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aligning your ENVISION YOUR dental spine scaredy&cat!


disability awareness!


mary drueke-collins


are finally here! We are all excited for the longer days, brighter sunshine and blossoming trees. Most of us don’t think about our finances when we are enjoying the spring weather. So you probably don’t know May is Disability Insurance Awareness month! This is actually a great time to think about what would happen if you were ever disabled and how to protect you and your family from the financial risk of being unable to work. Most of us don’t like to think about becoming disabled and even more of us think that it will never happen to us. If you take a good look at the statistics on disability, you just might be surprised. These following statistics come from the ‘chances of disability’ section of The Council for Disability Awareness website ( Just over 25% of today’s 20 year olds will become disabled at some point in their life before they retire. Consider the disability probability for these average individuals: • Sally is an average 35 years old office worker, 5’4”, 125 pounds. Sally leads a healthy lifestyle, but still has the following risks: a 24% chance of being disabled for three months or longer during her working career; and a 38% chance that her disability will last five years or longer. The average disability for someone like Sally lasts 82 months. If Sally were to use tobacco and weighed 160 pounds, her risk of disability would increase to a 41% chance of being disabled for three months or more. • Joe is also an average 35 years old office worker, 5’10”, 170 pounds. Joe also leads a healthy lifestyle, and has the following risks: a 21% chance of being disabled for three months or longer during his working career; and a 38% chance that his disability will last five years or longer. The average disability for someone like Joe lasts 82 months. If Joe were to use tobacco and weighed 210 pounds, his risk of disability would increase to a 45% chance of being disabled for three months or more.


stephanie vondrak d.d.s.

“STAND UP STRAIGHT!” “And pay attention!” This phrase is universal among moms, teachers, and coaches especially those dealing with the “know it all” teen. But what does “stand up straight” really mean? Have you ever stopped to think about the significance of good posture and your overall health or the relationship between good posture, healthy jaw joints and relaxed facial muscles? According to American Physical Therapy Association, “Good posture, when standing, is the vertical alignment of your body from the top of your head, through your body’s center, to the bottom of your feet.” Good posture allows for an even distribution of pressure and weight for healthy joints, muscles and bones. Poor posture, on the other hand, distorts your body’s natural alignment including the natural curves in your spine. These distortions cause unnecessary pressure on your muscles and ligaments including your jaw, resulting in pain referred to as TMJ pain or Temporomandiublar Joint Disorder. As a dentist credentialed by the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, I have seen, firsthand, the link between forward head posture (slouching shoulders forward) and Temporomandiublar Joint Disorder symptoms such as headaches, sore shoulders, TMJ pain, facial muscle fatigue, ear pain etc.… Why? When your head and shoulders are hunched forward, the muscles of your neck and shoulders strain. This stress then travels upward settling in the TMJ joints, ears and/or surrounding muscles. Take a look at the graphic below that demonstrates the weight of the head on the spine as the shoulders and head hunch forward.

If you were to become disabled and not able to earn an income, do you have enough savings to survive financially? Expert recommendations tell us that we should have at least six months’ income in savings in case of emergency. The fact is that most people could not sustain their lifestyle for even a month if they lost their income. The effect of one long-term disability occurrence can wipe out a family’s assets. Disability income insurance is designed to help. Disability insurance essentially insures your income, paying you a portion of your salary when you are unable to work due to an injury or illness. The length of time the disability insurance pays and the amount of your income it replaces depends upon the policy you purchase. Some policies provide flexibility in the percentage of your income it replaces and for how long. Disability insurance comes in two forms: short-term and long-term. Generally, short-term disability insurance pays benefits for 90 to 180 days. Long-term disability typically begins to pay benefits after the short-term policy ends and most policies pay for as long as you cannot work, until you reach Social Security retirement age. The cost of disability affects more than the individual and their family. A valuable employee would be difficult to replace if he or she developed a serious illness or experienced an accident. If the option is available, most employees would also rather return to their former jobs than try to find new employment after a period of disability. Because of this, many employers provide disability insurance to their employees, or at least the option to purchase the coverage. Individual policies are available if you are self-employed. Chances are that you won’t need to rely on disability coverage. But luck can turn against you, and the cost of losing is high. Before you take some time to smell the spring flowers, make sure you protect your most valuable asset: your ability to earn a living.

Interestingly the trend of forward head posture, TMJ pain and associated headaches continues to rise. As a society, we seem intent on hunching forward. We look down at our cell phones continuously throughout the day to text, email and check our Facebook feeds. Likewise, many of us work long hours at our computers without consideration of proper ergonomics.

For more information, please contact your trusted advisor at Swartzbaugh-Farber – ‘Client Centered – Client Advocates™’. This material is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney, tax advisor or plan provider. Securities Offered through M Holdings Securities, Inc., a Registered Broker Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Swartzbaugh-Farber & Associates, Inc. is independently owned and operated.

For more information on TMJ pain, splint therapy or our comprehensive treatment: or (402) 289-2313 *Look for our ad in this issue of mQUARTERLY

Given these findings, my best advice is to choose to “protect your posture.” By understanding spinal alignment, you can work to strengthen your core and “stand up straight.” If you are already experiencing pain associated with TMJ disorder and posture problems, proper diagnosis and treatment planning is essential. In my office, a comprehensive treatment of corrective splint therapy (mouth splint) and on-site physical therapy including ultrasound and spray and stretch is highly effective in eliminating pain and restoring health.

Dr. Stephanie Vondrak is board certified by the American Academy of Craniofacial Dental Sleep Medicine to treat patients suffering from Sleep Apnea with sleep apnea appliances. 33