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Got Neck Pain? Upper Back Adjustments Can Help!

Got Neck Pain? Upper Back Adjustments Can Help!

Almost everyone experiences neck pain from time to time during their lives. Doctors estimate that on any given day, 10% of the adult population is suffering from a “stiff neck.” However, it’s a different story when that neck pain persists and becomes chronic. Chronic neck pain can result in both physical and emotional distress. Employment statistics suggest that neck pain is second only to back pain as a cause of missed work, affecting as much as 45% of the workforce.

If you have experienced chronic neck pain yourself, you may know that traditional medical doctors offer relatively few treatment options. You may also know that most of these options are intended only to manage the pain, not to address the underlying cause. However, recent research published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeuticsis hopeful, suggesting that chiropractic spinal manipulation significantly improves patients’ neck pain in a short amount of time.

In the study, 60 patients with chronic non-specific neck pain received spinal manipulation delivered by chiropractors in a double-blind, randomized trial. Two groups of 30 patients were created, and two different techniques of spinal manipulation were employed to adjust the thoracic vertebrae in the upper back. One technique had the patient lying prone (face down), and the other had the patient supine (face up). Measurements were taken before manipulation, immediately afterwards, and twenty minutes later. Little or no difference was found in the relative effectiveness of the two techniques, but both groups reported significantly reduced neck pain, while objective measurements showed significantly improved mobility (cervical range of motion) and a reduced sensitivity to pressure pain.

This study‘s findings correspond with an earlier study that compared the effectiveness of manual therapies provided by a chiropractor, a medical doctor, and a physical therapist to relieve neck pain. In that study, the success rate of the chiropractic groups at the seven-week mark was two times better (68.3%) than the other two groups. Patients in the study were able to use far less medication to treat their pain and reported far fewer work absences.

The recent findings also correspond to a survey of alternative health care treatments conducted by Consumer Reports, polling 45,601 of their subscribers. One in four respondents felt that they received better care from their chiropractors than from their medical doctors. More importantly, in this survey, chiropractic care outperformed all other treatments for both back pain (65% reporting that it “helped a lot”) and neck pain (64% similarly reporting that it “helped a lot”). In contrast, the respondents reported that prescription medications only helped 49% of the time.

It is gratifying to see that science is confirming what chiropractors and their patients have known for some time—that chiropractic spinal manipulation may be the most effective method for treating chronic neck pain. Whether your neck pain is acute or chronic, perhaps you should put your chiropractor at the top of the list of medical specialists to consult. Chiropractic care is safe, gentle, and—above all—it works.

If you are experiencing chronic neck pain, be sure to call Oblander Chiropractic and schedule an appointment with Dr. Greg Oblander! Our phone number is 406-652-3553.

How Do Chiropractors Know If Your Spine is Out of Alignment?

How Do Chiropractors Know If Your Spine is Out of Alignment?

Views of the spine
Human Spine

Having a misaligned spine (also called a spinal subluxation) can negatively affect your daily life in a number of ways.  It can not only cause pain in the back and neck, but can also cause pain in the rest of the body because of the pressure that the misaligned vertebrae place on nerves in the spinal column.  For example, many people suffer from sciatica (a condition in which pain can be felt shooting down the leg as far as the foot) due to a misaligned vertebral disc putting pressure on the spinal nerve roots.  A chiropractor can diagnose if your pain is due to your spine being misaligned and can perform a spinal adjustment to restore proper alignment and range of movement, relieving pain.

Spinal subluxations are very common.  They occur when one or more of your 24 bony vertebrae (most people actually have 33 vertebrae counting the nine that are fused to form the sacrum and coccyx) are pulled out of alignment with one another.  This can happen for a variety of reasons.  Among the most frequent contributors to spinal misalignment are an injury, a sudden jar, fall or trauma, bad posture, stress, inactivity, obesity, repetitive motions and lifting something improperly.  When your spine becomes misaligned, your range of motion can become more restricted, with or without accompanying pain.  Although spinal misalignments can happen quickly (usually in the case of an accident or acute injury), they can also occur over time due to weak postural muscles. This is often the case with those who sit at a desk for hours each day.

A chiropractor may use a variety of different diagnostic techniques to determine if your spine is out of alignment.  Most chiropractors can easily spot a subluxation, as body posture reflects any misalignment.  For example, when lying down, one leg will appear shorter than the other.  When standing up, the body may lean to one side, or the head may tilt to the left or right.  Also, one shoulder or hip may appear higher than the other, and the distribution of body weight may favor one foot or the other.

Other things that your chiropractor may do to determine if your spine is out of alignment are to check your range of motion (reduced range of motion usually indicates a misalignment), press along your spine (called palpation) to evaluate joint function, perform strength testing and look for changes in muscle tone.  He or she may also order x-rays of the spine to be taken, so as to have a visual confirmation of your spinal subluxation.

Once the misalignment has been pinpointed, your chiropractor will perform a spinal adjustment that will move your vertebrae back into alignment, restoring correct posture and alleviating pain that may have been caused by the misalignment.

Chiropractic for Chronic Back Pain

Chiropractic for Chronic Back Pain

back-pain-office-200-300About a third of the millions of people who make appointments with chiropractors every year seek relief from back pain. Back pain can be acute, meaning it happens suddenly, lasts 6 weeks or less and often clears up on its own; or back pain can be chronic, meaning it comes on gradually and lasts 3 months or more. Chronic back pain can be particularly debilitating and can limit movement and mobility.

Traditional treatments for back pain include medication, physical therapy, surgery or steroid injections. While these treatments may provide symptomatic relief, they do not address the root cause of the pain. They can also be painful and expensive to carry out.

The foundation of chiropractic care for chronic back pain is the understanding that misaligned vertebrae can cause the pain. This misalignment can result in many additional problems, such as headaches, body pains and impaired joint mobility. Chiropractic treatment aims to restore alignment to the vertebrae, returning natural health to the spine and all the body parts the spinal nerves serve.

Chiropractors believe in the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Chiropractic care avoids medications and their possible side effects, and it also avoids surgery. As an example of the differences in treatment, surgeons may remove a herniated disk from the spine in order to relieve pressure on the nerves, while chiropractors use non-invasive spinal manipulation to achieve the same result.

Dr. Oblander can treat your chronic pain based on the vertebral misalignments found in your body. A quick, sudden force is applied to the appropriate vertebrae in order to restore the motion of the joint. Another common treatment for chronic pain is known as the flexion-distraction technique. This treatment involves a special table that stretches the spine. It is particularly effective in treating injuries to the discs that have been the cause of long-term back pain.

Chronic back pain will probably also require additional treatments such as massage, exercise, and perhaps physical therapy. A good chiropractor will work with other health professionals as needed to ensure you get the best possible treatment for your pain. He or she will also look at the entire picture of your life, including your diet, health habits, medical history, family history, and other conditions you may have. This approach is holistic and has a better chance of eliminating the root cause of your chronic back pain than traditional treatments that only work on the symptoms.

Every body is different. If you have questions about this article or whether chiropractic is an appropriate choice for your specific situation, please ask. We are here to help those in the greater Billings area!


Which Chiropractic Technique is Most Effective? Why the Answer is “It Depends.”

Which Chiropractic Technique is Most Effective? Why the Answer is “It Depends.”

woman-with-question-listening-200-300When patients come to us for chiropractic care, it’s not unusual for them to ask us which chiropractic technique is most effective. This is especially true if they have prior experience with chiropractic care or if they have friends or family who do. The patients who ask this question are often surprised when we respond with “It depends.”

The simple truth is that the human body is a complex machine, and no single approach will produce the same results for every individual or in every set of circumstances. Rather, your chiropractor must take several factors into consideration to find the best treatment options for you.

What Factors do Chiropractors Consider When Choosing a Treatment?

When you first visit a chiropractor, you will go through a “new patient” or “patient intake” process that is not dissimilar to what you may experience in other medical settings. This process allows your chiropractor to gather information about your general health and the extent of your discomfort or injury, two factors that help inform his or her treatment recommendations. During this process, you should expect to fill out a questionnaire about your health history as well as undergo a routine physical exam. Depending on the situation, your chiropractor may also use a variety of diagnostic tools, including advanced imaging technologies that can help identify structural problems in your back.

When deciding which treatment would be most effective for you, your chiropractor will also take your goals and lifestyle into consideration. You may come to see your chiropractor with a very clear goal in mind: perhaps you are experiencing back pain due to an accident and you are hoping for relief. In this case, your chiropractor might recommend some form of soft tissue mobilization and low level laser therapy (LLLT) to relieve pain, reduce inflammation and speed healing. Alternatively, you may not have a single health problem you wish to address. Perhaps you’re more interested in improving your lifestyle and general well-being. Your chiropractor can work with you to build a strategy to help you meet your goals, perhaps focusing on nutrition, exercise and stress management techniques.

Finally, the most effective chiropractic treatment depends—at least in part—on your own experience and personal preferences. A technique that works well for one patient may not be tolerated well by another. Therefore, it is important to communicate openly with your chiropractor about how each technique feels to you. If you find a certain style of adjustment to be too intense, there may be gentler, low-force techniques that can achieve the same effect while keeping you more comfortable.

Taking Advantage of Many Techniques

Another reason we can’t provide a simple answer to the question “Which chiropractic technique is most effective?” is because it is very often necessary to make use of more than one technique to reach a patient’s goals. Your chiropractor will work with you to find both manual and non-manual therapies to help relieve your immediate pain and discomfort while also improving your function. You might find that dietary changes, exercise, or orthotic supports are all helpful in helping you reach your own goals, making them irreplaceable components of a well-rounded chiropractic treatment plan.

There simply is no one chiropractic technique that is most effective. Instead, the most efficient and reliable path to an effective treatment plan is good communication with your chiropractor. By being clear about your own goals and preferences, honest about your lifestyle choices, and open to your chiropractor’s recommendations, you can help us build a treatment plan that is most likely to deliver the results you want to achieve.

How Does Chiropractic Work?

How Does Chiropractic Work?


I find it interesting when I hear people ask if subluxations can really affect a person’s health. Sometimes I have to bite my tongue because to me it seems so obvious. After all, when a spinal cord is severed….is the ability of the individual with that spinal cord still able to move and function like it did previous to the injury? I obtained the following information from

If the spinal cord is damaged, additional complications from paraplegia or quadriplegia include pneumonia, recurring urinary infections, decubitus ulcers, nephrolithiasis, and osteoporosis.

Think about it! If an individual receives injury to their spine in the neck area – why would urinary infections, etc be affected? Because the spine is home to the body’s nervous system and impairment to ANY area of the nervous system has the ability to affect any area of the body that that nervous system supplies information to.

Millions of instructions flow from your brain, down the spinal cord, and out to every organ and tissue. Signals sent back to the brain confirm whether your body is working as it should. Improper motion or position of the moving bones of the spine may interfere with this vital exchange by irritating nearby nerves and the tissues they control.

Nerve interferences are most common along the spine.  Chiropractic adjustments (manipulation) are designed to help correct or reduce those interferences. Research confirms that interferences to the nervous system change the way the body functions. Therefore, when interferences are allowed to continue without correction – health issues can develop over time which might have otherwise been avoided if they had been corrected with timely chiropractic adjustments.

Since it is possible to have subluxations and not know it (like the early stages of tooth decay or even cancer) chiropractors believe it is a good idea to be checked regularly for subluxations and to have those subluxations corrected.

Chiropractors are trained to find the subluxations you are experiencing. They then can use various adjusting methods to correct the subluxations. Some doctors only use one method – I personally like to be treated by a chiropractor with more than one tool (adjusting method) in his doctor’s bag. Here, at Oblander Chiropractic, I love that Dr. Oblander uses a variety of adjusting techniques which is often determined by both the desires of the patient and what is seen by Dr. Oblander as the best way to correct the subluxations.

Chiropractic is a science, art and philosophy. It’s a scientific fact that your brain and nervous system control every cell, tissue and organ of your body.

Chiropractic works by reducing or eliminating subluxations (interferences). The methods employed by chiropractic work because the body is a self-healing organism that is controlled and regulated by your nervous system. Utilizing adjustments to remove interferences the nervous system is experiencing is like taking a 1930’s home electrical system and replacing it with a state of the art electrical system. The shorts and faulty wiring from the old system are remedied and “whole” home (body) runs better, is more solid! A healthy nervous system is key to optimum health!

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