By Debbie Adams
Vinton chiropractor Dr. Jefferson Kirkland Teass will be retiring on March 31 after 37 years in practice—all in Vinton–and at his location on Virginia Avenue since 1986.
He is originally from Vinton, having lived with his family in an apartment on Blair Street as a child and then in another apartment at the Upson House, which has become the Vinton History Museum. He still has a scar on his forehead from hitting his head on a radiator at the Gus Nicks Furniture Store on Pollard when jumping on the furniture—and falling off–as his mother shopped.
His family later moved to Roanoke, where he graduated from Patrick Henry High School. He earned his undergraduate degree from The College of William and Mary with a major in physical education. His first career was as a physical education teacher for a year in Petersburg. He took a variety of odd jobs, including one at the YMCA where he injured his back during a workout.
The Y then had a health club section patronized by doctors. Most of them suggested surgery would be necessary. One doctor he talked to about his injured back gave him some advice on remedies and then referred him to a chiropractor. The treatments helped him; the healing “intrigued” him; and that’s what led to his interest in a career in chiropractic medicine and years of helping relieve the pain of others.
Teass studied chiropractic medicine at the Palmer College of Chiropractic—Davenport, in Iowa, graduating in 1983. During the wait to take his board exams, he worked under a local chiropractor.
As for how he ended up setting up practice in Vinton that same year, Teass says that his grandparents lived in Bedford where his grandfather owned a farm on Joppa Mill Road. His family passed through Vinton as they visited his grandparents two or three weekends a month.
In researching the competition, he discovered there were no chiropractors in Vinton and made the decision to open here. He first opened the business in a tiny space of 600 square feet in a building near the High’s Ice Cream store. He soon moved to his current location with four times the space.
In his practice he has dealt with skeletal and muscular complaints, back and neck problems, headaches, joint problems, and sports injuries. He is licensed in acupuncture as well.
His wife, Susan Gardner Teass, has been his office manager for almost all of the time the office has been open–they were married in the first year he was in business. He managed the office himself for a few months before then. She is retiring as well as they are closing the practice. Their patients are being referred on to other practitioners in the area; Teass currently remains the only chiropractor in Vinton.
They have two children and two grandchildren–both under five years old—with whom they hope to spend more time with, in retirement. Their son Tyler was memorably born during the Flood of 1985. The couple may do some traveling as well—as long as the destination is not farther than four to six hours drive time. He says, “there is so much to see in Virginia.” He enjoys fishing. His wife thinks he should take up his golf game again.
Teass and his wife have taken active roles in the community over their years of living and working in Vinton. He was a member of the Vinton Host Lions Club for many years when they held their club meetings at the Vinton War Memorial with 50 or so active members. He later joined the Vinton Luncheon Lions.
He has also been involved with the annual Vinton Dogwood Festival and serves as treasurer this year. His wife is the Dogwood Queen’s Court/Reception Coordinator responsible for the procedures leading up to the selection of the queen from among William Byrd High School seniors, and the reception at the War Memorial that recognizes them.
Teass has received many honors in his field. He was named Chiropractor of the Year in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He served as president of the Virginia Chiropractic Association from 1993 to 1995 and was on its board for 15 years serving in various positions. In 2013, he was named Top Chiropractor in the annual “Roanoker Magazine” survey.
Teass says although he is ready to retire and relax, he has enjoyed his years of practice. He has experienced the satisfaction of helping people with their chiropractic problems, and in some instances has been able to help identify serious health issues during examinations. In recent months, he referred a patient on who had a fractured neck although having none of the symptoms.. He “happened to be the person who caught the problem.” Another fortunate happenstance was catching an aneurysm that was presenting as a headache. Sometimes chiropractic treatments have alleviated other issues such as treatment for neck pain helping with sinus pressure.
Teass says that practicing chiropractic medicine has changed over the years. He reminisces that when he first opened his practice hospitals would not release x-rays to chiropractors; now they refer patients to chiropractic doctors. Chiropractors don’t just work in private practices nowadays. Volvo White and the Veterans Administration both have chiropractors on staff or contract with them for services.
Teass will not miss the voluminous paperwork which has come to accompany most types of medical procedures, but he and his wife will miss their patients and the relationships they have formed with them. “It has been our pleasure to serve our patients all of these years!”