Day in the Work Life: Bend it like. . . a chiropractor

Ankur Percage, chiropractor

TESS VIGELAND: Chiropractic medicine has been controversial for decades. Chiropractors say they can help with all kinds of ailments just by manipulating your spine. Some people swear by it, others say it is hooey. The American Medical Association says the profession can help with certain aches and pains. And hey, our health plan here covers chiro visits. So on this week's a day in the work life, we visit the office of a chiropractor, where with the help of a loud contraption, he straightens people out.

ANKUR PRAKASH: First, bring that hand back over your shoulders. Take a deep breath in and blow it all the way out. Perfect. Let's do that two more times. A deep breath in.

My name is Ankur Prakash. My age is 29 and my job title is officially called Doctor of Chiropractic. Awesome. Let's check the rest of your spine now.

My wife and I decided. . . my wife now helps me at the office. She's not a chiropractor, but we rented space on the Sunday street fairs. In New York, when the weather's beautiful, lots of organizations and companies put on the street fairs. So I rented a space. I rented a 10 by 10 space, made a very professional looking booth. And actually I got my first 45 patients from the first two street fairs that I did. I have been in practice, officially two years. September 14th, 2004 was my grand opening day.

What surprised me the most would be the level of the marketing that you have to do when you're opening your brand new practice. Now, of course, you can become an employee after graduating, but I chose a different route, which is that I established my own practice and moved into a city where I hardly knew anyone. I had some family. I had a lot of friends, but to get people in the door that was the biggest surprise in how much energy and time and money that you need to put in that endeavor.

I'd say the most bizarre thing. . . a comment that I made to a patient of mine, probably two months into practice. . . she was a regular patient. And she was talking about her mattress that that may be the cause of a lot of her problems. And I suggested to her to, you know, instead of investing in a new mattress is to maybe flip it. I thought, maybe it would be the nice thing to do is offer her to come over one night and flip her mattress. And I realized after I said that that she thought that I wanted to come over one night and do a little more than flipping her mattress.

I lived to work my first two years, I would say. I put all of my time, I put all my money and my love in this practice. It hasn't been 'til the last few months that now I can finally say that I am now working to live. We're starting to enjoy our life more than before. Gross income was about 150 for the second year. And my first year, gross income was just over 100.

If you look at the numbers people are. I don't want to say the word dying, but they're itching for wellness. A lot of people now are realizing that maybe their approach to health care isn't really working. You can also look at the number of baby boomers, you know, how many people are going to need our care with chronic conditions being the number one expense of our health care system as chiropractors as full service wellness practitioners, I think the job security is even better now than it was five years ago.

VIGELAND: A day in the work life was reported by Sally Herships.

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