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Excerpted from the 10/03 - 12/03 Newsletter


Snow! Table of Contents | Top of page

We know that this seems early to be thinking about snow, but it is coming. When it does, someone in your home is going to be shoveling. Let’s make it a happier, healthier experience:

  1. Buy your snow shovel(s) early. Maybe now, if they’re available. If you wait until the first snow, you’ll be competing for them with everyone else with the same idea, many of whom will have gotten a head start on you, and who will be proudly marching out with their new acquisitions about the time you hit the spot where the merchandise used to be.
  2. Why is this important to us? Because in order to avoid or minimize injury, it’s important to use the right tool for the job. Last year, we saw people using everything from entrenching tools to tennis racquets and garbage can covers, because "it doesn’t snow here," and they didn’t have the right tools. They did not function well or feel good after their adventure. If there are two of you, two snow shovels is a good idea. They won’t spoil if you don’t need both, and there is no prize for playing "second shovel" with that racquet!

  3. If your are among the many folks in this area who must park head on, you will be working between cars, and therefore will be working in a torqued position. Since you probably cannot slide the car next to you over a few feet, you will have to throw the snow in front of your car. Therefore, it is wise to take frequent breaks, during which you can stretch and straighten out. If you don’t, your transgressions against good body mechanics will be obvious to all when you begin to walk at right angles to yourself.
  4. Start shoveling early. Fresh snow, even if it’s very wet, is still lighter than packed, settled snow. If the desire to keep your feet dry longer gets the better of you, you’ll be attempting to heave heavy, wet, solid stuff at the end of a long lever. This would make your low back the fulcrum (the place where the leverage force is applied). Not so good! Shovel early.
  5. If it starts to snow heavily early in the day, and it looks like it’ll make sense to close early, we’ll call you to reschedule you either earlier in the day or on a less snowy one. If it starts at night and it looks like we’ll have to open late or not at all the next day, we’ll call you as long as we have a good contact number for you.

Please don’t just assume we couldn’t possibly be open during such an excessively nature driven day and just go home or not show up without checking. This would be seen as an "ignored" appointment, and charged as such. If you’re not coming, check in so that if we’re open, someone else can use the time, or we can send everyone home early enough to be safe, instead of waiting around.

Rubor, Calor, Dolar, Turgor Table of Contents | Top of page

If you get a paper cut, the tissue around the cut will probably become red, hot, painful and swollen. These tissue changes – rubor (redness), calor (heat), dolor (pain), and turgor (swelling) – are the classic signs of inflammation.

As uncomfortable as inflammation may be, it is one of the basic defense mechanisms of the human body. Whenever you experience localized tissue damage – whether from a cut, a scrape, a sprain, or an infection – that damaged tissue sends out a chemical message. In response to that chemical message, the blood vessels near the damaged tissue expand, and allow more white blood cells to enter the region to fight any infection and to remove any dead tissue. At the same time, specialized proteins enter the area to begin the process of repairing tissue damage and/or walling off any infection. These expanded blood vessels are the cause of the rubor, calor, and turgor. The dolor is a by-product of the chemical messengers; this pain serves to remind you to guard the involved body part, so that you do not injure it further.

Many times, the misalignments or restrictions (subluxations) that we work with in chiropractic practice are related to injuries. In these cases, the region near the subluxation may be inflamed. The pain and throbbing of inflammation may be difficult to take, and may disturb sleep. Therefore, we often advise patients with inflammation to apply ice to the involved area for 20 minutes every 2 hours. This will "take the edge off" the inflammation without thwarting it altogether. We want to help you get rest and sleep, but we do not want to disrupt your body’s natural defense and repair processes.

These days, more and more health problems are being blamed on inflammation which has gone out of control. For this reason, more and more people are being placed on permanent regimens of powerful anti-inflammatory drugs. While this may be medically necessary in some cases, permanently thwarting the inflammatory response is a serious step, and should be approached with the utmost caution. The more rapidly you can recover from back pain, neck pain, sprains, strains and injuries, the less anti-inflammatory medication you are likely to take in the recovery process, the greater will be your ability to fight localized infection (preventing it from becoming a more dangerous systemic infection), and the more of your tissue-repair ability you will preserve.

Terminology: Articulation Table of Contents | Top of page

Imagine a car with a perfectly good engine, but a great deal of rust in the transmission, axles, and wheels. The engine would generate plenty of energy, but very little forward motion. Instead of being converted into the smooth rotation of the tires, the engine’s energy would be wasted as noise and heat.

The same principle applies to your musculoskeletal system. Your muscles are powerful engines, which generate energy in the form of contraction. However, if all of the joints of your body were fused – turning your skeleton into one gigantic bone – all of your muscular energy would be turned into heat.

A movable joint is a structure which takes the raw power of muscle contraction, and sculpts it into walking, swimming, running, writing, and all of the other useful, elegant forms of human motion. At its best, a joint accomplishes this energy conversion smoothly and efficiently – with a minimum of noise and heat.

When a speaker is able to present ideas smoothly and efficiently – with a minimum of verbal "noise" and wasted "heat" – we say that the speaker is articulate.

A synonym for "joint" is "articulation". An articulation is a structure which converts muscle energy into smooth, efficient (articulate) motion.

Terminology: "Tic" Words Table of Contents | Top of page

"You can’t just say you practice ‘chiropractic’. It has to be chiropractic something – chiropractic medicine, or chiropractic health care. A word ending with ‘tic’ can’t be a noun – it’s always an adjective."

We get that a lot. Actually, "chiropractic" can be a noun or an adjective, depending on the structure of the sentence. (As we say in our profession, structure determines function.) Furthermore, there are several "tic" words with this same noun-adjective double identity. In the following pairs of sentences, the italicized word will be used as an adjective first, then a noun:

Johnny calculated the arithmetic mean.
Johnny’s favorite subject is arithmetic.

Professor Black’s lecture was a bit pedantic.
The good professor has become a bit of a pedantic of late.

Sandy is a confirmed member of the lunatic fringe.
Sandy is clearly acting like a lunatic.

Pat held an extremely romantic view of relationships.
Pat was a definite romantic.

Japanese flower arranging is an art with highly aesthetic results.
Today, Japanese flower arranging is still informed by a traditional aesthetic.

So, from the chiropractic point of view, the "c-word" can be used as an adjective or a noun. That’s the final word from your friendly, local doctors of chiropractic.

Research Review: 1918 Table of Contents | Top of page

In the closing days of World War I, a deadly form of influenza (“flu”) appeared. The influenza pandemic of 1917-1918 claimed more lives world wide than the war.

During this crisis, doctors of chiropractic noticed that their patients seemed to have a lower fatality rate than the general population. Although this chiropractic observation remains unpublished (there were no scholarly journals willing to publish chiropractic data in those days), a study was published by the osteopathic profession.1 Among doctors of osteopathy of the time, it was routine to check patients’ spines for “osteopathic lesions” (which doctors of chiropractic refer to as “subluxations”), and to correct them with manipulation. Due to this similarity, the osteopathic publication effectively verifies the chiropractic observation.

The death rate among influenza patients under conventional medical care in the U.S. was estimated to be 5-6%. The fatality rate among influenza patients under osteopathic care was estimated at 0.25%. The implication drawn from this data by the study’s author was that lesions (subluxations) depress the immune system. Therefore, correcting lesions assists immune function.

This conclusion drawn by both osteopaths and chiropractors more than 80 years ago has received support from recent research. The activity of the immune system’s major “players” – the white blood cells – has been found to increase after chiropractic adjustments.2,3 A small but intriguing study suggests that the immune response of HIV-positive patients (as measured by CD4 count) improves when spinal subluxations are corrected.4 

In your ordinary day-to-day experience, you are not likely to notice that your white blood cells are a bit sluggish. Yet, this may very well be one effect of spinal subluxation – even in the absence of a sore back or stiff neck. If you are not already doing so, please consider scheduling monthly chiropractic check-ups, even if you are pain free.


  1. Riley GW. Osteopathic Success in the Treatment of Influenza and Pneumonia. J Am Osteopathic Assn, 1919; 18: 565.
  2. Brennan PC, et al. Immunologic Correlates of Reduced Spinal Mobility. Proceedings of the 1991 International Conf on Spinal Manip (FCER): 118.
  3. Brennan PC, et al. Enhanced Phagocytic Cell Respiratory Burst Induced by Spinal Manipulation. J Manipulative Physiol Ther, 1991; 14:399.
  4. Selano JL, et al. The Effects of Specific Upper Cervical Adjustments on the CD4 Counts of HIV-Positive Patients. Chiropr Res J, 1994; 3:32.

This Newsletter is Copyright © Drs. Marion Todres and Charles Masarsky, Chiropractors. All Rights Reserved.


Copyright © Vienna Chiropractic Associates, P.C. All Rights Reserved.