LAKE ORION (WJRT) -- (08/30/2017) -- When people hear the word "chiropractor," most immediately think about someone cracking their back or their neck. But one local doctor is changing that.
"Instead of waking up in the morning and thinking, 'Can I do this?' Now it's, 'I'm going to do it,'" said Bill Kokenos, a patient of Dr. Chris Bennett, a chiropractor in Lake Orion.
This is just one of Bennett's patients who swears by his chiropractic technique, which is an upper cervical specific approach.
"The brain controls everything the body does, and it runs right through the base of the skull -- what we call the brain stem or the abdullah oblongata -- runs right through that upper cervical region and is intimately connected with that region," said Bennett. "So when that area becomes misaligned, it actually will interfere with the way the brain is communicating with the body."
Bennett uses a scanner, which can tell him if something needs to be adjusted.
"We don't do any twisting of the neck or anything like that," said Bennett. "Most of the time we use an instrument. When we do that, it allows that area to be realigned and allows that communication to be opened back up. And we retest that again with the scanner to make sure we remove that interference."
That brain and body communication makes all the difference.
"We actually don't treat conditions," Bennett said. "What we do is work with the body's own innate ability to heal itself. It's a self-healing organism. Most of the time in most people it's not working like it should and so we just get it working like it should and watch miracles happen."
Miracles like what Sharon Cohen is seeing in her daughter, Kayla, an 18-year-old with mitochondrial disease, an under-developed cerebellum, and ataxia. She's seen results since they started coming at the beginning of the year.
"I've been having her blood work checked since she was little. Her CPK level came down from like 1,000 to 2,000 to normal now," said Cohen. "Her neurologist doesn't know what to say."
Her physical and occupational therapists have also noticed major advances in her walking, movement, and activity. For example, she can now take the lid off of a jar and point to things. She has a high tolerance of pain, but even that is changing.
"The other day she hit her head and she cried," Cohen said. "She hasn't cried in 18 years. She had a big lip and everything, and I was laughing and smiling the whole time because I was so happy. I'm like, oh my gosh, she's crying!"
Other patients are also seeing quick results.
"A lot of times from sleeping or whatever I'll have a little stiffness in the neck. It's gone," Kokenos said. "And I'm not taking the major courses. It's just a little adjustment here, little adjustment there. It sounds sort of weird, but I can really tell a difference when I leave the office. I mean, it's just like night and day when I come in."
Kokenos was skeptical at first.
"Every time he does my scans, we can look at what we've done in the past to what I have now and I think there's been a vast improvement."
Patients come in for relief from back pain, neck pain, headaches and migraines. Patients with Vitamin B-12 deficiencies and ulcerative colitis have been able to reduce or eliminate medications.
"It's not me doing that. It's that when the body is working correctly and the nervous system is communicating and sending the right messages from the brain down and getting the right messages from the rest of the body up to the brain, then everything's working like it should and the body will actually regulate itself -- and do it pretty well, way better than we can," said Bennett.
Very few doctors around the state practice the upper cervical approach. Bennett said he's simply found what he loves to do.
"The impact," said Bennett. "The impact that it has on people's lives. Getting to see that patient that can now do things that they couldn't do before. And not just that, but actually seeing how it effects their family relationships and how it effects their whole life. That's the rewarding part for me."
A normal visit takes between five to 20 minutes. If they're adjusted, they need to rest for 15 minutes and be re-scanned.
Since this falls under chiropractic care, it's usually covered by insurance, but Bennett's office charges around $40 per visit after the initial examination.
A link to Bennett's office can be found in the related links section of this story.