His own football injuries inspired chiropractor’s career


“I first thought about becoming a chiropractor when I got hit in the back while playing quarterback at Vero Beach High School and I needed to see a chiropractor right away,” said Dr. Matt Parris of Parris Family Chiropractic. “Dr. Peter Welter treated my injury without any drugs or surgery and kept me from missing any games. He even adjusted me once during halftime. He also put the bug in my ear about becoming a chiropractor.”

Dr. Parris went on to play football during his college years at University of Central Florida where he again sought out a chiropractor to keep his body adjusted. He planned to go to law school, but saw the passion and satisfaction that his chiropractors had in their profession and decided to pursue it as his own career.

After acquiring a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic College in Atlanta, he returned to his hometown to open Parris Family Chiropractic in 2002.

More than 30 million U.S. adults seek chiropractic care each year and two-thirds of Americans say chiropractic treatment is effective for neck and back pain, according to a Gallup poll.

Besides neck and back pain, chiropractors treat knee and ankle pain, shoulder and wrist pain, headaches, and a wide range of other conditions affecting the nervous system and musculoskeletal system.

A chiropractic adjustment typically involves a high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust to a misaligned vertebra and can include an audible release of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide from the joint which relieves joint pressure.

“Some people don’t like the cracking or popping noise that often occurs with an adjustment,” Dr. Parris chuckled. “It’s really not cracking the bone at all. It’s more like when you crack your knuckle. There’s no pain, just a release of endorphins and a feeling of relief. By adjusting the spine, you get the nerves to flow better, and the organs and cells can now get the energy they require.

“Chiropractic care affects every cell in your body because every cell requires energy to flow from the brain to that cell and that cell communicates back to the brain. Any interference along that pathway will impair its energy. When we adjust someone’s spine, we are increasing the flow. We may not get it to 100 percent, but we are certainly making it better.”

It’s estimated that 80 percent of the population will experience back pain in their lifetime.

One of the most common causes of back pain is a disc bulge or herniation. Sometimes these conditions are very painful and sometimes they are pain free. MRI studies have shown that more than 35 percent of Americans have a disc bulge or herniation and the majority of them are not experiencing pain. Chiropractic care can prevent the advancement of the herniation and provide relief from pain if it is present.

Subluxation (a medical term for having a vertebra in the spine that is out of position) is an often an overlooked contributor to back pain. Subluxation can occur anywhere in the spine and can be caused by any number of factors, including physical trauma, stress and toxins.

The timeframe to correct subluxations varies by the individuals but Dr. Parris is specially trained to treat this condition.

“We utilize the Pettibon System, which incorporates weights, traction, vibration plates and wobble chairs to corrects the curves in your spine,” explained Dr. Parris. “When you look at a picture of the spine it should have curves from front to back. When we lose those curves from an injury, the degenerative process quickens, and the energy can’t flow from the brain to the body.

“This system helps put the curves back in and patients who get these curves corrected experience relief from all kinds of health-changing problems including back and neck pain, heartburn, lifelong headaches and digestive issues. Your overall health is affected by the curvature of the spine. The program is so simple, yet so profound and it literally changes lives.”

“Developed over 30 years ago by Dr. Burl Pettibon, the Pettibon System is a comprehensive rehabilitation program for the spine’s hard and soft tissues,” according to pettibonsystem.com. “In addition, the System’s use of specially developed weights and exercises directly acknowledges that lasting spinal correction is related to the strengthening of targeted muscles.”

“Spine malalignment is becoming its own pandemic, something we’ve never experienced in history,” says Dr. Parris. “Years ago, when I started this practice, I rarely saw a child that would not have proper curves in their neck – 95 percent of them would have a good curve.

“Now only about 10 percent have proper curves. This shift is directly related to technology.

Children are constantly on an iPad or cellphone and their heads are down. From a structural standpoint, the spine is in a weakened state so any kind of head on trauma is exacerbated, and their overall health is affected.”

Even some infants can benefit from chiropractic adjustments, according to Dr. Parris, who has treated infants with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and colic who respond very well without drugs or surgery.

The type and length of treatment varies with each individual and condition. Dr. Parris offers a free consultation where he sits down and talks to you to see if he can help. He conducts a neurological exam checking reflexes, range of motion and sensory loss. If he feels its within his realm of expertise he’ll proceed with an X-ray of the spine. If it looks good, one or two adjustments may be all you need. If it’s bad, you might need a longer course of treatment.

Parris Family Chiropractic also has a proven knee traction program to help patients with arthritic knees through stretching. You’ll know at the first session whether the program will work for you if you feel relief.

Neuropathy, which can manifest with numbness, pins and needles sensation, and burning of the feet, can be helped with chiropractic treatments. “Your feet aren’t sending signals to your brain that tells you where you are, and some people start losing balance and falling,” Dr. Parris explained. “We have a couple of modalities that can help, and I’ve actually had patients who thought they had neuropathy but really didn’t because all they needed was an adjustment in the lower back.”

Dr. Parris uses his skills at his alma mater, treating Vero High football players referred by coaches and even doing some game-day broadcasting on Christian FM 91.9 along with his father, Gary Parris, a former NFL football player.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Matt Parris call 772-299-4649 or stop by Parris Family Chiropractic at 2602 20th Street, Vero Beach.

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