Discovering how chiropractic treatment helped her own debilitating migraines is what led Dr. Christina Keszler to become a doctor in the field.
"I was a computer programmer with W. L. Gore at the time," she said. "I was missing work. I was missing deadlines."
She said the company's insurance did not cover chiropractic services, so she first went to a traditional doctor.
"He prescribed a exorbitantly priced prescription and said that was the best he could do. So, I used my own money and went to a chiropractor. Like everybody else I complained about having to go back day-after-day -- until I realized I was making deadlines, I wasn't missing any work and the headaches weren't as bad."
It was that realization that made Keszler decide to investigate the field. She did her research then enrolled in a college to study the practice. The need for money made her change direction though and she went into massage therapy, doing both sports and rehabilitative massage.
"That offered lots of opportunities," she said. She worked with the Budweiser triathlon team and the Coors duathlon team. Moving to Flagstaff, she did a great deal of work the athletes who had come to the high elevation training center.
"I stayed as a massage therapist a lot longer than I anticipated," she said. The doctor she was working with kept urging her to apply to finish her degree and become a chiropractor.
"I applied to three schools and was accepted by all three," she said.
She earned her doctorate from the Palmer Chiropractic University. "It is the Harvard of chiropractors, while others (schools) are moving into pseudo-medicine," she said.
When she graduated from Palmer she went to work in Iowa, but then her son, Brandon, was accepted at Arizona State University and so she began researching practices that she could buy in the area.
She said she was considering Scottsdale, but when the opportunity came up to buy Sunrise Chiropractic Clinic it was something she couldn't pass up. She said the different chiropractic clinics in the community all offer different approaches. "No one size fits all. If what I'm doing isn't helping someone, I will refer them to one of the other clinics and the other clinics refer some of their patients to me," she said. "My goal is to get them well."
Keszler bought the clinic in January and runs it with the help of Randy Dykes and, during the summer, Brandon, who will be returning to ASU in late August for his sophomore year.
"I like small town communities," Keszler said. "They tend to be very close-knit. Everyone made me feel very welcome."
The biggest challenge of her practice is dealing with insurance companies, she said. "More than half my patients are retirees," she said. "While I'm a preferred Medicare providers, often the patients need more care than Medicare will allow.
"Some of these old cowboys have done a lot of damage to their spines. Their condition dictates they should be in here everyday, but the insurance companies don't see it that way."
And as with her own experience with W.L. Gore, some insurance companies will not cover chiropractic care at all, so to help patients with that situation, or those with high deductibles, Keszler has cash plans available.
She said the most common condition she sees is degenerative disk disease, but she also has fibromyalgia patients coming in and even has a support group for them.
"It's a wonderful part of their health regime," she said.
In addition to the chiropractic work Keszler does, she also provides physical therapy and massage therapy. She also carries a line of orthotic shoes and does a special treatment on feet in the event the traditional chiropractic work is not sufficient to help a patient get well. Keszler also does nutritional analysis.
"We do best to look at the total person as opposed to someone who calls just needing to be cracked," Keszler said.
Starting Aug. 1, the clinic is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday and Thursday; from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday and Friday; and Saturdays by appointment. For more information, call (928) 474-2820.