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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.

Top 5 Ways to Warm-Up Before a Golf Game

Top 5 Ways to Warm-Up Before a Golf Game

danger-golf
danger-golf

If you don’t know better, golf can seem like a laid-back sport that carries little risk of physical injury other than being hit by a stray ball or having a foot run over by a speeding golf cart. But the truth is that a correct golf swing requires a great deal of balance, flexibility and core strength and that it can place a great deal of strain on the golfer’s back.

Unfortunately, many golfers don’t recognize the importance of warming up before teeing off until it’s too late. With more men and women playing golf than ever before, the incidence of golf-related back pain is also growing. Frequent play can aggravate chronic or intermittent low back pain that, in turn, can interfere with your ability to play golf. However, warming up before you play can go a long way to stop the cycle of golf and back pain. Not only can it keep you on the course, it can also improve the quality of your game.

Focus on Stretching and Taking Practice Swings

  • Trunk rotations allow you to warm-up the torso by mimicking the motion you will use to swing your club. Place a golf club across the back of your shoulders and slowly twist from left to right to stretch the torso and the shoulders. The lower body should remain stable with the movement taking place in the torso.
  • Stretch quadriceps by standing with a chair or bench behind you with your arms crossed over your chest. Bend your knee so that one foot is resting on the seat of the chair or bench. Squeeze your buttocks muscles to cause a contraction of the quadriceps (muscles in the front of the thigh). Follow the motions of your golf swing. Repeat on the other side.
  • Stretch your back by standing behind the back of a chair with your feet apart. Hold the back of the chair while keeping the back straight. Still holding the chair, drop your body down and pull it away from the chair to create a stretch near the armpits.
  • Sitting on a bench or chair, place the ankle from one leg on top of the thigh of the other leg. Use your forearm to push down on the bent leg. Lean forward to create a gentle stretch in your hip. Repeat on the other side.
  • Woodchops are a good golf warm-up because they reach the abs, legs and back. To perform these, stand holding a golf club straight up and down, perpendicular to the ground. Raise the club slowly over the head while holding your arms straight. Keep back slightly arched to stretch the chest. Next, bring the club down and between your knees while you go into a squatting position. Maintain a flat back and hold abs in throughout the stretch. Move slowly enough that it takes 30 seconds to complete the entire stretch.

Good Swing Mechanics For a Healthy Back and a Healthy Back for Good Swing Mechanics

It really does work both ways. Golf-related back pain is often the result of muscle sprains or strains that can be prevented with appropriate preparation and warm-ups. But poor swing mechanics will also take their toll over time—even for golfers who are relatively young and fit. Swings that are off-balance or that rely on the wrong muscle groups to generate power put players’ backs at risk. The reverse is also true—players who are nursing back injuries (and other types of injuries, for that matter) frequently compensate for them by making changes in their golf swing that hurt their performance and that may increase the risk of additional injuries.

Golfers of all skill levels can benefit from regular chiropractic care. Many chiropractic physicians have specialized training in biomechanics and some have made a particular study of golf performance and golf-related injuries. If you’re a golfer who’s interested in getting or staying healthy and improving your game, call or visit our office today!

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.

Why Do Infants and Children Need Chiropractic Treatment?

Why Do Infants and Children Need Chiropractic Treatment?

There are several events in my life that I wish I had done a better job of recording or saving for posterity. One such event that continues to stand out in my mind is my granddaughter’s runny nose. You may think that sounds funny but there is a reason that I wish I had done a better job of recording her runny nose.

You see…when this granddaughter was  infant and toddler aged she had a runny nose that literally made my granddaughter a proverbial “snot nosed kid”. Excuse the grossness but the snot at times literally bubbled out of her nose.  When she fell asleep – the congestion caused her to sound like a little old man. Keeping the snot wiped away from her nose could have employed a person full time.

Unfortunately, we did not live close to this sweet little girl when she was experiencing these problems. Trips to the doctor confirmed that she was not experiencing any allergies. However, I can tell you what made all the difference in the world was chiropractic adjustments. The few times that my husband was able to adjust her was like watching a miracle in action.

We would let her fall asleep (we knew she was sound asleep as soon as she started sounding like a little old man snoring) and then my husband would adjust her. It was something like this to start with….kkkkkzzzzzzugh…kkkkzzzzzzugh (you know the kind of horrible snoring sounds that make you think you need to wake the person so they can actually get some air into their lungs)…then the sound changed to…uuuuuzh….uuuuuzh (snoring but only ever so slightly)….then to deep full breathing without any snoring or obstruction. The whole transformation taking only a couple of minutes.

Yup…if I had been smart enough to record her breathing transformation – it could have been a YouTube hit video just because of how amazing the transformation was.

When infants are born…standard birthing procedures almost always guarantee that the infant’s head will be twisted to help move the shoulders out of the birthing canal. 80% of infants checked during the first few months of life had subluxations directly related to birth trauma. The most common ailment caused by the birthing process is infant colic – which not surprisingly is very successfully treated in almost all  circumstances by chiropractic adjustments.

We had another granddaughter that initially experienced colic related to the birthing process. Not only was she fussy…she hurled a large portion of her mother’s milk consistently after nursing. After just two chiropractic adjustments, her colic and hurling tendencies were vanished.

The birthing process and then all of the regular experiences of childhood make infants and children ideal candidates for chiropractic treatment. The whole process of learning to move, crawl, walk and run – with all of the bumps and bangs and falls that come with their learning progression are a big reason why.

Chiropractic adjustments in children can remedy colic, allergies, bed wetting, ear infections, sinus problems, ADD/ADHD, and scoliosis just to name a few.

By the way, if you have a child that has a nose congestion issue like my granddaughter had and you can bring her to our office, give our office a call – I would love to video tape the difference that an adjustment will make! Yours in Health!

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