New chiropractor offers affordable relief in Marlinton
Emory Lewis Leaseburg has been a chiropractor in his hometown of Lewisburg for five years. He opened another practice in Marlinton in January for a change of pace.
"I was really looking to be someplace else a couple days a week," said Leaseburg. "I was talking to some patients in Lewisburg; they said they have a place that's been sittin' empty for years. They asked 'You want to check it out?' I said, 'sure.'"
Leaseburg still lives and works in Lewisburg, but his Marlinton location is open Mondays and Thursdays.
Leaseburg's fascination with chiropractic began with an injury earlier in life.
"I hurt my hip. Man, I was dying," said Leaseburg. "I really thought something was terribly wrong, like I'd need surgery to fix it. I went to a chiropractor. Within just a couple minutes I was pain free. I was still sore just because of the trauma of how I hurt it, but that pain I was worried about was gone. Literally just a couple minutes. So, I'm like, what is this chiropractic thing? I'd been to medical school already, I'm like, how come I haven't heard anything about this? That was it."
Leaseburg said he was adjusted on a Monday, he shadowed his chiropractor the next day, and was accepted into chiropractic school by the end of the next week.
"Really chiropractic is working with a person's spine so that you unlock all the body's ability to heal itself," said Leaseburg. "Chiropractic says the body can heal itself if it's given the opportunity. When your spine is locked up, it can't do that. It interferes with your nervous system. The mechanisms and processes the body has in place to keep itself healthy, they don't work right. When the spine is healthy, the body is healthy."
Leaseburg said spine alignment can be the cause of a number of afflictions.
"It's all about trying to get people to understand that their body can heal itself on its own, without medicine. I've had people who had chronic heartburn," he said. "They come in because their hip hurts, you check their whole spine anyway. There's areas in the back that you adjust, and all of a sudden their heartburn goes away. Those were the nerves that were going to their stomach. You see it with all kinds of things. Headaches, migraines, asthma, allergies, infertility. Before I was getting adjusted, I used to catch a cold every year. Now that I've been under regular care, I haven't had a cold in three years. Your body is capable of fighting those things off if your body is healthy."
According to the American Chiropractic Association website, chiropractic is a healthcare profession that focuses on the disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems and the effects on general health.
"Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain,ﾠpain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches. Doctors of Chiropractic - often referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians - practice a drug-free,ﾠhands-onﾠapproach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling."
Leaseburg said unfortunately most of his patients only come in for an appointment when they're in pain.
"It's not about pain, it's about your body working to it's fullest potential," said Leaseburg. "Most people come in because their back hurts or their neck hurts. That's all good because you want them to come in, but it's really about staying healthy. A healthier spine promotes a healthier nervous system. Your nervous system controls absolutely everything that goes on in your body. There's not one single thing that happens in your body without getting its orders from the nervous system first."
Leaseburg said many times, chronic pain from physical trauma might not manifest for years.
"Say you fall down. You don't break anything, but you've misaligned your spine. It's not working right, but you might not have any pain for ten or twenty years. All that time, you're really not working correctly. Finally your body says, 'okay I've had enough, I'm tired.'"
Leaseburg shared some of the background of his profession.
"It's kind of a neat history. In 1895, there was a guy named Harvey Lillard. He owned a janitorial service and rented a space from D. D. Palmer, the father of chiropractic. Seventeen years earlier, Harvey Lillard had picked up a box, he heard a pop in his neck and he went partially deaf. He told that story to D.D. Palmer, who was educated in anatomy and those types of things. Palmer said, 'if you heard that, then you went deaf, there's got to be some cause there.' He checked him as best he knew how, adjusted him as best he could, and Lillard's hearing came back. After being deaf for seventeen years, his hearing comes back, that was 1895. That's the birth of chiropractic."
An appointment at Leaseburg Chiropractic is not a time consuming affair.
"The first visit is a little longer because I have a talk with my new patients," Leaseburg said. "Follow up visits take ten minutes at the most. Initially you'll see people about two times a week for four to six weeks. Some people more, some people less. It depends on a lot of things, if the person is healthy or in good shape, the adjustments hold better. The earlier you start, the better off you are. I've adjusted one-month-olds to people in their nineties. It's proven, people that are under care are healthier than those that don't do it."
Leaseburg said chiropractic appointments are all about maintenance.
"People think, if I don't hurt, I'm not coming. You don't have to have pain to need adjusting," he said. "Our society, we don't fix anything until it needs it. You don't change the way you eat until you need to lose weight, or you've got high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. Chiropractic and dentistry are just about the only two things that are about maintenance or prevention."
Visits generally cost $32 if you don't have health insurance, but to encourage regular visits, Leaseburg cuts a break for patients that are willing to commit to monthly appointments.
"In West Virginia, chiropractic is covered by pretty much every insurance company. If you've got insurance, some people don't pay anything. Some people it's just $7 or $8, it all depends on the plan."
Shawn Ervine, of Marlinton, had never seen a chiropractor before coming to Leaseburg's office, and said he's seen improvement in only three visits.
"I had some lower back pain. My hips seemed to be out of alignment, I guess he's been getting me back in alignment," said Ervine. "I haven't had any of that pain anymore."
Leaseburg said things have been going well since the office opened in January, but he said some people are hesitant to visit a chiropractor for the first time.
"There's been a lot of misinformation that's been put out there, that it's dangerous," he said. "You have a better chance of hurting your neck hitting a pothole or a speed bump than you do from getting adjusted. I have patients who just beg and plead with their friends to come in, and they won't, they're just scared to death."
An appointment Leaseburg begins with the patient's history and a brief explanation of how chiropractic care can help. Leaseburg has the patient sit down while he rotates their neck and head from side to side. Then the patient lies down while Leaseburg checks the patient's spine for flexibility. Next the patient is poked and prodded for a minute or two while Leaseburg determines the source of any discomfort. In many instances, one leg might be slightly shorter than the other and the corresponding back muscles can become very tight while the body tries to compensate. Leaseburg said he sees it all the time.
"Most of the time, a short leg is from a misalignment in the pelvis," said Leaseburg.
Leaseburg then has his patients take a series of deep breaths, and then exhale while he applies a quick, firm push to their upper back. The audible cracking is usually followed by the patient's satisfied moan of appreciation.
Leaseburg recommends that everyone should own an inversion table.
"You lock your feet in, tilt backwards to where your head is below your feet. You'd do that for five or ten minutes. Gravity is constantly squishing us. When you invert 20 or 30 degrees, gravity is stretching you back out. It keeps your discs better hydrated and just healthier."
Leaseburg cleared up some myths about back and neck cracking. According to him, the cracking sound we hear is the release of nitrogen in our joints.
"People really shouldn't do it. It feels good because you stimulate receptors that are in the joints, but you're probably not moving the bone in the direction that it needs to be moved to correct something. It might feel better for awhile, but it doesn't fix it. Walking on your back is okay. I have my son do that all the time," laughed Leaseburg.
Leaseburg also suggests that men that carry a wallet do not sit on it because "they can mess your hips up."
For Leaseburg, chiropractic care might be a solution for affordable, global healthcare.
"I really feel like it can change the world. The philosophy of staying healthy- it's really cheap and effective. When you look at the good it can do, the long term effects, it does wonders. See how you sleep tonight."
Leaseburg Chiropractic schedules appointments on Mondays and Thursdays in Marlinton, just call 304 646 0846.