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5 Tips for Choosing an Expert Chiropractic Care Provider

Are you suffering from back pain and discomfort? Perhaps you’ve been involved in an auto accident or injured at your workplace. You may be suffering from a loss of range of movement, or you’re experiencing pain. An expert in chiropractic care in Richfield, MN, can help. However, it is important that you choose the right provider. The following tips will help.

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Testimonial

Here’s a heartfelt testimonial from a gentleman in a car accident who came in because we mailed him a postcard.  His name is withheld to protect privacy.  This man is 60+ years, fit and very active.

“Vibrant Life Center Testimonial

I make my living in marketing. And if there is one single buzzword we use all the time in our business, it has to be integrated; which means “various parts or aspects linked or coordinated.” In other words, when it comes to marketing, it takes a coordinated combo platter of platforms and programs for a business to be successful. The same is true of our health, and health care providers. It takes an integrated, multi-pronged approach, and a community of caregivers, for us to successfully manage our health.

This was driven home a few months ago as I was driving home from work. On a four-lane surface street, a driver having a medical emergency of some type, had passed out at the wheel, crossed over to my side of the street, and without braking or taking any evasive maneuvers, hit me nearly head on.

The jolt was big, as was the shock. At least physics had provided a little protection. My full-size pickup truck fared better than the other driver’s Honda Accord. And although a quick inventory yielded no broken bones and cuts, my head hurt, as did my neck and back.

I didn’t want to go in an ambulance, but I did want to get seen by an MD immediately, both for peace of mind, as well as for insurance documentation purposes.

The urgent care doctor, who happened to be the father of one of my son’s former classmates, said I was lucky, and that is wasn’t “too serious.”

I took the next couple of days off from work, and that’s about how long it took my home mailbox to fill up with brochures and letters from rehab facilities, personal injury lawyers and chiropractors. It’s kind of overwhelming and intimidating. You know you need some help, but what kind exactly? And from whom?

Fortunately, I am on really good terms with Google, and pretty soon I was filling my brain with information and testimonials and figuring out my next steps.

I had never been to a chiropractor, but my research was pointing me to one in particular, and I walked in to the Vibrant Life Center and a consultation with Dr. Barrett.

As a former D1 soccer player and life-long avid amateur athlete, I was impressed at the number of elite athletes, including Olympians even, Dr. Barrett has worked with.

Nobody wants to maximize their body’s potential more than an athlete, and his experience more reassured me, than impressed me.

I say reassured because I found a whole lot of negative stuff about the chiropractic profession online, and to be honest, it kind of made me a reluctant patient.

I shared some of the studies and stories that most stuck with me, and Dr. Barrett knew them all. He had a well-developed response to each of them, and patiently addressed my concerns.

He didn’t take offense to anything I had to say, and understood I simply didn’t have any personal experience to draw from when it came to forming an opinion about chiropratic care.

After the consultation, Dr. Barrett emailed me a number of gold standard clinical research studies to assuage my concerns.

One of the things that most impressed me about the Vibrant Life Center is their integrated (there’s that word again) approach to health and wellness. It includes not only chiropractic care, but diet and nutrition, massage therapy, targeted exercise, etc.

First though, we were going to go to the film. I really try to limit the amount of x-rays I undergo at the doctor and dentist offices, but Dr. Barrett assured me I could benefit from having a couple taken of my neck and spine so we could see what we were dealing with. And I can tell you, I didn’t like what we saw one bit.

On my neck x-ray, Dr. Barrett pointed out the discs that serve as cushions between the vertebrae. My C3 and C4 disc, between the third and fourth cervical vertebrae, were compressed and squishy, not plump like they should be. When a disc tears, or herniates, its gel-like center is pushed outward and can exert pressure on nearby nerves or the spinal cord.

And the lower part of my spinal cord also showed signs not only of this injury, but a previous injury. Dr. Barrett asked if I had ever been “hit” from the left side. I told him I had been broadsided on the driver’s side of my car by a drunk driver in another accident 10 years ago. He asked what treatment I received, and I told him I was basically uninjured. He said the words automobile accident and uninjured don’t really belong together in the same sentence.

The x-rays were very disturbing. When I look in the mirror, I see the same youthful guy I have been seeing for the past 20 years or so. But when I look at the x-rays, I see a high-mileage body with some significant wear and tear!

Dr. Barrett told me they couldn’t completely undo the damage of the accidents, and certainly couldn’t erase the years, but they for sure could help me repair and recover and get back to a place much better than I would be otherwise.

So I began a weekly regimen of adjustments on my neck and spine from both Dr. Barrett and Dr. Schoenecker, as well as a massage from Sylvia.

I began to feel increasingly better, until one fateful day two months into my recover that really set me back.

I was cleaning out the garage, and as I bent over to grab a 50-lb tube of sand, and move it, I knew l had goofed up. Specifically, I had a severe lumbar strain, a stretch injury to the ligaments, tendons, and/or muscles of the low back. The stretching incident results in microscopic tears of varying degrees in these tissues. Lumbar strain is considered one of the most common causes of low back pain, and it hit me big.

Just as it started to feel a little better though, I must have done something to it again, because the pain began to get worse. Much worse. For the first time in my life I experienced sciatic nerve pain. From my butt, down the back of my leg, and over to the nerves on the front of my right leg, next to the shin.

I tried everything, from my adjustments and massage, to heat, ice, stretching, swimming, hot tubs, a little exercise, no exercise, and on and on.

I couldn’t bike, run, go to the gym, or do any of my normal activities. In fact, as I attempted a walk around Lake Calhoun (I got about 200 yards), the pain was so bad I turned right around, got in my car, and drove to urgent care.

There wasn’t even any relief in the form of a prescription. The muscle relaxers the urgent care doc gave me didn’t work.

But he did give me some advice when I asked him what he thought of the chiropractic profession in general.

He said there are quacks, just like there are in any profession, and he said there are some who make outlandish claims, without the science to back them up, just like in other areas of the medical profession.

He then went on to say he has known some really good chiropractors, who are committed to helping their patients improve their lives. Bottom line, “use your own judgement based on your benefits. If you feel better when you leave there, great, make them a part of your caregiving community. If they’re not helping you get better, then stop seeing them.”

Eventually my pain stopped, and I was able to resume my normal active, athletic activities, relatively pain-free.

And I do always feel better when I leave Vibrant Life Center, physically and emotionally.

From the bubbly, enthusiastic, energetic greeting I always receive from Bridget at the front desk, to the adjustments from Drs. Barrett and Schoenecker, to the skilled massage therapy administered by Sylvia, I have been compassionately cared for by a loving little community called Vibrant Life.

There are others involved in that work…my spouse, my family, my primary care physician, the urgent care docs I have consulted, my Pilates trainer at the gym, a nutritionist who helped me with a gut cleanse, and so on. It takes an integrated, multi-pronged approach.

Integrated. That’s also a buzzword in medicine these days, and not just marketing. Integrative medicine puts the patient at the center of the care and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person’s health…the patient and practitioner are partners in the healing process.

We all need committed, caring partners in life, and while I regret the event that brought me to their doorstep, I don’t regret my decision to make everyone at Vibrant Life Center partners in my recovery. ”

 

Most people are unaware, as was this gentleman, that if your injuries are caused by an accident, you have coverage from your auto insurance.  Even if you already have problems but they are aggravated. You’re still covered.  It works out better to take care of it right away.   This gentleman was concerned about the profession, the means in which he was introduced to our office, but took the time to patiently weigh the evidence and it worked out better for him.  No miracles.  Just a common sense approach to being healthy.

 

Dr. Barrett

It’s not a drug. It’s all natural.

Listening to talk radio today and heard an advertisement for a supplement that “takes care of all my aches and pains”.  The paid spokesman went on and on about how great it is and he has his wife taking it daily too.  It’s all natural. It’s not a drug. 

That pitch, “all natural”, “non drug”, isn’t all it sounds like.  Many of the drugs are derived from the natural source, split into components and delivered in a measured dose.

White willow bark for instance.  It’s a natural pain killer.  Yes, the bark of this tree contains salicylates (salicylic acid = aspirin) which just like aspirin.  Use enough and you will stop your clotting just like aspirin does and have bleeding ulcers, hemorrhagic stroke etc…   Natural is true.  Safe, not so much.

Red Yeast Rice is also natural.  It contains the same chemical that the drug lovastatin uses to artificially lower cholesterol…. and dissolve your brain and damage muscle tissue and increase your risk of death from all causes, but I digress.  The “natural” label doesn’t confer any special safety on the product.

Marijuana or CBD is probably the most popular and talked about recently.  There are lots of examples.   But, here’s the pitch cut and pasted directly from the website in the advertisement I heard.  The name of the product isn’t important.  The idea behind using it is.

“Our Story

Pain is a key reason why people go to a doctor. X was designed to help your body reduce pain associated with aging, exercise, and everyday living. Physicians at a well-known clinic in the Pacific Northwest were asked by their patients to create a 100% drug-free supplement to help their bodies lower or eliminate pain. As a result of much research, four ingredients were combined together in one amazing product that we now call X.

Our Product

X is a powerful and unique combination of botanical ingredients and fish oil. It was formulated by physicians and is now trusted by many thousands to provide ongoing relief from their pain…back, neck, shoulder, hip and knee pain, including general muscle aches and pains.”

This thinking, “ongoing relief from the pain….” isn’t consistent with health.  It is what I call a drug approach, even though it’s not a drug.  It’s using a chemical to treat a symptom, pain in this case, rather than correct the cause.

Pain is there to signal your brain to quit doing what you’re doing to prevent further damage.  Would you take a supplement that allowed you to avoid feeling heat so you could grab a pan out of the oven with no hot pad or oven mitt?  It would still burn your skin, you just couldn’t feel it.  Does that seem reasonable?

Why then, does it seem reasonable to take supplements, let alone medications, that cover of the symptoms of damage occurring?  This doesn’t make drugs wrong.  It makes how some use them cause more problems.

Using medications or supplements to control a symptom so you’re not miserable and can sleep can be a good thing…. while you work on the actual problem.  But, taking supplements or medications daily to control a symptom is an indication that the problem’s cause hasn’t been addressed.

Finding and correcting the cause of the problem is how people actually heal.  Supplements don’t do that.  Medications don’t do that. Doctors don’t do that.  Only the power that made you can do that.

The interference to your body running properly needs to be identified and corrected.  It could be a steady diet of Pop Tarts.  Not usually.  People with health problems usually have already started on a path to correcting their diets.  The reason that doesn’t always work is because the control system in the body loses it’s connections due to physical trauma.  “Trauma” isn’t always falling out of a building or a car accident.  Repetitive micro-trauma (factory work) and postural distortions due to work demands also cause this.

Somebody’s got to get to the cause of the problem.  Taking supplement X isn’t going to solve it.  It will help to add things like fish oil, resveratrol, probiotics and other things your body can use to heal.   But, they aren’t the “treatment”.

Start with the understanding that your body knows what it’s doing.  It’s not making a mistake. This is a fundamental difference in approach we use.  Our culture, pushed by Pharm and the medical industry, has sold an idea that is flawed.  The idea that you take this for that, and go to work is why our friends and family are getting sicker.  It’s why our country spends more than double any other country on the planet on drugs and surgery.  It’s why our kids born today will not live as long as we will.  It’s why we are sick.

The lifestyle of eating live and organic, keeping your nerves working properly, getting oxygen to all the cells in your body, resting well and having great relationships, is what will keep you healthy, running fast, jumping high and living life to the fullest for as long as possible.

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