The Fourth Installment of the Introducing…Interview Series by Erik Everts, Founder of The Blue Buddha.
A few months ago I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about chiropractic care. We swapped stories about how great chiropractors have helped move us through pain and discomfort and helped us to maintain balance in our lives. For me, it was chiropractic care that lead me to where I am today as a bodyworker, but that’s another story. I shared with my friend that since moving to San Francisco I had yet to find the perfect match in a chiropractor (even after four years!), not only for myself but as a referral for my clients at The Blue Buddha. She basically grabbed me by the hand and took me to her “miracle worker” that same day. She insisted. She had purchased a series of pre-paid treatments and even offered me one of those. How could I resist?! That Monday evening sparked my love affair with Dr. Julie Trestman of Trestman Chiropractic, who I now see a few times a month to keep me in check and to whom I refer all my clients. I wanted to interview Dr. Julie to give more insight into the world of chiropractic care because I continuously encounter people who have had less than stellar experiences in the past or carry with them misconceptions based on urban legend or the bad experiences they’ve heard alog the way. I’m a great proponent of the work when it’s performed by a talented, grounded and heart-centered doctor. Dr. Julie Trestman is all of the above and more.
What’s the goal of chiropractic treatment? Is it just about the spine? The goal is to free up the nervous system so the body can heal itself. It’s about the body as a whole. All systems. The spine is the avenue into the nervous system. I make sure the nervous system has the space it needs for the brain to communicate up and down the spine as freely as possible.
What the heck is an adjustment? An adjustment is a treatment for subluxlation. A subluxation is when the spine moves slightly out of alignment, gets stuck in that position and impinges on the nerve. This diminishes the nervous systems ability to function at its maximum capacity. My job is to find subluxations and remove them. Only then can the nervous system communicate more freely and the body free to assimilate stressors. I have a toolbox of techniques. My favorite is my hands. I also have drop tables, an activator, and whatever else I can think of to help the body open up and release. I also treat extremities.
You have a unique community approach to treatments much like the community acupuncture model that is very different from your average chiropractic office. What inspired the setup of your office? My inspiration was my chiropractor. She did it the same way so that’s all I knew. I do believe that there is a quality of healing that takes place in community that can be very powerful. I have tried to create a comfortable “living room” like space for people to relax, interact and feel at home. This also gives my patient a sense that they are not alone in their bodily experience.
Describe a new patient’s first visit with you. The first visit includes a history, orthopedic and neurological exam, and an adjustment. In some cases I will take an x-ray first before I adjust. Here I can get a sense of my patients goals and assess what capacity I will be working with them.
Many people have misconceptions about chiropractic due to stories they’ve heard from others or from personal experience with less than stellar practitioners. Let’s address the top 3 that I’ve heard:
Don’t Chiropractors get you hooked and then you have to keep going and going? What happens is once the patient knows what it feels like to be more open, experience less pain, move more freely and function more optimally, they want to keep that up. This is different for all people. Some come only when they have an “episode”, some quarterly, monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly depending on what’s going on for them.
The cracking scares me. How can it be good to get cracked like that? The “cracking” is gas being released inside a joint. This sometimes happens when a subluxation is freed. It’s nothing to worry about. That same gas build-up re-establishes itself within the hour and could “crack” again. It’s not about the “crack”; it’s movement that is most important.
I went one time and it didn’t do anything for me. One time is a drop in the bucket. One adjustment builds on the one before. Usually by the time someone comes in my office, it’s because of pain. That subluxation took sometimes years to get into the painful place. It will take more then one adjustment to get you out of pain, correct the subluxation(s) and get the nervous system to re-educate itself. The older the injury, the longer the healing process.
Can chiropractic care be an alternative to surgery in some cases? It was in my case. I discovered chiropractic because I herniated two discs and was layed up for months with sciatica accompanied by foot drop. I was bed ridden and could barely walk. I had lots of vicodin, PT, acupuncture, massage, cortizone shots and was scheduled for surgery. This is when I met my chiropractor. It worked!! Little by little I started feeling better. I soon postponed the surgery and gave it a try. Before long I started doing massage in her office. I watched her adjust, got adjusted, and saw many miracles happen. I had no choice but to deepen into my bodywork and become a chiropractor. I say, “it choose me”. I’m impassioned by this work! I love connecting with people and helping them along on their healing path.
I became a chiropractor because I love to help people! I also enjoy the connection. I am an artist as well and have always worked with my hands. This work fulfills me and is always challenging me. It can be like putting a puzzle together. I get excited to find that piece that can help one heal at the next level.
You and I recently discussed that working with women during pregnancy is one of your specialties. How can chiropractic support women with the experience of pregnancy and childbirth? First off, it helps the pelvic region to stay mobile so not only can the baby finds its ideal resting position, it also helps the Mama have a more comfortable birth process from conception through delivery and after. I have special pillows so that the Mama can lie face down and baby safe. I use special techniques for the pregnant woman the keep the spine mobile and the nervous system freed up. I also am certified in the Webster Technique, which helps to turn breech babies around.
The book that I recommend the most to patients is The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton.
How do you work with patients who have an injury or are in a state of intense pain? For example, some people experience their back “going out” and they’re barely able to get up from bed. Do you receive phone calls from patients in desperate need of help? I do. I’m one of the few chiropractors that will do outcalls. I sometimes may advise them to go to the hospital if appropriate, or I will go over and assess the situation to see what I can do. I carry a portable table in my car and do weekly outcalls for patients who can’t leave their house. It is very common to see people in intense pain. The majority of patients wait to see me until they are in intense pain. Others have gone through the medical system and still aren’t better. This usually includes drugs, cortisone shoots, physical therapy and sometimes surgery as well.
Chiropractic is not just about Pain. It’s about opening up your life force so your body can heal itself on all levels: Mental/emotional, chemical, physical, and spiritual. It’s about freedom, ease, and peace. It’s about living up to your full potential and growing old gracefully. It’s about having more energy and zest for life!
Are there any contraindications, or reason to not receive, chiropractic care? Yes. This all depends on the individual situation. I may choose to adjust only certain segments or in a special way, or just refer them out to a specialist. Examples may include broken bones, weak bones, compromised system, spinal rods, etc.
The piece of advice that I find myself giving to most of my patients is to be present. To tune in and see what your body wants. More sleep perhaps, less stress, more exercise, and better diet, to pay attention to ergonomics in daily life. I try to give my patients periodic homework and goal setting to keep them headed in a positive direction.
Find Dr. Julie Trestman online at www.trestmanchiropractic.com to learn everything you need to schedule your first treatment with her. One of my favorite details about Dr. Julie is that once you become her patient you can text for appointments. A truly modern practitioner! Just the way I like ’em.