THEN... And Now Robin Hood
Oh, those aching backs. Those stiff necks. That shoulder pain that never seems to go away. Rural Americans perform a lot of manual labor as employment, chores, and recreation. Even moving around fun things like boats and campers involves heavy lifting that strains the muscles and joints in our bodies. We all know what it's like to wake up in the morning with a crick in our neck, or have trouble standing up straight because of the strain we put on our back the day before.
Chiropractic physicians like Dr. Robin Hood offer relief.
The word 'chiropractic' means “to be done by hand.” It's a proven fact that spinal manipulation can relieve certain types of musculoskeletal pain symptoms. Chiropractors perform adjustive treatments of misalignments, especially those that affect the spinal column, which in turn can cause other disorders that affect the human body's neuromuscular system.
Robin Hood has been practicing chiropractic in Concordia, in the same location on Broadway Street, for 48 years.
"I love what I do," Dr. Hood said. "I plan to keep on doing this until I'm 90."
Dr. Hood's career path was far from a sure thing when he graduated from Notre Dame High School in 1965. "I really didn't know what I wanted to do," he said. "I attended the college here for two years, and then went to KU thinking I wanted to be a chemical engineer. But I really couldn't decide. Dr. Pearson gave me a bunch of medical books; he wanted me to be a medical doctor, and I considered that for awhile."
Then a chiropractic physician in town named Dr. Dean Blackwood flew Hood in a private plane to the chiropractic college Blackwood graduated from in Davenport, Iowa.
"He showed me around the school, and I really liked it. That's when I decided I was going to be a chiropractic physician."
Hood graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport in 1971, and on August 25 of that same year opened his practice at 1122 Broadway Street. Almost a half-century later, he's still going strong.
"I like everything about Chiropractic, including its Functional Medicine aspect which uses broad, natural-based nutritional, herbal, and homeopathic medicines. That's where my heart lies; that's what I really like about this business."
Robin P. Hood, DC, PA, offers a variety of services, including chiropractic manipulative therapy, physical therapy, acupuncture, nutritional medicine, industrial medicine, lab services, diagnostic X-ray, and of course braces, splints, and orthotics.
"When I was younger I would see 20-25 patients a day. Sometimes I'll still handle 20 patients in a day, but I don't like to work that hard now."
Dr. Hood estimates that, in his career, he's had over a quarter-million office calls for his services.
"A lot of people assume that chiropractic medicine is just for your back. But most of the work we do involves the neuromuscular system."
A large proportion of Dr. Hood's treatments involve bulging or herniated discs, and he estimates that 90% of his patients' ailments can be fixed with proper chiropractic care.
"It's really important to take care of your neuromuscular system," he said. "With proper care, you can avoid much more expensive treatments like epidurals and even surgery."
Here's a surprising bit of information: the same issues that affect our teeth also affect our bones and bone structure. "Sugar attacks teeth and causes cavities," Dr. Hood said. "Sugar also weakens the skeletal system. People really need to pay attention to their diet. Poor nutrition can have a severe impact on your neuromuscular system."
Many other common rules of general health maintenance directly affect the neuromuscular system, including proper posture when sitting or standing, exercise, and good sleeping habits.
"Definitely replace those old mattresses," Dr. Hood declared. "If it's over ten years old, get yourself a new one. Your back and spine will thank you."
Proper posture is vitally important as we get older.
"As we age, everyone will find themselves slumping slightly or stooping over. Bones become less dense, and that changes the shape of the vertebrae in our spine. We need to constantly remind ourselves to stand up straight and not slouch."
It hasn't been all work and no play for Robin Hood, especially when he was younger. In 1964, while still at Notre Dame high school, he helped form the popular band The Sensational Showmen. Original members included Hood on drums; Phil Pfister on lead guitar and vocals; Larry Jackson from Clifton on bass guitar, trombone, and vocals; Ron Balderston of Clyde on trumpet, organ, and lead vocals; Paul Justyna on saxophone; Mike Srite on organ; and Bob Burns on rhythm guitar.
"We played all over," Dr. Hood said. "It was a lot of fun."
The original Sensational Showmen lasted about four years, and then another group from Chanute and Fort Scott picked up the name and played for a decade. In the 1980's another group of musicians assumed the Sensational Showmen name and continued playing well into the 1990's.
On March 7, 2009, all three versions of the band were elected into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame.
Dr. Hood doesn't play the drums anymore. His hobbies now include reading, gardening, and spending time with his family.
"Annette has been my partner through it all," he said proudly, referring to his wife, the former Annette Gieber from Clifton. "We were married in 1972, and after raising the kids, she's been at the office every day for 35 years."
The Hoods have four children: daughters Melissa, Margo, and Allegra, and son Thomas. The children have in turn blessed Robin and Annette with a brood of 11 grandchildren.
Dr. Hood is proud of his lifelong devotion to the community.
"This is a great town," he said. "It's the reason I came back here after college. And really, if you think about it, Concordia is rare in that so many of the doctors here are homegrown. The Blackwoods, Hattan, Breault, Wentz, Aggson, Garlow, the Kuekers. There just aren't that many small towns where you find so many doctors who came back."
As the interview ended, Dr. Hood was asked - just for the heck of it - to evaluate his interviewer's posture.
"Stand against the wall," he directed. "Place your heels against the wall, your backside, your shoulders, and now the back of your head." This was accomplished after a few twists and tweaks and grimaces. "Not bad. Keep your chin up. Stick out your chest. Work on your posture every day."
Most of us don't work on our posture every day, but we should. And when things go wrong and we've overstrained our bodies, Dr. Robin Hood plans on being around a few more decades to take care of the people of a community he has always loved.