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Adults, children, and animals are welcome in their offices where a white and black (formerly stray) cat roams freely. Grams has noticed that if one or more of a child's parents aren't taking good care of themselves, the kids will act it out. When she meets with child patients, she'll often start with the parent. "Moms' necks and shoulders are like rocks; they often pick up the slack for other family members, and they set the tone for the family dynamic," she reports.
"Too many people are running on vapors (caffeine and other stimulants). This shows your kids nonverbally how to operate. This stress makes it difficult to digest food properly, makes us short-tempered and irritable and more prone to injury due to lack of balance. We can do anything we want in life--we just can't do everything. We have to say 'no' to some things, but it shouldn't be to our health and body care."
The most common reasons kids come in for treatment by Dr. Grams is that they're overwhelmed or anxious, suffering headache and neck pain from orthodontics, or they've had a major fall or car accident. Like Drs. Stussy and Olson, Dr. Grams is a strong advocate of a holistic approach to health care. She encourages her patients to do spiritual work, massage work, and to work with a nutrition counselor. "I can adjust the spine every day, but it won't hold without a holistic approach," she says. Many of her patients have high-stress, demanding jobs: artists, executives, teachers, attorneys, and moms. "Being under high pressure demands high maintenance. If you're not doing yoga or meditation, you need more aggressive care such as chiropractic," Dr.Grams advises.
While it's often a pain or symptom that "kicks patients in the door," Dr. Grams encourages her patients to be personally responsible for their emotional, spiritual, and physical wellbeing. "If parents keep themselves in better shape, their kids don't have to come as often," she says. "Teaching kids to take cues from their nervous system and body can be very empowering. I've got kids who say, 'I need to see Dr. Chris.' This shows that they're tuned into their own bodies."
Thomas Edison had the right idea
A quote from Thomas Edison on Dr. Stussy's letterhead makes a lot of sense: "The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his (sic) patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."
More than 100 years later, it's tough to argue with that common-sense prescription. While there's a time and place for medical intervention, it shouldn't be the first and only kind of care we consider for ourselves or our kids. While my son and my injuries from the January car accident have mended, I intend to incorporate a "maintenance level" of chiropractic care into our monthly schedule. Illnesses in our household have been almost nonexistent during the past year. I'd like to keep it that way.
Lynn Ingrid Nelson is a freelance editor and writer, with a fragile spine and strong skepticism of drugs and surgery, who lives in South Minneapolis.