Looking for a deeper solution to personal health care
It’s not uncommon to head to a chiropractor when your lower back is driving you nuts, or your neck is perpetually hurting. But what about when you seem to be a magnet for colds, or when your body feels out of sorts or even when you’re thinking about surgery?Although Dr. Eric Atchison of the Vail Neck & Back Pain Center will be the first to send patients to a traditional M.D. when an illness demands, he contends all too often people focus on the symptoms and not the causes of their aches and pains and illnesses."Chiropractics is about no drugs and no surgery," explains Dr. Atchison.As the firm’s name suggests, Atchison does wonders when his patients come in with an aching back or neck.But it is the philosophy at the Vail Neck and Back Pain Center in Vail’s City Market to delve beyond the immediate pain and look into a patient’s lifestyle for the root cause. Atchison wants to ensure his patients not only recover from this episode of pain but also avoid future episodes all together."Most people think of chiropractors as pain doctors," says Atchison, a graduate of LIFE University.Although, he adds, chiropractors are very good at helping pain, their main focus is on keeping the entire nervous system healthy. "The pain is the first to go away, the easiest to fix."Most chiropractic practices focus on straight chiropractics, says Atchison, and many chiropractors are reluctant to do spinal adjustments, and concentrate on manipulating the muscles instead. But Atchison contends that muscle manipulating only addresses the symptoms. Most muscle pain, he argues, comes from another, deeper source, perhaps a compromised joint or nerve. Research, he says, shows that muscles are the trigger points, but that musclespasms are the body’s way of trying to pull the spinal column back into alignment."We do adjustments and straight chiropractics," Atchison says.The nervous system, Atchison explains further, is the"monster system" in the body, the system that controlseverything else. "If tension or pressure creates interference with any part of the body, the downstream systems get effected as well."By giving a patient a spinal adjustment, Atchison cantake the pressure off the nerve roots of the spinal cord, or relieve pressure elsewhere. This not only addresses the immediate pain, but also may allay future episodes although a series of adjustments may well be necessary.The Vail Neck and Back Pain Center also practices CBP,a diagnostic and restorative practice from the CBP (Chiropractic Bowel Physics). CBP has been around for20 years and is the largest, non-profit research organization in chiropractics. It focuses on the clinical study of the biomechanics of posture.When Atchison examines a patient, after ordering a X-ray, he studies a patient’s posture, measuring the curves in the neck or back to see if they are out of normal proportions. If a patient does not have enough curve, for instance, in his lumbar, it can put undo pressure on his spinal roots or nerves, creating problems, such as disc degeneration, migraines or even contribute to cardiovascular problems. In fact, if the spine is out of alignment, it can compromise the immune system, setting the body up for a host of other problems, says Atchison."What we do is structural rehabilitation," Atchison says. "We put a curve back in your back or neck."But the Vail Back and Neck Pain Center does not stop there. The center believes in the importance of a holistic lifestyle to keep the body healthy.If a patient is interested in continuing with preventative care, Atchison has patients fill out a survey, which includes questions about how they live, the food they eat and a personal history to develop an in-depth case history.Many environmental influences can affect health, including nutrition and the way a patient handles stresses in his or her life."As a chiropractor, our focus is on the whole system," Atchison says. "It’s not just the spinal system, it is the mental health as well."This is where Atchison may confer with his wife and office manager, Jeani-Rose, a health and nutrition counselor who has written two books on healthy eating. (The latest, The Everyday Vegan, is available in stores now.) Jeani-Rose explained that she focuses on the whole food approach and how it affects health. "We try to educate people about how to view their food and what is on their plates and how it nurtures the body."Together, the Atchisons may recommend some incremental lifestyle changes, such as eliminating caffeine,drinking more water, eating healthier foods, or recommending patients to a yoga instructor for stress management exercises."Each person is unique," Jeani-Rose says."Our goal is just to help patients have a healthier lifestyle," Atchison concludes.The entire Atchison family takes part in this holistic lifestyle, including the couple’s three young daughters, who are a familiar and charming presence in the practice, as they are homeschooled in the office."It’s definitely a family affair," says Jeani-Rose.Even if you feel perfectly healthy, Atchison recommends people have alignments to stay in robust health. Many a local skier has discovered the benefits of regular alignments and Atchison can adjusts kids (with a modified adjustment) and even pregnant women Jeani-Rose is a testament to that."When people are adjusted regularly, they tend to have lower virus loads and higher T-cell counts," Atchison says, citing a study conducted by the LIFE University on AIDS patients.Although the Atchisons are new to the valley, having just relocated their practice in Vail in May, Atchison is familiar with the mountains, having grown up near Grand Junction. Both Eric and Jeani-Rose are outdoor enthusiasts; Atchison has even co-invented a new form of recreational white water raft, called Creature Craft, which uprights itself if it is flipped over.The Atchisons are enthusiastic about their new home.As Jeani-Rose says, "This is a great place to raise kids."The Vail Back & Neck Pain Center is offering a holiday special right now that will not only help relieve your pain or stress, but benefit area children as well.From Dec. 26 through Jan. 4, anyone can drop by Vail Back & Neck Pain Center and receive an adjustment for just $15. The proceeds will go to benefit Small Champions, a non-profit organization that helps disabled children engage in the world of sports from skiing and snowboarding to horseback riding.