Chiropractic Medicine, This approach can work out the kinks.

For 54-year-old Bill Radin of Mt. Washington, his chiropractor did much more than realign his spine. It realigned his daily living.
"I can honestly say my chiropractor saved my life," says Radin, who travels frequently, conducting seminars and training for executive recruiters. Other back treatments didn't seem to work for him. "I went from 10 weeks of bed rest, atrophied muscles and an extremely low morale, to a completely upbeat, changed attitude," Radin recalls. "Within a week, I was back at work."

Dr. Philip Carl Rafey, DC, of Rafey Chiropractic & Health Center, Inc., says many people experience a turnaround like this when a chiropractor treats their individualized needs. It's creating a shift in the back-pain treatment paradigm. "Just like people now see the dentist for regular checkups to prevent tooth decay, I think everyone will see their chiropractor for regular checkups to prevent 'spinal decay'," he remarks.

Rafey believes chiropractors are the first line of defense for back pain, with physical therapy (PT) often the next step in the continuum of care for reaching goals during and after chiropractic care. "Once the spine is loosened up and in proper alignment, PT will help hold things there," Rafey explains. "Orthopedic surgery often is a last resort effort."

Rafey combines chiropractic adjustments with physiotherapy, massage and exercises to help patients reach their goals. Others chiropractors, such as Dr. Edward Ira Gould, DC, of Gould Chiropractic Wellness Center in Blue Ash, offer alternative treatments and techniques. One is the Activator, a hand-held, spring-loaded instrument. The Cox Flexion technique is hands-on manipulation/adjustment, utilizing a special table on which the spine is tractioned and flexed forward. The Thompson technique involves a special table with several segments called "drop pieces" that drop a fraction of an inch as a thrust is delivered.

Dr. David M. Sullivan, DC, of the Harrison Chiropractic in Harrison, is president of the Southwest Ohio Chiropractic Association. Restoration of normal spinal function is the goal, he says. He examines patients' activities of daily living and work to pinpoint potentially damaging situations.

Once these mechanical problems"”or what chiropractors call "subluxations""”are addressed, Sullivan says, other ancillary procedures (such as ultrasound, eletric stimulation, heat, ice, cold laser, traction, etc.) can be added to augment the healing process.

Chiropractors don't focus only on musculoskeletal conditions. "[We do] considerable nutritional counseling," Sullivan notes. In fact, he treats numerous non-musculoskeletal ailments, such as asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, migraines and TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint) problems.

Dr. Patricia Bender, RN, DC, DACBOH, vice president of the local chiropractic association, practices at the Cincinnati Rehabilitation Center (CRC). In today's healthcare system, she asserts, chiropractors are among the minority of practitioners who assess the total person, "balances them and makes them whole."

This holistic approach is starting to affect local business' bottom lines, too. Bender says CRC provides many Cincinnati industries with pre-placement exams, drug screening and wellness seminars. "We did a study with one company and found by having a chiropractor in-house one day per week"¦the plant had no lost time that year. All treatments were provided in-house and we saved the company an estimated $1.9 million dollars in worker compensation reserves."