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The Expert

Alignment Authority

Raymond S. Solano, 32, Solano Spine & Sport Chiropractic, Falls Church

Sunday, April 10, 2005; Page M03

WISE CRACKER: Growing up, I was always active in sports, so I was always getting hurt -- twisting my ankles, hurting my back. I saw a lot of doctors. During my first year at American University, a chiropractor treated me for back pain. That's when I decided that's what I wanted to do. I spent five years at Life University's College of Chiropractic in Georgia, getting my doctorate. But I missed Washington, so when it came time for me to open my practice, I came back to the area.

THE SPINAL FRONTIER. A lot of people think chiropractors treat only back injuries, but all of the vital nerves that travel throughout the body originate in the spinal column. Frequent headaches can often be traced to neck pain. Pain in the legs or in the arms often can be traced to the spine. Not always. But a lot of times you can find a nerve being irritated at the spine. When you relieve the pressure, your legs or arms stop hurting.

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MASTERS OF MANIPULATION. The chiropractic profession has been around for a hundred years, which a lot of people don't know. It's covered by almost all the health insurance plans. And we're licensed by the Virginia Board of Medicine. Before hiring a chiropractor, you want to get as much information as possible. Today there are Web sites where you can get that information. The ChiroDirectory (www.chirodirectory.com), for example, lets you check the chiropractor's background. Many chiropractors have a specialty: They might only treat a certain area of the spine, like the neck, or focus on treating children. I treat everybody, but I do a lot of work with sports-related injuries.

OUT OF JOINT. As the weather gets nicer, people are more active. They do more yard work, or try and pick up where they left off last summer with their running or cycling. With this comes more injury. I always encourage people to stay active year-round. And I can't emphasize stretching enough. It's great for increasing range of motion, flexibility and keeping the muscles stabilized. Drink a lot of water. Eat a varied, healthy diet to keep the bones and muscles strong. Good spine health comes from good overall health.

BONE-CHILLING. When someone does hurt themselves, they should apply ice. When inflammation sets in, you have increased blood flow. Ice is going to reduce that inflammation. About a week later you can start to stimulate the area and increase blood flow with heat. But you don't want to use heat right away. You want to use ice, compress the area and rest, of course. As told to Kelly DiNardo

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