Treatment Approach

When you step into Tensegrity Chiropractic, you have taken a great departure from the typical chiropractic office.  It all starts with your consultation with Dr. Barnes.  Dr. Barnes will carefully review your medical history and then will sit down himself and listen to you describe your pain.  After he has asked a few questions, his one-of-a-kind examination begins.  For most people, the examination is a full-encompassing biomechanical exam that usually takes 45-60 minutes.  During this time Dr. Barnes will analyze your walking gait, perform several orthopedic, neurological, muscle, and functional tests.
It is very important to us where you hurt, but Dr. Barnes’ exam is designed to find out the ACTUAL cause of your pain.  This exam is the absolute key to success in our office, and it’s why we have great success very early in our treatment plans.  Dr. Barnes will usually treat  patients on the first visit and then will set them on a treatment plan.  We DO NOT use or endorse high-visit treatment plans!  If a chiropractor has asked you to sign up for 25-100 visits after an exam, run as fast as you can out of the office!  These types of offices use scare tactics to get patients into care, and most of them do not accept insurance.  Some are also under investigation from the state board for excessive treatments and questionable business practices. Everyone responds differently to treatment, which is why Dr. Barnes uses varied treatment plans.  Once the pain stops and the patient understand the exercises and modifications they need to make to stay out of pain, treatment stops.  Our typical treatment plans are very short, with 4-8 visits being the norm.  If wellness is important to you and you want to keep a regular chiropractic visit, that is absolutely fine with our office. We just like you to know that you don’t HAVE to keep coming back.
Another way our office is different is our patient volume and treatment time durations.  Dr. Barnes primarily works with athletes, and athletes typically require more work than the average patient.  We pride ourselves in running a tight schedule in our office so that you’ll usually only have to wait  a few minutes to see Dr. Barnes.  Some patients only need 10 minutes per appointment where others require 20-40 minutes.  Dr. Barnes knows that patients have different needs, which is why each patient has a unique treatment length.  As an athlete, Dr. Barnes also knows how important it is for you to continue to compete and will only rest you from your activity if it’s absolutely necessary.  This kind of service is scarcely seen these days, but Dr. Barnes has the heart of a teacher and servant.  He will make sure you understand why you have pain and will teach you how to take care of yourself.  This is the absolute goal of a very passionate health care provider.  Dr. Barnes truly believes that most people can live free from medication and pain by restoring their body’s natural Tensegrity.  That’s why this name was chosen for this practice, and that’s what makes us different from nearly every other office you will ever visit.
“I did not get into this profession to make a lot of money.  I got into this profession to help people.  I was just like many of you many years ago and I was helped so much by my chiropractors that I wanted to give back to the profession and to my peers.  This is not a job, it’s a calling.”   -Chris Barnes DC- 



Here are just a few tools Dr. Barnes utilizes in practice

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What is Chiropractic and how does it work?  

There has long stood a battle between chiropractors on the topic of subluxation.  On this one word, the definition of a chiropractor is defined.  In the early days of chiropractic, it was theorized that all diseases in the human body were the direct effects of a misalignment of the vertebral bodies (back bones).  The Palmers, the founders of chiropractic, hypothesized that the bones of the back were at risk for dislocating.  By dislocating, I mean very minute small dislocation, thus the term subluxation.  It was thought that the misalignment of these structures caused pressure on a spinal nerve which directly innervated a muscle, joint, organ etc…  This pressure would cause a decrease in “nerve flow” aka foot on the hose analogy.  The chiropractor would then use his or her hands, instruments, x-ray films, or all of the above to locate the subluxation.  He or she would deliver a high velocity, low amplitude thrust to the vertebrae, which would put it back into correct alignment, usually accompanied with a “crack” or “cavitation” as we define it.  This was a beautiful theory filled with flowery slogans such as “The power that made the body, heals the body.”  However, 100+ years later we live in a far different world.  We have the technology available to prove or disprove theories that were held to be sacred and true during the 19th and 20th centuries.  The best research that we have available clearly indicates that when a chiropractor manipulates a joint, there is no displacement of structures.  In other words, bones don’t go out of place (that’s called a dislocation), and chiropractors do not move bones back in.  Research also shows that it’s practically impossible for a vertebrae to compress a spinal nerve.  One would think that this newfound research would destroy chiropractic, but it hasn’t.
The majority of chiropractors still claim that bones move out of alignment and cause nerve compression.  A good portion of these chiropractors know that this isn’t quite what happens, but they describe it this way to patients because they think it’s easier to understand.  There are, however, still chiropractors who claim that spine misalignment is the root cause of all disease and that by having your spine adjusted, you lower your chances of contracting such diseases.  This is one of the main reasons the medical professional labeled chiropractors “cult practitioners” in the early 20th century.  There has been a lot of good research that has demonstrated that spinal manipulative therapy is more effective at treating back pain, neck pain, and tension headaches than pain medication and rest.  Nowadays, more and more MD’s and DO’s are referring their patients to chiropractors in light of these studies.  There have been countless case studies that have shown that chiropractic care has had positive effects on non-musculoskeletal conditions such as hypertension, colic, etc, but as of today there is no solid evidence for why chiropractic helps conditions other than musculoskeletal dysfunctions.  At this time, the placebo effect seems to be the best scientific answer for why chiropractic helps with so many ailments.
So if we don’t move bones, what do we do, and what is that sound when we manipulate your spine?  Well, first things first, the sound that generally accompanies a spinal manipulation is the rapid release of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide from the synovial facet joints of the spine.  The sound the spine makes when being manipulated is the same sound you hear when you “pop” your knuckles.  When joints don’t move because of poor posture, soft tissue injuries, etc, those joints tend to become tender or possibly even painful. One of the reasons patients report such pain relief after a manipulation is simply that the joint can now move with less restriction.  Chiropractic philosophy has long held that the body is a self-healing, self-regulating organism that simply needs correct spinal alignment in order to function at optimal levels.  There is no adequate research to substantiate this claim and this concept has been labeled as non-scientific and quackery by the American Medical Association.
David Seaman DC MS, a chiropractor and clinical nutritionist, has proposed an alternate hypothesis for why chiropractic may positively affect the nervous system.   Seaman hypothesizes that the spinal manipulation stimulates mechanoreceptors in the spinal joints due to the quick increase in joint motion.  This starts a reflex arc that sends non-pain receptors (A-alpha and A-Beta) to the central nervous system, which in turn relaxes the joint and the surrounding soft tissues.   Seaman’s idea is basically that people are running around  with their sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system engaged most of the time.  People are constantly running on cortisol (stress hormone) with their busy schedules and the stresses of daily life.   The reflex mechanism caused by the manipulation is thought to decrease sympathetic activity and increase the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest).  When the parasympathetic nervous system is the the dominant system running in the body, healing is prioritized much more so than during a fight or flight (sympathetic) state.  This could explain why multitudes of patients have reported that chiropractic has helped them with diseases that traditional medical care has not been successful with.  There is currently research being conducted in Canada to prove Seaman’s hypothesis.  The science of the Central Nervous System reflex is well documented and accepted in the scientific community.  What researchers will have to prove is if spinal manipulation actually stimulates these mechanoreceptors that start the whole reflex mechanism.
There is much that is still unknown in the chiropractic profession.  I’m the first to admit that research has limits in what it can reliably measure.  However, research is responsible for some of the greatest medical advancements in recent history and continues to be invaluable in many areas.  We may never know exactly what takes place when a chiropractor places his or her hands on a patient and delivers that high velocity, low amplitude thrust, but I think chiropractic will be around for a long time for the simple fact that it works.     -Chris Barnes DC-