Improving lives one spine at a time: Local chiropractor celebrates 20 years of service
Published 10:21 am Friday, October 2, 2015
Chiropractor Mark Giust has carefully cultivated his practice in the same location on Brookway Boulevard for 20 years now. Giust has enjoyed adjusting patients to eliminate pain and said if he only had a nickel for every time someone said “I wish I’d been here sooner.”
Giust said the chiropractic profession deals with the treatment of musculoskeletal and the nervous systems and the effects those systems have on general health.
“The muscles, ligaments and bones and the nervous system controls, coordinates and directs the activity of everything in the body,” Giust said. “So when that system gets out of kilter we have problems.”
He likened this relationship to a sports team. If a player is sitting down on the court or not playing the game like he’s supposed to, one can see how that affects the rest of the team. If our spine is not functioning correctly, it can affect the rest of the team.
“Maybe that’s due to falls or accidents or traumas, it can be a lot of small little injuries. Maybe the person doesn’t exercise very well, doesn’t have good muscle tone. Maybe their job puts them in positions that are stressful,” Giust said. “These vertebrae become misaligned and that can create swelling, muscle tension and it can sometimes pinch on nerves. That’s where the relationship between the systems begin.”
Giust said when new patients come in he looks at the whole picture to develop a plan, including x-rays, the person’s exercise habits and histories. Using a diversified technique, Giust said there are different approaches for different people, including: relaxing table-assisted adjustments, instrument-assisted techniques and other applications such as massage therapy and nutritional support.
“We’re all here to help them just get that best function back to their spine,” he said. “To get their muscle patterns changed to where they can stand straighter, be healthier and live longer with less pain and discomfort.”
Over the last 20 years the medical community has come to embrace chiropractic more. Double-blind studies show chiropractic plays an important role people get back to work sooner, helping them quicker and with less cost
than traditional methods. Giust said a challenge he faces is people who are fearful because of ideas that having their spines adjusted is painful.
“When we show them what we do, more people say ‘Oh that’s all there is to it? I wish I would’ve been in here years ago.’ Then I know I’ve done my job,” he said. “I would hate to see someone never come and visit me because of that fear of the unknown, when we are one of the safest professions around.”
Giust said the most difficult part of his job — like most doctors — is getting patients to make the healthy lifestyle choices that can improve or even eliminate the problem or need for medication. He said this is easier said than done with all we are bombarded with on a daily basis that makes us stray from what we should do.
“Once I get them out of pain and they’re happy […] and they’re getting what they came here for, I want to try to help educate them: ‘How can we prevent this from happening again? Are there things I can do?’” Giust said. “If we can eat better and exercise better and keep that spine functioning the best that we can, we’re going to be healthier people.”
Giust said because the issue of back pain is so common, affecting up to 80 percent of Americans at some point in their lives, he sees patients of all age groups and lifestyles. Giust sees young athletes and older folks regularly, though most of his patients are between 35 and 50. The most common complaints are low back pain and neck pain, Giust said, and then shoulder pain, leg pain, hip pain and issues with joints like elbows or knees.
Giust said while one doesn’t need a doctor referral to see a chiropractor, many referrals come to him from neurosurgeons. He explained that because neurosurgeons know about chiropractic’s conservative and effective methods, patients who don’t yet need surgery are often sent to them. Issues like a small disc bulge can be worked through with adjustments rather than medication and surgery that might not be necessary or successful.
“We’ve touched a lot of lives in this area and I hope that we’ve been known for giving great service and treating patients the way they would like to be treated,” Giust said. “And certainly we dedicate ourselves to [the idea that] if I can’t help you, I’m going to make sure you get to the doctor you need to go to.”