuries from traffic accidents by 50 percent and fatalities by 60 to 70 percent. It’s a simple thing that can protect your health and save your life-wear seat belts.
Another common myth is that bracing for impact causes more damage to your body, and that it’s best to remain relaxed. Of course, actually having the ability to choose one way or another about bracing has a lot to do with how much time you have before impact. Many accidents occur in the blink of an eye, so suggesting that someone should “stay relaxed” has really limited practical value. However, the most current science indicates that if you have time, bracing for impact will likely reduce the amount of injury, particularly to tendons and ligaments.
One of the most common types of injury from an auto accident is whiplash, which occurs in about a third of all collisions. If you see a car approaching in your rear view mirror that you believe is going to collide with yours, the best thing to do is to press your body against the seatback, with your head pressed firmly against the head rest. This way you are less likely to suffer injuries to the ligaments in your neck, as your head will not be slammed back against the head rest, then flung forward.
Auto accidents are never pleasant, but by knowing the facts about auto safety you can help reduce your chances of sustaining a serious injury. If you do end up in an accident, it’s always a good idea to get a medical evaluation promptly, even if you think you haven’t suffered any significant injuries. Many auto injuries take time for their symptoms to become apparent or significant enough for victims to recognize how badly they may have been hurt. By the time the symptoms are obvious, the victim and his or her doctor may have lost a valuable opportunity to treat the underlying injuries. Please call or visit the office if you or someone in your family has recently been involved in an auto accident.