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Winter Has Chiropractors Shoveling Dough

February 16, 1994

BOSTON (AP) _ Winter has been no backache for chiropractors. Around the country, they’ve seen business boom with patients who slipped on the ice or shovelled their driveways a tad too vigorously.

″With all this snow, all this cold, if you’re out of shape your going to hurt yourself,″ said Dr. C. Stevens Mandell, a chiropractor in Holyoke, Mass.

Mandell said he usually sees more injuries in winter, when cold causes tight muscles and stress. But already this year he’s had to make five housecalls to patients in too much pain to get out of bed.

″One good sneeze and your neck goes into spasms,″ he said.

Dr. Lee Magenheim, who practices in New York City, said this winter has been especially treacherous, with wet, icy snows hard to walk through and even harder to shovel.

″If you wanted to design an absolutely perfect act to damage the joints and discs in the lower back, you’d have to compress the spine - like you do when you’re lifting - and rotate, and that’s just what shoveling is,″ said Magenheim, who has seen his new patient load double to eight a week.

At the Baltimore Back Pain Clinic, Dr. Joseph P. Hughes said he’s treated numerous strains and sprains as well as several dislocated shoulders, fractured arms and one fractured hip.

Chiropractor John Haberstoh said his business has increased 10 percent, with patients who have hurt themselves shoveling, fallen on the ice, or injured their backs and necks in car accidents.

″Unfortunately, these people are going to be in pain, but our business is great,″ said his wife, Danielle, who manages the practice, Brighton Chiropractic & Diagnostics in Boston.

John Hitchiner, a chiropractor at the Hopmeadow Chiropractic Center in Simsbury, Conn., said he’s also seen a slight increase in business, but added that the weather has sometimes been so bad that the center had to close.

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