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We Have Too Much Healthcare and That’s a Problem

On Target Article – Tide is Changing

Robert J. Ault, D.C., M.B.A., CCSP

As a follow-up to the article I wrote, in the last issue of On-Target, regarding healthcare and technology, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan are now joining forces to take on the healthcare industry.  The CEO’s of these powerful companies, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Jamie Damon have publicly stated that they vow to use “technology” as their main method for solving the healthcare riddle.

I have to again, reiterate my position from my last article, which is… technology is not the answer to fix our healthcare system.  There is no doubt that Bezos, Buffet, and Damon are the titans of their industries, but retail, investing, and banking are not healthcare and thus technology alone cannot solve the healthcare industry. 

Let me ask any of you practicing chiropractors who’ve ever switched over to Electronic Health Records from paper charts.  Did your EHR raise your expenses (cost of the software, data management, PC’s, IT professionals) even though you were promised that EHR’s would lower your costs?!  Exactly.

Sure, healthcare is a messy industry, and yes technology can increase some efficiencies in our offices, but a main driver for fixing the ballooning costs of our healthcare system, technology is not.  I would make the argument that the healthcare industry would better be fixed if there was just “less” of it. 

There is too much healthcare in this country, and that is a problem.  A value-driven approach has the potential to fix this broken system.  On the surface, what I just said may sound crazy, but read on and maybe I can convince you.

Americans filled a record 4.5 billion prescriptions in 2016, that is nearly double the 2.4 billion filled in 1997, according to Consumer Reports.  Did disease in our nation double in the past 20 years?!  The answer is of course no.  What we have on our hands is a crisis of what is appropriate for a patient.  Consumer Reports stated that more than 50% of all Americans are on four or more prescription medications.  This is a sign of how entrenched our problem has become.  Our nation has created the “medicalization of daily life.”

I have no doubt that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan can easily influence and lower healthcare costs, by negotiating lower bulk pricing and reducing supply chain costs.  I can also easily see them muscling out the pharmacy benefit managers, and insurance middlemen to lower the costs of prescription medications, but the real question should be… Do people even need these medications?  As chiropractors, we already know the answer to this question.

We cannot forget that medications cause health problems as well.  The opioid crisis just happens to be one of the many expensive and deadly problems that have developed due to overprescribing and thus “too much healthcare.”

If Jeff Bezos wants to be a true innovator and disruptor to the healthcare industry like one very famous disruptor, B.J. Palmer, then he needs to start listening to the healthcare providers that are on the frontlines of this battle in his own state. 

According to a new detailed report provided by 21 Washington state physicians, who are part of the non-profit, Washington Health Alliance, 45% of the healthcare services that were provided were, upon examination, determined unnecessary.  It showed that 600,000 patients in Washington underwent medical services that they did not need at a cost of $282 million in one year.

When these costs were broken down, examiners found that 22% of prescription meds, 25% of medical tests, and 11% of medical procedures were unnecessary. 

Let us not forget that the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S., behind heart disease and cancer, is medical care.

For years the question has been, “How do we pay for the broken healthcare system?” Perhaps the real question should be, “How do we fix the broken healthcare system?”

The answer I would start with would be to expand payment models for rewarding those health providers that are delivering high-value and low risk healthcare options to their patients, and not just dishing out “more healthcare.” 

If there was only some type of healthcare discipline that existed in our country that was high value, extremely low risk, and much less expensive than traditional medical care…

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High-Tech Healthcare: Don’t Believe the Hype

Will advanced technology transform and therefore save the American Healthcare System?  Will fancy wearable devices, mobile apps, and patient tracking software make Americans healthier?  Don’t count on it.

Silicon Valley experts are seeing a future in which doctors and patients alike are tracking health conditions in real time to ensure healthy habits and compliance with medicine and therapy treatment protocols.

Does all this sound too good to be true?!  Because it is.  High-tech will indeed change the practice of healthcare, but more by augmenting current norms, not revolutionizing it as predicted by tech gurus.  Sure, computers could make radiologists and pathologists obsolete by better interpreting blood labs, x-rays, CT and MRI scans, and pathology slides than humans can do.  Super computers can easily digest billions of data points much more easily than humans and thus can make a more accurate diagnosis for an ailing patient and in less time.  But is this the real problem with the American Healthcare System?  The answer is no.

America’s currently unsolved healthcare crisis is how to change the behaviors and attitudes of the American patient.  According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), 86% of all U.S. healthcare spending is for patients with chronic illness such as:  heart disease, diabetes, emphysema, arthritis, etc. 

How are we to make real solutions for these problems?  We need to drastically lower the number of Americans who suffer from these diseases by getting them to change their habits and lead a healthier lifestyle.  This lifestyle should include eating a healthy diet, exercising, not smoking, engaging in conservative pain management protocols such as chiropractic instead of opioids, and engaging in healthy stress management protocols.

Current studies suggest that no matter how fancy or ingenious the newest gizmo is, high-tech interventions have absolutely failed to improve patients’ health.  In one 2016 study in the journal, Lancet, researchers at Duke-NUS Medical School randomly assigned employees from 13 organizations to one of four groups, in an effort to encourage exercise.  One group got a Fitbit Zip tracker, two other groups got a Fitbit Zip tracker plus money that they could use for themselves, and the last group got no tracker.

Do you want to guess what happened?  The study found that the device increased moderate-to-vigorous activity by 20 – 30 minutes per week for the first six months, but only when cash incentives were in play.  When cash incentives were discontinued, physical activity returned to pre-intervention levels.

Again, technology is fantastic at aggregating data and turning it into useful information, but a lack of data is NOT the main challenge.  The real challenge lies in changing patients’ behaviors and habits before a health problem is even identified.  Prevention is key.  And as behavioral economics reminds us, information does NOT change behavior.  Smokers know that they shouldn’t smoke.  Obese people know that they should lose weight.  But this requires changing habits and daily routines and unfortunately the current data shows that the only way to change a patient’s behavior in a long-lasting way is by providing financial incentives.

Financial incentives are decidedly not high-tech, but what they are is high-touch and thus will remain the most effective prescription for treating America’s Healthcare Crisis.  Whether it’s by employers paying their employees more money to be healthier, or by insurance companies lowering their premiums for their healthier customers, America’s Healthcare Crisis will not be fixed by the latest tech breakthrough, or by finding the latest cure, but it CAN be solved by simple economics.  Business can be used as a force for good and with over 20% of the U.S. GDP tied up in healthcare, it needs to be.

 

 

*Emanuel, Ezekiel J., The Hype of Virtual Medicine, The Wall Street Journal, Saturday/Sunday, November 11 – 12, 2017

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Long-Term Relief: The Importance of Routine Chiropractic Care

Achieving a Pain-free Lifestyle Though Regular Chiropractic Care.

Chiropractic care works around the principle that the relationship between the body’s structure and its function affects health. The spine not only acts as the main support for our body, it also protects the spinal cord, which connects a large part of the peripheral nervous system to the brain. This is why a minor injury to the spine or overuse of muscles can significantly alter a body’s strength, sensation, and performance.

The rise and advancement of chiropractic treatments over the last decade coincides with the growing prevalence of chronic low back pain and other muskoskeletal conditions. Spinal manipulation or correction is the most common treatment sought by patients in the US. This has prompted researchers to study the effectiveness and safety of such treatments, and the most recent finding is that regular chiropractic care plays an important role in restoring health.

Benefits of Regular Chiropractic Care

A study conducted by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) reveals that spinal manipulation or mobilization is an effective treatment for adults with acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain, migraine, and cervicogenic headache and dizziness. It also proves to be an effective treatment for several extremity joint conditions.  Thoracic manipulation also offers healing benefits to people with acute or subacute neck pain.

When enhanced with other soft tissue techniques and therapeutic exercises, manipulative treatments can effectively correct an injury and restore the body’s optimal function. Maintenance care also prevents minor injuries from becoming permanent and allows for improved posture, enhanced function, and better endurance and athletic performance.

Advanced Techniques and Treatments

A substantial body of literature exists to support the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic care. Advanced tools and methods are in place to make treatments more cost-effective and comfortable for patients. The literature also states that a manual correction approach proves to be the most effective approach to chiropractic spinal manipulation.

The Insight Subluxation Station is a surface EMG (electromyography) technology also widely used by chiropractors to properly diagnose a condition and develop a personalized care plan for each patient.

The Holistic Approach to Long-Term Wellness

A holistic approach is common among advanced chiropractic maintenance care. In addition to a personalized treatment program, practitioners would suggest other rehabilitative exercises and soft tissue therapies, as well as dietary and lifestyle modifications.

Practitioners at Ault Chiropractic of Hudson and Brimfield stress that regular visits to a chiropractor helps ensure the continued health of your muskoskeletal system so you can engage in the activities you love. Long-term care also helps you avoid future aches and pains, as your chiropractor can detect and correct minor misalignments before they become symptomatic.

Millions of Americans suffering from joint problems and chronic pain dream of having a pain-free life. While medication therapies offer quick fixes to these problems, routine chiropractic care offers long-term relief. Chiropractic care does focus on protecting and enhancing the communication pathways of the spinal cord and nerve roots, thus safely managing pain and a range of conditions without the use of drugs.

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winter

Why You Should See Your Chiropractor During Winter

Winter is a season when many individuals experience health issues that can make everyday life rough. Whether it is a cold, flu, or a skiing injury, many people will find their overall health compromised at some point during winter.

Thankfully, chiropractic care can help keep you healthy during winter. Paying a visit to your chiropractor during the cold season can help reduce, if not prevent, health problems as well as keep you feeling your best. If you are thinking of skipping that chiropractor visit, these reasons should convince you to undergo chiropractic care.

Combat Cold and Flu

When people think of winter health problems, cold and flu are the first two things that come out of their minds. The months of December, January and February can trigger a rise in bacteria and viruses in human populations. Fortunately, you can strengthen the immune system of your body by undergoing chiropractic care. This form of care allows you to fight off cold and flu by fortifying your immune system. Moreover, it improves the communication between the brain and the rest of the body and fixes the alignment to the vertebrae.

Prevent Depression

Besides cold and flu, another frequent problem during winter is depression. SAD, which stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a condition where people experience symptoms of standard depression during the winter months. Chiropractic care can help individuals with SAD by stimulating their central nervous system and regulating their hormone production.

Stop the Body from Getting Stiff

Winter can make people’s muscles stiff. Apart from becoming inflexible, you may find it difficult to stretch your muscles. Instead of expanding, your muscles contract to keep you warm. When you visit your chiropractor, he or she will help keep the stiffness away by ensuring that your spine stays properly aligned.

Reduce Body Pain

If you have arthritis, know that winter weather can bring additional pain to your joints. Experiencing pain can lead to more discomfort and a decrease in mobility. With a few gentle spinal adjustments, however, you can move your joints without much discomfort and stiffness and alleviate additional inflammation due to the cold weather.

Apart from minimizing joint pain, chiropractic care reduces back, and neck pain caused by factors like joint restriction, joint dysfunction, and muscle imbalances. Your chiropractor will help preserve the flexibility of your spinal joints to help you move freely.

Minimize the Risk of Winter Sport Injuries

Beginners who ski and play other winter sports can develop musculoskeletal injuries. If you injure yourself after playing a winter sport, seek help from a chiropractor. Rebuilding your coordination and strength with proper chiropractic care is possible. Additionally, your chiropractor will help you recover faster to allow you to resume your activities throughout the winter.

If you are looking for an experienced chiropractor during the winter season, don’t hesitate to go to Ault Chiropractic of Hudson and Brimfield. The chiropractic care we provide utilizes state-of-the-art chiropractic techniques. Moreover, our chiropractors, Drs. Robert and Rebecca Ault, have extensive experience and training in spinal adjustment. They will help you reach your wellness goals.

Contact us today to request an appointment.

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lifestyle

Adjust to a Healthier Lifestyle in 2018!

With 2018 approaching, it’s time to start thinking about how you can improve your overall health and well-being. Ault Chiropractic encourages you to start the year off right by committing to a healthier lifestyle. Making strides to your health now will make a positive impact on the year ahead and help prevent painful injuries in 2018. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Exercising Properly.

We teach our patients special “blueprint” exercises designed just for them to help strengthen and correct their own unique problem. These exercises can be performed in the comfort of your own home and can improve the effectiveness of your spinal correction. In addition to skeletal misalignment, muscles and connective tissues can be out of place or strained by improper alignment and use. Specific exercises and stretches can help your body stay in balance and in health.

Not only will proper exercising decrease your risk of obesity and diabetes, it can also help reduce back pain and other neuromusculoskeletal symptoms. Increasing the amount of moderate activity such as brisk walking, riding a bike, or general gardening by less than 20 minutes a day can reduce back pain.

Balanced Lifestyle.

We often find it helpful to “coach” our patients on certain activities they should avoid or do differently to avoid aggravating their health challenge. Our goal is to help every patient achieve a fulfilling and happy lifestyle full of the activities they enjoy most. We recognize that each our patient is a whole person, and help them reach true health and wellness is a collaborate effort between our professionals and our patients.

Eating Right.

We provide specific recommendations on nutritional supplements and healthy food choices to enhance our patient´s return to optimal health. We can provide a structured nutritional program based on your individual needs.

Hydrating is also key to keeping your body happy and healthy. Stick to water, natural juices, and other decaffeinated beverages.

Avoid Over-Medicating.

Every day, more than 1,000 people are treated in the ER for misusing prescription opioids. From 2000 to 2015 more than half a million people died from drug overdoses. Nine Ohioans die every day from an opioid overdose according to Ohio Atty General Mike DeWine.

Beyond the risks of addiction and overdose, prescription drugs that numb pain may convince a patient that a musculoskeletal condition is less severe than it is or that it has healed. This misunderstanding can lead to overexertion and a delay in the healing process…or even permanent injury.

A non-invasive, non-drug treatment like chiropractic’s approach to pain management is an important first line of defense against pain and addiction caused by the overuse of prescription opioid pain medications.

Be Conscious of Your Posture.

The stress from poor posture can lead to back pain by causing problems with your muscles, discs, and joints. While walking, it’s important to look straight ahead of you and to keep your head balanced straight above your spine. Avoid dropping your shoulders. When sitting, keep your arms flexed at a 75 to 90-degree angle at the elbows.

If you lift something heavy, bend your knees and keep your back straight. This way, your leg muscles will do most of the work.

Maintenance is Key to Healthy Living.

Just like continuing an exercise program and eating well to sustain the benefits of exercise and proper diet, it is necessary to continue chiropractic care to ensure the health of your musculoskeletal system. Research has shown that routine chiropractic adjustments help maintain proper biomechanics of the spine, reduces the stress hormone cortisol and boosts the presence of infection-fighting antibodies in the body.

When you make routine chiropractic care a part of your lifestyle, you avoid many of the aches and pains that so many people suffer through.  Also, your joints will last longer, and you will be able to engage in more of the activities you love.

Implementing a well-balanced diet and lifestyle will help make 2018 the best year yet! For more guidance, contact us today.

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chiropractic

October is National Chiropractic Month!

National Chiropractic Health Month is a nationwide event occurring every October that raises public awareness of the benefits of chiropractic care and its natural, whole-person, patient-centered approach to health and wellness. As America’s opioid addiction continues to rise, so does the need for non-addictive solutions. We want to help spread awareness on the amazing ways chiropractic care can help improve your physical health and overall wellbeing by using a natural, drug-free solution.

Main problem areas chiropractic care help treat:

  • Back pain (lower back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide)
  • Neck pain
  • Pain in the joints of the arms or legs
  • Headaches
  • Asthma
  • Pregnancy pain

Why seek chiropractic care?

Records from insurance and court cases have shown that chiropractic is the safest portal of entry health care available to the public today. Tens of millions of people around the world routinely choose chiropractic services and this number is continuing to grow. Chiropractic is non-invasive, drugless form of health care that needs to be considered.

According to The American College of Physicians (ACP), prescription opioids should be a last resort for those suffering from lower back pain, as the risk of addiction and overdose may outweigh the benefits.

Did you know?

  • It is estimated that chiropractors treat more than 35 million Americans (adults and children) annually.
  • 95 percent of past-year chiropractic users say it’s effective, and 97 percent of past-year chiropractic users are likely to see a chiropractor if they have neck/back pain.
  • In a consumer survey, chiropractic outperformed all other back pain treatments, including prescription medication, deep-tissue massage, Yoga, Pilates, and over-the-counter medication therapies.
  • Replacing a visit to a doctor with a visit to a chiropractor for back pain, could save Medicare $83.5 million every year.
  • Chiropractors are the highest rated healthcare practitioner for low-back pain treatments above physical therapists (PTs), specialist physician/MD (i.e., neurosurgeons, neurologists, orthopedic surgeons), and primary care physician/MD (i.e., family or internal medicine).

Our Main Solutions

  • Spinal adjustments
  • Physiotherapies
    • Graston Technique
    • Ultrasound
    • Electrical Muscle Stimulation
    • Mechanical Traction
    • Cryotherapy
    • Injury Specific Rehabilitation Program
    • Kinesio Taping
  • Wellness Program
    • Corrective Exercises
    • Lifestyle Advice
    • Nutritional Advice

Contact us today to learn more about our services!

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back pain

5 Myths About Back Pain

How much do you really know about back pain?  Test your knowledge with these 5 common myths that have been debunked about back pain.

Myth 1: Severe back pain correlates to the level of back damage

The amount of damage to your back isn’t always parallel to the extent of your pain. Most people are under the assumption that if they don’t feel any pain that there is nothing wrong with them – that they are healthy. Unfortunately, pain is a very poor indicator of health. In fact, pain and other symptoms frequently only appear after a disease or other condition has become advanced.

For example, consider a cavity in your tooth. Does it hurt when it first develops or only after it has become serious? How about heart disease? Regardless of whether you are talking about cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stress or problems with the spine, pain is usually the last thing to appear. When you begin chiropractic care, pain is also the first symptom to disappear, even though much of the underlying condition remains.

Myth 2: Back pain is hereditary.

For the most part, your genetics do not play a significant role in the cause of your back pain. Just because your parents or immediate family suffer from back pain, doesn’t mean you are doomed to as well. What can be passed down, however, is lifestyle choices. If your family does not live a healthy lifestyle of eating right and exercising, this can influence your actions which, in turn, can lead to serious back aches.

(Learn more about how we “create an outstanding patient experience” here)

Myth 3: There is a generalized cure for most symptoms of back pain.

Every body is unique and different and therefore, each person requires a unique and customized treatment and wellness plan. The treatment we provide you is based on several factors such as your health-related issues and concerns, types of treatments you are open to, results from the neurologic and orthopedic testing, x-ray results (if needed), and your past medical history. We take each of these into consideration when suggesting the most effective treatment for your unique condition.

Myth 4: Staying in bed is the key to recovering from back pain.

Although bed rest will help alleviate back pain, it is only recommended for a couple of days. Inactivity can even worsen your pain if you remain immobile for an extended period. Rehabilitation and physical therapy are highly recommended to get you back up and moving.

Myth 5: Sitting up straight will prevent back pain.

Your posture should be relaxed with the natural curvature of your spine. If you are positioning your body at an over exaggerated, ninety-degree angle, you will put a strain on your spinal disks and associated muscles and tendons. This type of “perfect posture,” tightens your muscles and positions your back in an unnatural way. There is no perfect posture that can be held for a significant about of time. You should change your position throughout the day, even if you are simply sitting at your desk.

If you have any questions on what is true and what is a myth about back pain, feel free to email us or give us a call today! Contact our office here.

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children

Are School Sports Affecting Your Child’s Physical Development?

Pediatric Chiropractic

School is back in session! While focusing on school work can exhaust your child’s mind, school sports are also taking a toll on their body. Participating in school sports allows your child to exercise and stay active, but it can come at a price if you are not careful. Youth sports can physically strain your child’s developing structure and can affect their growth. Fortunately, with the proper education and preventative measures, you can lessen sports-related injuries to your child, and let them get back to enjoying their games!

A study of athletes by the Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation concluded that athletes who received 12 weeks of chiropractic care exhibited 30 percent improvement in reaction time, versus a group with no chiropractic care.

The Statistics.

  • The number of kids who play organized sports each year – 36,250,000
  • Percent of parents who are worried about injuries in youth sports – 87 %
  • Percent of kids who play sports outside of school – 60 %
  • Percent of boys who play organized sports – 66 %
  • Percent of girls who play organized sports – 52 %

More than 3.5 million children ages 14 and younger get hurt annually playing sports or participating in recreational activities. More than 775,000 children, ages 14 and younger, are treated in hospital emergency rooms for sports-related injuries each year. Most of the injuries occurred because of falls, being struck by an object, collisions, and overexertion during unorganized or informal sports activities.

According to the CDC, more than half of all sports injuries are preventable. Overuse injuries are responsible for nearly half of all sports injuries to middle and high school students. 

Younger athletes are more susceptible to injuries because they have slower reaction times than adults, they are less coordinated, and they are still growing and developing. Many injuries result from overuse, which comes from placing stress on the musculoskeletal system.

Benefits of seeing a Chiropractor for youth sports
Seeing a chiropractor when involved in youth sports helps prevent injuries and/or manages existing injuries while improving athletic performance. The chiropractic physicians at Ault Chiropractic can educate you and your children on wellness techniques as well as biomechanical injuries and their treatment options. Implementing routine chiropractic care throughout sports-related activities can decrease neck and back pain and will allow your children’s joints to function better in the activities that they love.

Tips to consider

  • Always wear protective equipment correctly.
  • Make sure your coach is properly training your kids (only 1 in 5 coaches of youth teams of children under age 14 say they have been properly trained).
  • Drink plenty of water and eat well-balanced meals.
  • Stretch and warm-up accordingly before practice and cool-down after practice.
  • Get plenty of rest and avoid being overworked.
  • Work on managing the mental stress competitive sports can cause.

Be sure to keep you kids in prime playing condition and encourage you to add chiropractic to your child’s training schedule! Also, Drs. Robert and Rebecca Ault are Certified Chiropractic Sports Physicians, which makes them uniquely qualified chiropractic physicians. They are experts in helping your children with their sports injury and wellness needs.

Make an appointment for your athlete at our Hudson Chiropractic Office or our Brimfield Chiropractic Office here.

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summer

With Great Summers Come Post Summer Aches

Summers in Northeast Ohio are full of fun adventures. Hiking, biking, kayaking, and outdoor activities are great for bonding with family and friends, while staying in shape, but they take a toll on your body and can leave your muscles tired and weak.

These physical activities often performed in the summer-time can lead to improper biomechanics of spinal joints, muscles, and connective tissue. The following are a few lesser known summer activities that can cause damage to your body.

Summer Traveling

Summer travel can also lead to spinal dysfunction and therefore pain in the back and/or neck. Hours spent in a cramped plane or car can cause your body to be in uncomfortable and damaging positions. Traveling can also mean you will be sleeping in an unfamiliar bed, which often causes your body to ache.

Outdoor Sporting Events

When your child is involved in sports, summertime can become hectic when running around from game to game. While it’s exciting to watch them play, cheering them on in the bleachers can cause spinal dysfunction and pain in your lower back and neck. Stadium seating is typically not supportive or comfortable to sit on for an extended period. Over the course of the summer, these bleachers will leave your body suffering.

Gardening and Yardwork

Gardening and yard work can lead to overreaching, improper twisting and bending, and poor posture. These can harm your body, stress your muscles, and may cause spinal injuries. Using shovels and heavy tools for yard work physically exerts your body and can cause long-term effects.

It is important to remember that pain is not the only indicator that something is structurally wrong. Getting in tune with your body is extremely important. It is best to regularly get checked out to make sure that your body is in optimal condition for summer activities. 

Before you resort to taking pills for temporary relief, try visiting your local chiropractor. Our team can diagnose what is dysfunctional in your body and find the best, natural and drug-free solution to relieve your pain. Your joints will function more optimally and you will be able to engage in more of the activities you love. Just request an appointment and you’ll be ready for your next adventure! 

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