Note: We are making every effort to provide you with an accurate calendar. However, each newsletter covers a period of four months. Unforeseen circumstances during this time period may require minor changes in the calendar.
Over the years, a number of studies have demonstrated that chiropractic adjustments may speed up reaction time.1,2,3 These findings have recently been backed up by a new study.
A published report by a university-based research group from New Zealand studied reaction time in people with misalignments or restrictions (subluxations) in the part of the spine located in the neck (cervical spine).4 Based on a standardized chiropractic examination, the volunteer subjects were divided into two groups: those people with one cervical subluxation and those with two. The overall results of a battery of reaction time tasks demonstrated that people with two subluxations were significantly slower than those with one. Interestingly, the more complex the task, the greater was the difference in reaction time between groups.
For example, in a task called “simple reaction time”, the subject was asked to press the letter “J” on a computer keyboard as soon as possible whenever a crosshair symbol appeared on the computer screen. In this simple task, the reaction time did not differ much between groups. However, when the same task was given while simultaneously asking the subject to track a moving target on the same screen (a task called “probe reaction time”), the group with one subluxation was approximately 5/100 of a second faster than the group with two subluxations - a statistically significant difference.
The significance of that 5/100 of a second difference may not be immediately apparent. It’s at least as brief as the moment it takes for a butterfly to flap its wings. However, a relatively new area of science and mathematics – chaos theory – holds that under certain circumstances, a very slight difference in the way a process starts out can make a huge difference in the way that process ends up. For example, meteorologists familiar with chaos theory are fond of saying that under certain circumstances, a butterfly can flap its wings in the Indian Ocean and cause a hurricane in the Caribbean Sea.5,6
The application of this “butterfly effect” to your life becomes apparent when you consider what happens after you leave the chiropractor’s office. After your adjustment, you will probably drive home (or to work, or to an errand, etc.). Perhaps your improved reaction time will enable you to avoid an accident by responding just quickly enough to a hazard on the road. If you were just 5/100 of a second slower, the accident would have happened, and people other than yourself would have been hurt. These people will never know that your choice to get a chiropractic adjustment protected their safety as well as your own.
A slight tune-up of your reaction time – as subtle as the flap of a butterfly’s wings – may be sending beneficial ripple effects well beyond the walls of your chiropractor’s office.
Sometimes an overworked or incorrectly worked muscle is the reason for a specific pain. Chiropractic, however, is not so much about pain, as about removing “static” from your nervous system so that your body can work correctly and heal itself. Think “electrical work” instead of “carpentry”.
While balanced, healthy muscles are important to keep you in good posture and stabilize your skeletal system, these are largely important as they relate to the nervous system. Your nervous system directly or indirectly runs every cell in your body. With few exceptions, we rely on getting good information from our brains and spinal cords, as well as the nerves feathering off from them. Our brains, cords and nerve roots are protected from most injury by our skulls and spinal columns, and so by adjusting at these areas, we are able to remove pressures that would interfere with the working of this circuitry.
Then, we can proactively strengthen and balance our muscles to help our spines move well and therefore remove external interference to our nerves.
In an effort to make chiropractic care affordable to everyone, we set aside selected Mondays as Chiropractic Independence Days. On Independence Days, there are no set fees. Your decision to seek chiropractic care is independent of your insurance or income level. Payment (which goes anonymously into a box at the front counter) is a combination of what you feel the care is worth and your ability to pay. We do accept new patients on Independence Day, depending on time availability, making this an excellent time to introduce a friend, co-worker, or loved one to chiropractic care. It does make sense to make your appointment well in advance, as these time slots fill in quickly.
A well-known saying informs us that the eyes are the windows of the soul. For the clinician, vision is a window into neurological function. For example, you do not actually “see” with your eyes. You see with your brain. Most of us have participated in a clear demonstration of this fact: You can see things in a darkened room with your eyes closed – in your dreams. Your eyes are not generating the visual images you are dreaming about; those “sights” have been assembled in your brain. Because the conscious experience of sight depends on the brain, vision is a window into brain function.
The spinal nerves also play a critical role in vision. Nerves from the cervical spine (neck) and upper thoracic spine (the upper back) help to dilate (widen) the pupil – the opening that allows light into the eye. These same spinal nerves also help to change the shape of the lens to make distance vision possible. They also control the muscles in the walls of the blood vessels supplying the eyes and brain.
If you are visiting a doctor of chiropractic for the first time, or returning for a new incident, perhaps your health complaint is some sort of neck pain or back pain. You certainly aren’t expecting your doctor of chiropractic to act as your eye doctor, nor would we ever encourage you to do so. Therefore, it may seem odd to you if the chiropractor asks you questions about blurriness, eyestrain, double vision, and other visual disturbances. In fact, questions such as these – and even a visual screening using an eye chart – may be very much to the point. Misalignments or fixations (subluxations) in the cervical and upper thoracic spine can disturb the spinal nerves that affect vision in the ways just discussed. It is quite reasonable for a doctor of chiropractic to monitor vision – or any function affected by the spinal nerves – as part of the doctor’s assessment of the impact of subluxation on your health. The choice of which specific biological functions to monitor is up to the individual doctor’s judgment.
Correction of subluxations through chiropractic adjustments can help the body overcome visual disturbances related to spinal function.1,2 Interestingly, a chiropractic research team in Missouri recently reported that even some people with 20/20 vision at their first visit have better than 20/20 vision after two weeks of chiropractic care.3 Apparently, some people have the genetically determined ability to see better than 20/20, if it were not for the fact that subluxation disturbs their vision. Correcting subluxations thus can help people more closely approach their full visual potential.
Snow can be beautiful, peaceful and a basis for quiet contemplation. It also has to be removed from your car and walk so you can be out and about, then come home and enjoy everything mentioned in the first sentence. Make this a less onerous task by remembering the following:
Barring a total blizzard, we are open regular hours. If we cannot get in and we have a good number we may call for you, we will call to let you know that we will be closed. If you can’t get out or get to the office for any reason, please don’t forget to call and let us know.
If you want to have your spine checked regularly on an early intervention basis, you may be interested in our six- or twelve-visit packs, or the eighteen-visit family pack. You will save money while safeguarding your spinal health and mobility. Our staff is happy to answer your questions on these programs.
We’d like to thank those of you who have been referring family, friends and co-workers. We appreciate your thinking of us when you know someone who you feel could benefit from chiropractic care. For a health care provider, referral is the sincerest form of flattery.
For someone totally new to chiropractic, making an appointment at our office may be way out of his or her “comfort zone”. You might want to suggest a virtual visit to our web site: www.neurologicalfitness.com. There, they can read a wide variety of informative articles, as well as find brief biographies of the doctors.
Naturally, if the person you wish to refer prefers a brief discussion of their health concern, ask them to call us at (703) 938-6441. If one of the doctors can’t get to the phone immediately, we will ask the front desk to arrange a convenient time to call back.
Sadly, last year was a time of natural disasters. In our May-August 2005 newsletter, we thanked you for your participation in our drive for tsunami relief. Now, we are taking a moment to thank those of you who fought off “donor fatigue” and participated in our efforts to help the victims of the Gulf hurricanes.
There are many organizations worthy of your support. Our choice for the hurricane disaster and for domestic disasters in general is:
America’s Second Harvest
35 East Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
Our choice for the tsunami and for international disasters in general (including the sadly neglected earthquake in Pakistan) is:
P.O. Box 1211
Albert Lea, MN 56007
As of this publication, we participate in the following insurance plans: Affordable, Choicecare (Humana), First Health, Health-first, NCPPO, PHCS, and Kaiser Flexible Choice.
If you have some other plan that you would like to use at this office, please fax copies of the front and back of your insurance card. (Thank you in advance for enlarging them!). A staff member will research off-plan benefits for you. Our fax number is (703) 319-3978. You can also call in your request. Our phone number is (703) 938-6441.
This Newsletter is Copyright © 2006, Drs.
Marion Todres and Charles Masarsky, Chiropractors. All Rights Reserved.
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Copyright © Vienna Chiropractic Associates, P.C. All Rights Reserved.