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
What does this muscle do for you? It depends on which part of the muscle is being contracted. The upper part of the muscle helps you keep your head up, and enables you to tilt it from side to side. The middle and lower parts help draw your shoulder blades together and down (the action you perform to “keep your shoulders back”).
The area between your neck and shoulders that many people point to when they say their shoulders hurt is actually the upper portion of the trapezius.
Hip or Sacroiliac?
Put your hands on either side of your waist, and slide them down to where you thigh attaches to the rest of you. Those are your hip joints, where the top of your femur (thigh bone) meets the bottom of your ilium, the flared bone at the end of your torso. The top of your ilium where your hand was originally resting, is also part of your pelvis, but is not your hip joint.
Your sacroiliac joints are the area where the inner edge of the ilium meets the outer edge of the sacrum, the triangular bone at the end of your lower (lumbar) spine. If you put your hands on your waist, over the tops of your ilia, with your thumbs in back, then point your thumbs down, you’ll be pointing to your sacroiliac (or “SI”) joints.
Although early chiropractors understood that the SI joints are movable, conventional biomedical textbooks described them as motionless until the 1970s. Today, we know that these joints tilt forward and backward, and from side to side.
When you sit, you are sitting on the ischia, the bones on the very bottom of the pelvis. If you sit too long, you may force pressure into the sacroiliac joints, since you are preventing their natural movement by forcing the ilia upward against the sacrum. This, in turn, irritates the area and leads to, among other problems, sciatica and low back pain.
Knowing the correct terms for these areas and using them helps you to communicate with us more efficiently. Of course, when in doubt, please point!
So they finally ordered you that many splendored, incredibly ergonomic desk chair, and now your neck, shoulders and back hurt. Does the chair have arms? If so, there may be nothing wrong with the chair that being able to sit closer to the keyboard and mouse won’t fix.
Every piece of equipment, even the most gorgeous, has an appropriate use. The arms on a good desk chair will help your spine as long as you are in a position to sit upright, without leaning forward or backward (such as when you are in a meeting, or on the phone). Working with a keyboard is a different story. If the arms are too high, you may not be able to get close enough to the keyboard or desk when you need to write something. If that’s the case, you’ll be straining every time you put together a report, do a lot of mousing or work in pen. That strain can cause you upper body to malfunction and target extra stress into the nerves exiting those areas of your spine.
See if the arms can be lowered. Otherwise, you may want to take them off, or have a second, armless chair available for those times when you need to be writing or reading for a while.
Some of you are already familiar with the stories featuring Dr. Masarsky’s literary muse, Oxana – a very long-lived talking cat trained in the old art of bone setting. Well, four more of these stories “happened”. We will gladly e-mail you any of these stories if you contact us at email@example.com. Not only does this save wear and tear on our photocopier, but it also allows you to easily share these stories with others. If you prefer, (and with a bit of advance notice) we can photocopy stories for you instead. Oxana’s current selections are as follows:
“Articulation”: Dr. Vijay Patel is struggling with his application for a research fellowship at Monrovia Institute of Chiropractic. Can Oxana help?
“Oxana’s Tea”: Sally is in deep trouble. She can’t sleep at night. Her heart won’t stop racing due to a rare virus. Can Oxana’s special blend of chiropractic and down-to-earth advice help?
“Caduceus”: Oxana’s student friend is on the verge of uncovering the secret message hidden in an ancient symbol. Find out what it is!
“Mobius Stretch”: Oxana has struck up a fascinating conversation with a mysterious person who claims to be a comet-dwelling alien. Who is this person, anyway?
If the Oxana stories are totally new to you, ask about our “oldies”!
Traveling, whether for business or pleasure, is an important part of modern life. Closer to home, many of us must cope with a daily commute to and from work. Even stay-at-home parents do not really stay at home; a large part of their typical day is spent behind the wheel. By preventing misalignments and restrictions (subluxations) of your joints, you can help your nervous system more effectively cope with the demands of commuting and better appreciate the pleasures of travel.
Dr. Masarsky offers a practical, learning-by-doing 45-minute workshop titled, “Chiropractic Savvy for Travelers and Commuters”. Included in this workshop is a set of down-to-earth techniques for “spinal self-defense” while on the move.
There is no fee for this workshop. No special setting is required; it can be presented for a small company, large corporation, nonprofit organization, community group, religious congregation, or even a gathering of neighbors in your living room.
Dr. Masarsky has taught Human Anatomy and Physiology (Course # NAS 150) at Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, since 2003. In addition, he has over 10 years of experience teaching postgraduate programs for chiropractic colleges and associations. With his partner, Dr. Marion Todres, he is co-editor of the chiropractic textbook, Somatovisceral Aspects of Chiropractic: An Evidence-Based Approach (Churchill Livingstone, New York, 2001).
Please contact Dr. Masarsky at 703-938-6441 to arrange a presentation of this workshop at your site.
Between traveling, commuting, and running errands, many of us have practically made our cars second homes. While being able to drive is certainly a convenience, the stresses of the road can affect our posture in an adverse way. The task of avoiding some of our less responsible fellow motorists often causes us to tense up, pulling our head and neck tightly into the shoulders. During a long trip, we may find ourselves slumping, causing us to “lead with our chin” in a head-forward posture.
Either way, the result is a compression of the spine in general, and a reversal of the normal shock absorbing curve of the neck in particular. These postural changes can lead to misalignments or restrictions (subluxations) of the spine, especially the cervical spine.
In addition to causing or aggravating neck pain and headache, subluxations in the cervical spine may actually make driving more hazardous. Recent studies have demonstrated that reaction time slows down in the presence of cervical subluxation.1,2 The slower your reaction time, the less safe you are as a driver.
There is a simple way to reduce the spinal stress of driving. When you first get into the car, sit tall in the driver’s seat. Now, adjust your rearview mirror. You have just installed a posture monitor in your car! If you shorten your spine by tensing or slumping, you will lose your rear view. That will be a reminder to gently lengthen your spine. This “mirror trick” is especially important during a long trip.
1. Kelly DD, Murphy BA, Backhouse DP. Use of a Mental Rotation Reaction-Time Paradigm to Measure the Effects of Upper Cervical Adjustments on Cortical Processing: A Pilot Study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 2000; 23:246.
2. Todres-Masarsky M, Masarsky CS, Langhans E. The Somatovisceral Interface: Further Evidence. In: Masarsky CS, Todres-Masarsky M (editors). Somatovisceral Aspects of Chiropractic: An Evidence-Based Approach. Churchill Livingstone, New York, 2001.
Your back hurts and you dread having to get up or down? Try breathing out through pursed lips, as if you were blowing up a balloon. Do this as you get into or out of a car, off or on the couch or desk chair, etc. Your abdominal muscles will automatically contract just enough to protect your back
We’d like to just take a moment 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.
We realize that when you are a new patient in any office, you get a lot of information thrown at you, information that you may not be in a position to process right away. At our office, we try to help with that processing by sending you a packet of materials after your first visit, so you can absorb some of the information at your leisure. It contains various sheets on chiropractic and the office, as well as a magnet with our phone number and hours on it. We add to this information periodically.
If it’s been a while, or if you could use another magnet, let us know and we’ll drop a magnet, a packet or both into the mail for you. You’re also welcome to stop by during regular hours to pick one up. If you want the packet, and plan to stop by for it, let us know a little in advance, so we can have one ready for you.
As of 9-1-05, we participate in the following insurance plans: Affordable, Choicecare (Humana), First Health, Healthfirst, Great West, 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. You can also call in your request. Our fax number is 703-319-3978.
In an effort to make chiropractic care affordable to everyone, regardless of income or insurance coverage, we set aside selected Mondays as CHIROPRACTIC INDEPENDENCE DAYS. On Independence Days there are no set fees. 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. It does make sense to make your appointment well in advance, as these time slots fill in quickly.
If you want to have your
spine checked regularly on an early intervention basis, you may be
interested in our 6 or 12 visit packs, or the 18 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.
This Newsletter is Copyright © 2005, Drs.
Marion Todres and Charles Masarsky, Chiropractors. All Rights Reserved.
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Copyright © Vienna Chiropractic Associates, P.C. All Rights Reserved.