To keep our bodies healthy and in check, most people go to various doctors for tests and screenings, such as primary doctors for heart checkups and the dentist for cleanings. But when it comes to back and neck pain, Dr. David Tucker of Tucker Chiropractic Center in Langhorne says oftentimes people ignore any symptoms they have until it becomes excruciating, which can be detrimental—not just to the spine, but to their overall health.
“They can get new teeth, but can’t get a new spine,” Dr. Tucker states. “They neglect the spine and compromise their whole health as their nerves control all function.”
According to the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, back and neck pain are in the top five diseases that contribute to disability among Americans, outranking diabetes and chronic pulmonary disease. In addition to waiting until the pain is unbearable to seek treatment, Dr. Tucker says most people see a primary doctor; who will prescribe a pill for possible pain relief, but a good chiropractor will get to the root underlying cause of the pain and physical impingement.
“This rush for drugs happens since people don’t get annual spinal checkups by a chiropractor and wait until they are in a panic state since the pain is so bad and they ask, ‘Do I need injections or surgery?’ They bypass the safest, most conservative starting point—chiropractic. The next thing you know, they are running to their primary doctor for [pain medication],” he says. “The reality is, there is no drug that can realign that joint and you cannot medicate your way out of a physical problem. That’s the issue—people think [by] masking pain they are fixing something, but they absolutely are not.”
Chiropractic is designed to treat nerve obstruction, by a misalignment of one of more of the 24 bones of the spine, and is commonly caused by stress and impacts to the body from poor posture, poor sleeping habits, poor mechanics and various injuries.
“The brain needs to send signals down your spine and it has to be at 100 percent,” Dr. Tucker says. “If the signal is less than 100 percent, it’s because the spine is misaligned and obstructed the nerve flow. Only a chiropractor physically screens for this. That’s unique to us and prevents medical problems that are often overlooked.”
As a result of misalignment or herniated disc injuries, people can suffer from pinched nerves that can cause arm and leg pain, headaches, migraines, and muscle aches, sprains and strains, in addition to back and neck pain. At Tucker Chiropractic Center, Dr. Tucker and his staff treat these issues and more by creating a customized treatment plan for each individual—from infants to seniors—with no pain medication; only conservative care to help stabilize the spine, improve nerve function, and redirect the patient with guidance on better lifestyle choices.
“A lot of people don’t understand what chiropractic is and isn’t,” he says. “They heard from someone who heard something like, ‘it’s aggressive’, but it’s not. An infant does not get the same treatment a 190-pound guy like me would. … The main thing we do is screen for any sort of mechanical dysfunction causing nerve impairment. This strain on the spinal column and nervous system can affect anything potentially. We measure objectively with scans and other tools, where patients are on the spectrum between sick and healthy that is relative to the nervous system and we can catch things before they have severe pain or disease.”
Dr. Tucker has worked with many pioneers in the chiropractic field in his post graduate studies, such as Dr. James Cox, and is also certified in treating degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis of the spine. “We manually decompress the disc versus twisting herniations for people who don’t qualify for tradition chiropractic,” he says. “We see the worst of the worst—many patients that were falsely told they are surgical cases. Although some cases may be, quite often they are not. It is easier to fix patients pre surgery versus post surgery.”
For those who think a chiropractor is only for people with back pain, Dr. Tucker says it’s essential for everyone. He’s had patients—some who originally came in pain and who are now feeling the best they have in 20 years, and others who see him for maintenance—to continue with the gains they have made, such as going to the gym, dentist or practicing yoga.
“I met someone at a party who said to me, ‘You work on backs? Thank gosh I don’t need you.’ That’s where the flaw is,” he says. “They think reactively, ‘Unless I’m in pain or I’m broken, I don’t need you.’ It’s like people who smoke cigarettes that say ‘I don’t need a cancer doctor right now.’ Unfortunately, maybe one year from now they will. Some people wait until crisis, while others are more proactive. Obviously the latter stays healthier and prevents a lot of agony.”
Dr. Tucker admits he was skeptical of chiropractic before going into the field, and it was due to lack of knowledge and education. He says that’s still the case today with some patients and doctors, and that is why he educates his patients on their condition through such detailed work ups and monthly workshops in the community. “We help give patients the tools they need to improve their health dramatically,” he says. “It has to be a team effort because there is a lot of misinformation. There are not enough united messages and that’s why the utilization rate of chiropractic isn’t where it should be. One doctor recommends drugs, another recommends injections and another recommends adjustments. Our belief is natural should be first and drugs and surgery last. This is why we don’t earn any favors by not being pro-pharmaceutical …It makes our field so hard because there’s no commercials on televisions promoting lifestyle and chiropractic like the megaphones saying take this purple pill.”
The staff at Tucker Chiropractic Center is expeditious when booking new patient appointments and makes sure no patient waits longer than a few minutes before seeing one of the doctors. “There’s almost no wait time; there’s no hour [long] wait because we don’t overbook,” Dr. Tucker says. “For us, we spend about 10 hours a week just on non-patient training times. Twenty-five percent of our work hours are prepping on patients, which is pretty rare.”
Dr. Tucker’s passion toward chiropractic care and commitment to giving patients’ relief and living a pain-free life is second to none, and so is treating his patients with the utmost respect.
“We have a simple rule in the office— you treat patients well, everything else happens.”
TUCKER CHIROPRACTIC CENTER
402 Middletown Blvd.
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life Magazine, August, 2017.
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