Back in November when I set a goal to interview 1,000 individuals about their careers, I’ll admit the first person that came to mind was not a chiropractor/functional wellness doctor! When I met my Dr. Charles Durr, however, it seemed too good an opportunity to pass up.
Dr. Durr and I met via an appointment for my wife’s autoimmune disorders (but that’s another story). He and his business partner, Dr. Childs, own Corrective aChiropratic in Downingtown, PA. Dr. Durr has answered quite a few questions for me, both about his work as a chiropractor and functional wellness doctor, and as a business owner. See his comments below!
Q. How long have you been a practicing chiropractor?
A. I’ve been practicing since 1997.
Q. You first exposure to chiropractic care was due to a sports injury. Would you care to elaborate on what exactly happened?
A. The athletic trainer in my high school was also a practicing chiropractor so he would treat us prior to practicing and games on a regular basis. After I suffered a dislocated shoulder, he treated me and got me back into playing soccer again very quickly. After that I had a high regard for chiropractors.
Q. Before becoming a chiropractor, you worked in the restaurant business. Why the career switch?
A. I switched careers because the restaurant business was long on hours and short on pay. So I was looking for a better lifestyle and better career path. My experience with my high school chiropractor paved the way to me entering chiropractic school.
Q. How has chiropractic care changed since you began?
A. Chiropractic has evolved over the years from what we would consider straight chiropractic, which is just the traditional adjustments into posture based adjustments using something called the chiropractic biophysics technique. Decompression therapy evolved from what’s called VAX D, and this really expanded the amount of conditions we treat involving disc herniation’s in the neck and lumbar spine. From there my partner became a chiropractic neurologist, and I became a diplomat in integrative medicine using functional nutrition. We presently treat patients structurally metabolically and neurologically.
Q. You perform “Chiropractic Biophysics.” How does it differ from traditional Chiropractic therapy?
A. Chiropractic biophysics a posture based technique using mechanical engineering principles applied to the spine. It’s based on an ideal spinal configuration. We use adjustments exercises and traction to move the spine towards its ideal alignment. We assess the alignment using examination and x-rays.
Q. Your office has earned the Peoples Choice Award for Best Chiropractic Office in Chester County six times. What customer service practices helped you, Dr. Childs, and your staff earn that recognition?
A. Well first, I think it’s the level of care we provide and the constant evolution in technique and knowledge we seek out. Secondly, it’s the atmosphere provided by our staff that makes people feel welcome.
Q. Corrective Chiropractic opened in 1999. After almost two decades, what unexpected challenges have you faced as a private clinic?
A. Well the economic downturn in 2009 was a big challenge as we saw a big dip in our practice. We reinvented ourselves around that time to add metabolic and neurological treatments in a more dynamic way. The second challenge has been more recent with the affordable care act and increase in the deductibles seen by most of our patients.
Q. You strive to have an effective post-graduate education in your field. What is your latest educational effort?
A. The most recent post graduate training I received was on the impact of hormones on food sensitivity. I plan on attending a conference on functional endocrinology in April.
Q. Describe briefly “a day in the life of Dr. Durr.”
A. A typical day in my life during the week would involve waking up at 5 AM and getting to the gym. Then usually I come to work to either see patients during morning hours or to do paperwork on non-patient mornings. After lunch I usually respond patient emails and catch up on some reading. I see patients in the afternoon until basically 7 PM, and then it’s home for dinner and to finish responding to any afternoon emails from patients.
Q. What’s the best aspect of being a chiropractor?
A. The best part about being a chiropractor is the freedom to make clinical decisions without a rigid hierarchy of expected behavior, as it is in the medical field, and to apply new knowledge that helps patients heal better and faster.
Q. What’s the worst aspect?
A. The worst part of being a chiropractor is having to overcome the public perceptions of our profession.
Q. How do you reflect your personal ethics in your career?
A. The biggest difference between chiropractic care and functional medicine as compared to allopathic medicine is that we have to ask the patient to make lifestyle change. This is something that medical doctors are very hesitant to do. It also requires a lot of work on the doctors part and the patient’s part. We have to spend more time with the patient and see them more frequently. So I feel very good ethically that I recommended the appropriate amount of care to change a persons life for the better. This sometimes comes with a cynical perception that it’s self serving.
Q. A medical student approaches you and says, “I’d like to become a chiropractor.” What advice would you give them?
A. I would tell them that you must be prepared technically and philosophically when you graduate chiropractic school. Then you must be prepared to promote yourself to build a practice. Patients have a lot of medical options and you have to set yourself apart to build a practice.
Q. How has chiropractic care changed during your career?
A. Chiropractic has evolved much like other medical practices with the changes in insurance reimbursement. Our biggest evolution is from straight chiropractic into functional nutrition and functional neurology.
Q. Beyond chiropractic care, your office provides other services. As an example, it includes functional medicine, which your site calls “individualized nutritional care based on specific blood testing.” How does this differ from traditional western medicine treatment?
A. Functional medicine differs from traditional Western medicine in that it seeks to find the root cause of metabolic dysfunction. Its intervention is nutrition-based versus medication based. Medication is typically prescribed at the end result of all metabolic dysfunction. Where as functional medicine intervenes at the beginning of the metabolic dysfunction to try to fix the problem downstream.
Q. Do you have a favorite patient success story you’d like to share (no real names, of course)?
A. One of my favorite success stories is actually one of my employees. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and they wanted to do a mastectomy. I put her on a nutritional program and with just some chemotherapy she was able to kill the cancer. Her oncologist had never seen somebody recover so easily and so quickly before.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
A. The one thing I’ve noticed over the years is the influence of the Internet on patients education. They no longer rely on the doctors advice as gospel. Alternative and functional medicine has blossomed in this environment. Although it can be a double edge sword sometimes, it has been a great medium to communicate new ideas.