LHC- Hello there and welcome to “Let's make a Health Connection”, your Local Health Connect podcast series in Vancouver, Washington. In this series we interview and showcase the many healthcare providers and resources that are featured on our website, localhealthconnect.com. For those of you who don't know us yet, Local Health Connect is a hub where our community can easily search local resources and connect with providers for mind, body and spirit health. Thanks for listening today. I'm Jennifer Barber, a licensed clinical social worker in Washington and Oregon and I'm happy to be part of our community of providers.
Today we are talking to Dr Roger Barnick of Barnick Chiropractic. He is a practicing chiropractor in the Salmon Creek area of Vancouver, specializing in family care. He has cared for patients as young as teeny tiny all the way up into their 90s. He tells me he has the honor of helping some people through the darkest times in their lives as well as having fun helping people who are high performing athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. Roger, you have been a chiropractor for 17 years. What is up with that?
RB- I don't feel like I'm old enough to think of doing anything for 17 years but that's what the numbers suggest. Yes 2004, October 28th. I adjusted Johnny, my first patient. I won't give you his last name but he knows who he is and I still remember that day I went up to the state capitol. I was in Mississippi at the time and got my license that morning. I came back that afternoon and did my first official chiropractic visit and it was awesome. 17 years later I'm loving it more than ever.
LHC- We are so glad to have you here in Vancouver. I just want to thank you for doing the interview today. You shared with me earlier that you really have appreciated being able to serve the community especially during this time of covid, during this pandemic. i'm so curious about what it's been like working in such a high contact environment over this last year and a half?
RB- Well. I think I probably felt what everybody felt when we went into this last spring, winter and spring of last year and that was first of all confusion and then, second of all, what can I do to help. I think that is our natural humanitarian inclination. And it was a situation where you know so many people had no no way to help. The most they could do to help was stay home and stay away from people and that's not very, you know, that's not how people want to help. But I have the privilege of meeting people, giving them the opportunity to connect with somebody face-to-face, person-to-person and actually touch and be touched in a professional nurturing way. As a chiropractor, and that was just a lifeline for a lot of people honestly, it was really an anchor to the world that we were kind of forced to leave behind for a season.
LHC- I imagine that would be a little bit scary in the beginning. “Oh yes, I'm gonna keep my practice going during this time?”
RB- Well there were practices that were okay in the state of Washington. We had the choice. we could close or we could open. There were practices that closed thinking that that was the best thing they could do for the population. The chiropractic profession has always been built on the principle that health comes from the inside and that chiropractic adjustments help the body function at its best. We knew we were working with the virus and the only way to fight a virus is with natural immunity. and you know if you get something like the flu virus, there's some medical intervention but mostly they say rest, drink fluids, eat well, that sort of thing. So we know that fighting that virus comes from the inside and chiropractic has always been based on the idea that we could nurture and amplify that healing response by taking care of the body. And so I trusted that principal, trusted my education and my philosophy and decided to keep the doors open. And I'm so glad we did.
LHC- Yes so great can you talk a little more about how chiropractic activates that healing response? What's actually going on inside the body?
RB- That is a really really good question and very interesting. Let us compare it to something that's maybe more familiar to anyone that is listening to this. We eat food and we know that that food affects our health and we don't know exactly what an ideal diet is but we know kind of what it is. You know, close to nature, unprocessed minimal chemical influx of food. And so as close as we can get to that we know our body's going to do better for it. We also know that we're not going to get that ideal diet. So we do things like supplement with vitamins and nutritional supplements and things like that because we want to match what our highest potential is nutritionally. That's a little bit of a detour but hold on, same thing with physical movement. We know that there is better physical movement and there's not physical movement. So if somebody is highly physical, you know, think athletics and yoga and stretching and just doing everything that we kind of think of as right and good. Their body's going to be in a certain state, if they're completely sedentary or if they have a really dysfunctional movement pattern. Maybe they're hanging drywall or digging all day. Something really repetitive and hard on the body. It feels like junk food for the body. and so we know that what is really not ideal is that if we can get closer to the ideal state, then our body is going to do better. Chiropractic can be thought of sort of like a supplement that bridges that gap between what would ideally be best for our body and what the reality is. Because you know we live in reality but we can keep the system a little bit. We can get movement into our body in a very healthy, convenient, fun and affordable way with chiropractic that helps match what a natural body should be doing and when we do that our nervous system is at its best. our circulation, our muscle patterns, our sleep patterns there's so many things that normalize when we bring that movement pattern back into the body. So that's one way chiropractic works. There's other ways to think about it but that's one of my favorites. We're just bringing in what would be a normal ideal movement into the core of the body, the spine that is lacking.
LHC- It's lacking for so many people. So how would you describe why we need it? Why do we need chiropractic and how would I know if I should see a chiropractor?
RB- Another great question. i'll say there's two categories. There are the people who hurt and their body doesn't work well and they are people that need chiropractic because it is a way to get them back to normal. There's also the person who just wants to live their absolute best life. They want to play hard, they want to work hard, they want to heal fast. They want to go strong and do it for a lot of years without doing the more sinister things that maybe medical care would provide. You know the artificial or synthetic props that maybe they would have to resort to. So it's a way to help somebody when they're really dragging you know. They've been in an injury or they're really in a tough state. It's also a way to help somebody just live an excellent life going above and beyond. So you know. I'm going to say something shocking and that nobody needs chiropractic. It's not like oxygen and water. you're not going to die without it but you will have a quality of life. That is, it's a missed opportunity, it's a missed opportunity to feel better. And it's a missed opportunity to live at a higher level and I really really do believe that. I really do see that all the time with my patients.
LHC- Great, so if someone has never seen you before, they've only heard a little bit about what chiropractic is, if they came to see you for the first time, can you walk us through... walk them through what it might be like during that very first visit?
RB- Yes I love love first visits. My favorite first visit is the people who've never been to a chiropractor before. I get to open up my world to them. We try to keep the paperwork super simple. But we do have some of course. Our front desk is really nice. We've got Shanice and Rachel up front taking care of people and they'll do a little bit of paperwork, answer all their questions as far as that goes. Then we'll sit down together and talk about what hurts. If they hurt, talk about what their goals are. Usually the first question I ask after a quick hello is. “Do you have any concerns?” Because a lot of people are just worried they've seen something on YouTube or they've talked to their great aunt and they're got something in their mind that maybe it's true or maybe it's exaggerated. So we talk about anything that's a concern to them and then we talk about how the body works and where chiropractic fits into that. We check their spine, we find ways to help and then we usually get right to work on that first visit.
LHC- Just curious, what if somebody is in so much pain and they are afraid to go to a chiropractor. What would you tell them?
RB- Well, if they are feeling good enough to make it into my office, they're feeling good enough to get an adjustment and that adjustment may be very different for somebody who's just really barely hobbling in there. Which I see plenty of. You know that's gonna be a different adjustment experience than somebody who's coming in, you know, to get ready for a triathlon the next day. It's a different type of adjustment. So if they can get in there. We can do some good for them. Sometimes we adjust without having them, they don't need to lay down, they can sit up, they can stand up. We can adjust while they're walking. We can do, you know, the conventional adjustment that people think of. You know pushing and popping and twisting. And we can do a great adjustment without doing any of those things. Just working subtly because when you're in trauma, you don't need to add trauma to trauma right? I see people right after an auto accident. I don't want to add my trauma to their trauma. I want to add a therapeutic input into the body. So sometimes it's very gentle and I think that we grow up thinking maximum strength is best but sometimes less is more. Sometimes a subtle treatment will get the results that a heavier hand will leave behind. So we can work with that.
LHC- So true! What is the future of chiropractic as a profession?
RB- It's beautiful, it's big. I think that it's probably one of the most under-supplied elements out there. If you drive through town you see chiropractors here and there but as people become wiser and more protective over their bodies, they become a little less enchanted with modern technology. Our grandparents would go to the doctor and if they were wearing a white coat, they would do whatever they said. And it might be a mysterious pill for the rest of their life and they were okay with that. People that are our age and our kids' age are going to live in a world where they research on their own. Where they think twice where they want to lean towards more natural methods. So there really is this huge portion of our population that is looking for natural care and chiropractic is just so good. I mean it's really comfortable, affordable and effective. And when they ask people in large numbers how much they like their chiropractor, it's overwhelmingly positive. So I know the demand is there and what people may be surprised to hear is that there's only about 18 chiropractic colleges in our whole country.
LHC- Wow there's not very many schools.
RB- And they're typically putting out maybe a couple hundred chiropractors a year. So it's not. I mean. There's not the thousands and thousands like you would see with medicine and dentistry and some things like that. so we really need more chiropractors. If anybody's listening to this and they're thinking about a second career or if they have younger people that are in their college years. You know chiropractic is one of the funnest things I can imagine doing and it should be on everybody's list of something to explore. But there's schools right now, there's schools opening all over South America. There's a school that's projected to open in India. Some of the best research has happened in Australia and New zealand. Chiropractic is going through the roof in Germany and central Europe, Spain, Italy. It's through the Baltics and the United Kingdom. It's just really climbing because what once was a very new age and strange, has become very mainstream and sought after. So it's really pretty fun. There's no better time to be a chiropractor. I really believe that.
LHC- Yes I hope that we have some new high school grads out there who might be listening to this and thinking, “Oh never thought about chiropractic before. Let's check it out.”
RB- Well when I talk to people about chiropractic as a profession, i say you know if you like school or at least like it enough and you like people because you do have to go through a bit of school and you do work with people. If you don't like people, it's probably not the job for you. If you really aren't comfortable in school, it's going to be an uphill slog. It's worth it but it's going to be a tough climb because there's a bit of education of course that gets you there. But it's well worth it.
LHC - Good tip. So you have a favorite patient or type of patient that you like to work with?
RB - My favorite patient is the one that is in front of me at the moment.
LHC - Good answer, good answer.
RB - Well, thank you. it is sweet but it's also true. and I'll tell you about a patient I saw this morning, if it's okay.
LHC- Yes please.
RB= This fellow, 85 years old, had never been to a chiropractor in his life and he came in with his daughter-in-law and he’s 85, going strong. He was playing softball. He tried to play softball this year and just couldn't quite do it. He was hurting too badly. He was limping. He was kind of contorted over to the side. He had this really pretty severe pattern that he was feeling in his hip and his low back. But it was really just coming from all over through his spine. And giving him his first adjustment and watching him respond it was like, it's like, serving a gourmet meal to a starving person. Honestly he just soaked it up. His body soaked up. After the adjustment he got up, he took a deep breath, he walked down the hallway so I could watch his gait pattern. His daughter-in-law saw the change. I saw the change. He felt the change and there's just nothing else they can do. That was the highlight of the day. Today it's not too uncommon. Those are the kinds of things we get to experience. Frequently, multiple times a week stories like that. Super rewarding, super rewarding for both you and your patient. I mean what's the alternative? He's doing all that he can. He's exercising. He's stretching. You know, he's 85, so his world's a little bit different than ours. But he goes to a pain clinic or a medical doctor and I mean they do great work for what they do. He doesn't need narcotics. He doesn't need painkillers. He doesn't need a shot. He doesn't need anti-inflammatory injections. What he needed was just unwinding some of those dysfunctional patterns out of his spine. I was honored to be able to do that for him.
LHC - Wow so one topic that just keeps coming up over and over again and doesn't go away is posture. It seems to me that even as people are moving toward telehealth because of the pandemic there's a lot of being at home. A lot of sitting. Some are even buying those standing desks thinking, if I stand during this day. it's going to be a whole lot better for my posture. What can you say about that topic? The posture that people worry about is like the... it's the symptom.
RB- it's the smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe. It's not the problem in the engine. it's just the visible sign of the other problems which isn't what they want to hear because they want to hear something easy. But you know, if we grew up in a home with somebody who loved us, probably our mom or dad or grandmother, they would say stand up straight right? We had somebody who tried to correct our posture and that didn't work and so sorry. Sorry to your grandmother but just telling somebody to stand up straight doesn't fix the posture any more than telling somebody to throw the ball harder is gonna make them a major league pitcher. You just can't do it by trying harder. What you can do is unwind the body's tension patterns and train the elements of posture which are strength, stability and agility. And I think what it comes down to honestly is that we just have a dysfunctional movement pattern that's been normalized in our population. Just like we have with our food. People do not move enough. You know think about the truck driver or the desk worker or they move in a repetitive way. The assembly line worker or the you know the package handler. So we have these. Either no movement or repetitive movement. And I mean when kids are five years old. We put them in school and they sit in a hard wooden desk with a plastic chair for 12 years. And how can that not create a dysfunctional posture on a kid? Absolutely. So the solution is: it's probably difficult. We do what we can chiropractically and it helps. We give exercises and they help but a lot of it comes down to bodies that just don't have the variety and the physical demand that our bodies need to thrive and to support themselves in a stable way. There's a really brilliant author named Katie Bowman and she makes the metaphor of, have you seen the movies where orcas in captivity have the floppy fin? Yes, right? Orcas in the wild, their fins always stand straight up and our posture is basically because we're all in captivity and we don't have the natural movement patterns that we would have if we lived a less contrived life. You know our life is very comfortable and synthetic and braced and repetitive and so we just have this floppy fin that shows up as a shoulders that go forward and the head that comes forward in the back that sways and the hips that don't support the body and it shows up as a posture pattern. But it's really just a product of the day we live and I think that doesn't mean. I'm not saying they can't be helped, you know, being physically active. Yoga, weight training and chiropractic. All those things help undo the patterns that are pressed upon us.
LHC- I guess you'd say what a great way to explain it. I've never thought about it in that way. That's really interesting. It's kind of good news and bad news. Because I mean the bad news is not an easy fix but the good news is. I mean it makes sense when you really think about it in those terms. So, Dr Barnick, where are you located? We said up in Salmon Creek in Vancouver but if people want to find you, where are they going to find you?
RB- okay. That is easy to describe. We are right next to a very popular coffee shop called Peet's Coffee and it's where highway 99 meets 134th. It's one of the busier intersections in Vancouver. There's a Safeway across the road. There's a Panda Express that is right around the sidewalk. and there's a Burgerville in the parking lot. So if you don't know Peet's Coffee, you probably know Burgerville. There you go. If you don't know Burgerville, you probably know Panda Express. You can find us on the map. Our website does have a map that puts you right there and we are just in a little clinic. It's one of a kind. It's a clinic that I started myself seven years ago and it doesn't have a large footprint. But you'll find us when you look for us and we'll be glad to see you.
LHC- People can also find your profile on localhealthconnect.com and you also have a website which is www.barnickchiropractic.com. So you are very easy to find and I just want to say thank you so much for being part of this interview today.
RB- Thank you for inviting me. We thank you for making it fun.
LHC- thank you so much. We've got Father's Day coming up and I know you've got little ones, so Happy Father's Day.
RB- Well thank you and to your husband as well. Thank you so much.
LHC- All right bye-bye. Thank you.
Thank you again for listening to Let's make a Health Connection. Find us on the interwebs at localhealthconnect.com also search for us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Links and show notes for this interview are available on our podcast page. I really enjoy putting these interviews together and I hope you made a health connection. We'll talk again next time.
Let’s make a health connection, copyright 2021, all rights reserved, is the exclusive property of MBS Therapy LLC, A Washington-based company. Local health connect is inclusive and does not endorse any political or religious group. Thank you again for listening and we'll see you next time on localhealthconnect.com!
By Local Health Connect 6-23-2021