Jason Dammen had wanted a crack at owning his own business for a while, and not even the raging Souris River stopped the Minot High School graduate and chiropractor from bringing his family back to his hometown.
Dammen opened Active Body Chiropractic with his wife, Lauralee, Nov. 1. The office is located in the Northwest Executive Building at 2010-4th Ave. NW, Suite 106.
Although chiropractors are often known as "back crackers" and frequently treat back and neck pain, Dammen said they also offer overall natural health care for their patients.
"We work with the body to make sure it functions at its best. Somebody may not have a lot of pain, but maybe they don't move as much as they should, and that's why they come in to chiropractors, because we get that joint motion back," Dammen said. "The big thing is we treat the whole body, not just necessarily back problems and neck problems."
Many of Dammen's patients come in for manual adjustments, where he physically feels which bones might be out of alignment and moves them back into their proper place with his hands. While the back and neck are the most common areas he works on, Dammen can also manually adjust all extremities, including jaws, elbows, shoulders, knees and ankles.
Dammen said chiropractors put a lot of emphasis on the spine because of all the nerves found there, and how much those nerves can affect the rest of the body.
The phone number for
Active Body Chiropractic
Office hours are
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday,
and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.
More information is on the website at
"As chiropractors what we're looking for is problems with the joints not moving the way they should, because that can cause inflammation or cause it to affect a nerve root that goes out to anything. It can go to a muscle, it can go to an organ, it can just cause localized pain, it can cause radiating pain," Dammen said. "So somebody may have a problem in their back, but they're actually getting pain down their leg or up their arm. And that's really what we focus on."
He noted that patients sometimes feel a pop during a manual adjustment, which is often what they think has to happen so they can feel better. In reality, Dammen said chiropractors aren't looking for that pop so much as they are trying to get the joint moving normally again. As long as the joint moves freely, a popping sensation isn't required for the benefits to be felt by the patient.
"That's really what we focus on, it's just making sure that people have the mobility in their joints that they should have," Dammen said. "And in turn, that helps you be healthier, it helps you move better, it helps you be more active, and that's our goal. That's why we're called Active Body Chiropractic."
Lauralee said they have a wide range of patients, from the elderly all the way down to infants. While infants are some of the last people most would think of as in need of a chiropractor, Lauralee said a wide variety of issues in infants can be eased by a chiropractor, including colic, which is when a baby is overly fussy.
"A lot of people don't think that chiropractors can help colic, but I used to work for a chiropractor in Iowa that saw many, many children," she said. "Anything from bed wetting to constipation to colic. It's just a wide range."
Dammen also offers electric muscle stimulation, therapeutic ultrasound and flexion distraction technique, which is for lower back problems such as herniated disks.
Dammen grew up in Minot and graduated in 1997, while his wife grew up in Butte. They met after high school and moved to Iowa after getting married to pursue degrees at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, which is the founding chiropractic college in the nation.
While Dammen studied to become a chiropractor, Lauralee got a degree in chiropractic technology, which allows her to administer physicals and do X-rays, although Dammen noted they don't do X-rays in his office. As the office manager, Lauralee also takes care of the billing and other business-related duties.
After Dammen graduated in June 2010, the couple moved to Bismarck so he could take a job with an established chiropractor in Mandan and get some experience under his belt before striking out on his own.
It was always their goal to work together, so in the spring of 2011 they found office space in Minot to start their own business. Dammen said they always wanted to move back to North Dakota with their family, which now includes two children, while they were in Iowa. Being in Bismarck made them realize just how much they missed Minot. Because of all the family in the Minot area, they were travelling up to the Magic City from Bismarck practically every weekend.
They leased their current location on Fourth Avenue June 4, and hoped to open up the following month. After finding another chiropractor to replace him in Mandan, getting ready for the big move and generally having everything in place for their new life in Minot, the flood hit.
They thought about whether they really wanted to move to Minot in the aftermath of the flood, and decided to go for it. Dammen worked for Clean Tech for a while doing house demos until the building where his office was located was finally cleaned and sanitized in mid-September. However, there were more hurdles to overcome, and Dammen thankfully had a total of 11 years of experience as an employee at Menards to help clear them.
"The owner of the building was having some difficulty finding people to do the work, so I told him I'm very capable of doing some remodeling work. We discussed it, and I actually came in and started doing the remodeling," he said. "I built this front desk, we had somebody who came in and helped hang some drywall and stuff like that, then I did all the drywall work. I just did a lot of the work to get things going - painting, doing trim and doors, so we actually could get in here faster."
Because he had taken care of much of the work in his own office, Dammen's was the first business to reopen in the building.
"It's been a very difficult summer for us and our family. We're still looking for housing, we're living with my family right now," Dammen said. "We're in the process of trying to figure that stuff out. But until business really gets going for us it's going to be really tough to dedicate so much money (to a home)."
While Dammen never though he'd be a chiropractor growing up, he's glad it's something he decided to pursue. With every back he cracks, whether there's a pop or not, it seems to bring a smile to the face of his patients.
"I'd seen chiropractors when I was in high school, and I guess I personally thought I would never be that guy, but just the more you learn about chiropractic, the more you tend to..." Dammen said.
"Love it," Lauralee said.
"Yeah, love it, exactly. That's the word to use," Dammen said. "Because you see what it can do, you can see how much you can help people."