Volume No. 16 Issue No. 3 March 2019  

  Chiropractor keeps it simple

     Russell Swain played a lot of sports growing up in Florida football, baseball, basketball. Football in particular took a toll on his body.
   "I kept going to the doctor, 'my neck is hurting.' They give you pain meds and send you on your way," Swain said.
   But the pain persisted. He was a junior at the University of Florida when he went to a health fair and came across a chiropractor. He had no clue what a chiropractor did, he said. "I had just heard that they were quacks." But visiting the chiropractor required only a $4 copay, and he figured he had nothing to lose. With that first visit, he finally got relief from the neck pain.
   He had planned to become an optometrist. But a fellow University of Florida student who was working at the chiropractor's office encouraged him to follow a different path chiropractic school.
   "He said, you're a big athletic guy and you'd be really good at it," Swain recalled. (Chiropractic, as defined by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, is a health care profession that focuses on the relationship between the body's structure mainly the spine and its functioning. Although practitioners may use a variety of treatment approaches, they primarily perform adjustments (manipulations) to the spine or other parts of the body with the goal of correcting alignment problems.")
   Swain went on to earn a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Florida and then went on to Life Chiropractic College in the Atlanta area, where he graduated in 1996. He then had his own practice in South Florida for nine years a busy practice on a busy corner with plenty of competition. But after dislocating his shoulder while working on a professional wrestler, he contemplated a different kind of practice.
   "I didn't think I could do the high-volume chiropractic stuff anymore," he said. He sold his practice and his home; and looking to relocate, he chose Colorado, where he vacationed every year to ski. "Every time I came out here, people were so polite; they opened doors and said please and thank you, Swain said. I thought, that's a way better place to raise my kids."
   When he was in chiropractic school, he worked for a chiropractor "in kind of a Black Forest-type location" who got to know his patients, who was there long enough to take care of one generation, then the next. That is the kind of practice Swain envisioned in moving to Colorado.
   In January 2006, he opened his practice in Black Forest. The family also initially lived in Black Forest, but now live in Meridian Ranch in Falcon. Swain stays busy sometimes "overly busy," he said. But he follows a simple business model. With rare exception, his practice is open to walk-in clients. No appointments, no pressure on patients to commit to "extended care plans."
   Dr. Wayne Huckaby, a chiropractor who had retired after practicing in Santa Ana, California, for 25 years and who now lives in Monument, works at the practice a couple of afternoons each week. And Swain's dog, Bo, is a regular presence in the office. "He knows more people here than I do," Swain said.
   Patients come in with a variety of mostly pain-related complaints neck pain, headaches, lower back pain and more. Though Swain uses different therapies, such as electrical muscle stimulation, most of the treatment is hands on.
   "I work the muscles, I stretch the body out," Swain said. "I don't just adjust." But he doesn't see chiropractic care as a cure-all; for example, he will tell a patient if he believes that person would benefit from surgery.
   Chiropractic care has become mainstream, he said; insurance typically covers it.
   "I rarely have a patient who said, oh, my medical doctor said don't go to a chiropractor. I have a lot of nurses that come in here, I have lots of MDs that come in here, and I don't have to educate them on what chiropractic is. I used to have to educate them all."
   Chiropractic of Black Forest is at 11590 Black Forest Road, Suite No. 20. Phone: 494-0900.
Dr. Russell Swain, a chiropractor, works on a patient at his Black Forest practice. Photo by Bill Radford
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