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When the Spine is Fine You Probably Are Too

Newport Beach Chiropractor Dr. Lisa Parissi working on a patient

“Sit Up Straight!”

As a parent, you’ve probably said that to your children—more than once.

And if those children were to have listened, Newport Beach Chiropractor Dr. Lisa Parissi most certainly would be far less busy than she is now.

Even had her more youthful patients paid attention, all that discipline may have gone out the proverbial window thanks to the inventors and marketers of smart phones, tablets and other devices whose continual and constant use have created what is widely termed “tech neck,” a condition caused by looking down at the hand-held screen for hours on end.

One could argue that Johann Gutenberg, inventor of moveable type and printer of the famous Gutenberg Bible in 1450, might have been responsible for early tech neck (Print Posture?), but, Parissi opines, readers most always look up, put their books and magazines down, then move about, thereby giving muscles and ligaments a needed break.

Today, seldom do you see someone reading a book as they amble down the street, while seemingly everybody walks, drives or rides their bikes while looking down at the smart phone screens — all potential Parissi patients. if not from tech neck then from sprains, strains and spinal misalignment.

Chiropractic is much more than crack-a-back treatment for body aches.

“The function of chiropractic is to remove interference and blockages that prevent the nervous system from working properly,” Parissi shared.

Parissi is among the one percent of chiropractors who practice “chiropractic physics,” which, she explains, is engineering of the spine.

Newport Beach Chiropractor Dr. Lisa Parissi working on a patient

“We look at optimal angles of the spines. Years of research have shown that anything outside of those angles will cause dysfunction of organs and muscles, often causing pain,” explained Parissi.

The beauty of chiropractic, she says, is that “We don’t chase pain, we don’t treat systems…we treat structure, fix the posture allowing functions to improve. We remold the spine into better posture to allow the biomechanics to function.” Proper posture is the goal, she emphasized.

Beyond smart phones, posture can be affected by poor sleeping positions, or slouching at one’s desk at the workplace for too many hours (“Desk Ergonomics”). The obvious solution: quit going to work!

When the head droops and the chin nears contact with one’s chest, Parissi informs that oxygen to the brain is reduced by 300 percent. Merely looking down (hello, smart phones), the lungs receive 40 percent less oxygen. The result is “oxygen starvation” to the organs, and to the immune system…just a “heads-up” warning from the chiropractor.

Fortunately, this article is not a scientific paper, but we can share a weighty anatomical fact.

“When the head leans forward in front of the gravity line, 10 pounds of apparent head weight is added,” Parissi said. She cites the recent case of a 90-year-old male patient who was literally warped (not a medical term) forward, down and sideways, virtually unable to stand without aids. His head was so bent forward that he could not look up; his leaned-over head weight measured 86.4 pounds. After six months of weekly treatments to “reform the ligaments,” the gentleman now stands nearly vertically and on his own; and his head has a reduced weight of 54 pounds predicated on the angle to the ground.

When positioned atop the neck correctly in line with the ideal curve of the spine, the average adult head (not counting IQ) will weigh between 11 and 12 pounds. If one’s head sits significantly forward a minuscule three inches, the forces acting on the neck increase significantly, as if the head weighed 41 pounds. The tension on the neck and shoulder muscles appreciates accordingly, pain being one side effect.

Being round-shouldered also can lead to a shorter life span, Parissi observes, because nerves become compressed, resulting in diminished lung and heart performance and thereby causing a measurable reduction of oxygen to all the vital organs.

Parissi admits that she can’t take all of the credit for her patients’ improvements, for “75 percent of healing is patient caused,” she said. “One of my goals is to empower patients to take control of their health rather than having to visit a doctor.”

“A patient should feel at least a modicum of relief after the first treatment, showing that we’re on the right track,” Parissi claims.

Researchers in Chiropractic Biophysics over the years have concluded that 36 to 72 visits are the magic numbers in the chiropractic-aiding process, providing that the patient follows prescribed self-help regiment. In Newport Beach, she observes that most individuals are proactive in their pain management, with many coming to the office for “evaluation” rather than emergencies.

So what does a preemptive evaluation include? This aged feature writer went in to find


First, wear your specs, for the multi-page health review is very complete — but in tiny

type. It asks about current ailments, pains, site of the pain, and past and present major health issues. Parissi explains that this helps her to correlate pain (if there is any) in relation to possible organ dysfunction, which again relates to posture.

Next comes a 360-degree series of posture photos of the patient standing in front of a wall grid. The photos, when presented on a computer screen, show the patient with a green line descending from head to toe, juxtaposed to a red line indicating how the patient should be ideally standing. In my case…well, it revealed a life of contact sports, multiple bike accidents, gymnastic face plants, falling off a New Guinea jungle trail to collide with a boulder 20-yards down, 49-years of sea kayaking and slouchy TV viewing. Oh, if I could only go back to my original back.

Then come the X-rays. Those weren’t pretty, either, revealing a scoliotic spine whose misaligned vertebrae and compressed discs clearly showed from where some of my aches emanate.

Finally comes the education: enlightening. Then it’s decision time: stay as you are, consider treatment, or limp and shuffle on your merry way out.

Certainly, good health in large part begins with proper posture (and fewer accidents). In other words…listen to mommy, be careful and SIT UP STRAIGHT!

Dr. Parissi can be reached at (949) 387-1333, or via her website at

The post When the Spine is Fine You Probably Are Too appeared first on Newport Beach News.

Source: Newport Beach Independent

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