Watson Clinic joins a growing number of medical practices that are adding chiropractic care to their list of services. Chiropractor Jalen Banks recently began seeing patients at the Watson Clinic Center for Specialized Rehabilitation at E. County Road 540A and Lakeland Highlands Road.
“Excited is an understatement,” Banks said. “I feel that with my multidisciplinary background, this position is made for me.”
Its objective is to treat sports and spinal injuries. Dry needling, acupuncture, and cupping are some of the therapies he uses to loosen trigger points and knots.
The Watson Clinic began investigating adding chiropractic services after learning that other major medical practices were doing so, according to Jack Ryals, the clinic’s physical therapy and sports medicine coordinator, the department where Banks.
“We want to have a comprehensive approach to spinal pain management and believe we can provide an additional treatment option with chiropractic medicine,” he said.
Banks is from Egg Harbor Township, NJ, which is just outside of Atlantic City.
“I moved to Lakeland to be closer to my family. My fiancée, Karla Thiele, grew up in Lakeland. We are getting married in June in Lakeland and we wanted to ground ourselves with a great support system around us,” Banks explained.
Banks received a Bachelor of Science in Exercise from Montclair State University and a Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine from Keizer University in West Palm Beach in May 2020. After that, he worked at the Chiropractic Sports Rehabilitation Institute in Boynton Beach. His practice includes dry neddling and cupping.
Dry needling is a process of pushing a thin needle through the skin at trigger points or knots in the muscle. The goal is for the needles to stimulate muscle tissue to trick the brain into changing the way it interacts with muscles, encouraging it to return to a normal movement pattern, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, cupping is an ancient healing therapy where cups are placed on the body and create a suction force to pull the skin upwards in an effort to relieve pain.
According to Dr. William Lauretti, 31-year-old chiropractor and spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association, while not as common in Polk County, chiropractors joining medical practices are becoming much more common than in the past. .
Healthcare professionals are increasingly recognizing that “doctors of chiropractic provide patients with safe, conservative and cost-effective care for some of the most common conditions seen in healthcare practice: joint and muscle pain,” a Lauretti said. “Chiropractors currently work in United States Veterans Administration hospitals, Department of Defense facilities, and many hospital and private multidisciplinary health facilities.”
Lauretti said he views the change in some chiropractors choosing to work for traditional medical institutions instead of opening their own private practices as a “very positive change.”
“It provides a greater variety of practice opportunities for chiropractors beyond traditional solo practice. It also provides more people with the ability to choose chiropractic treatment for their conditions who didn’t have that option before, such as veterans with VA benefits and active military members,” Lauretti explained.
“Many members of the public are simply unaware of our skills and…might not consider going to a chiropractor. If these patients saw a chiropractor as part of a multidisciplinary team and were referred for chiropractic care by another healthcare professional who has gained their trust, they may be more willing to try the treatment.
Dr. David Choate, a chiropractor in Lakeland for 31 years, said over the past few years primary care physicians have referred a number of patients to him.
“We now see more openness from the medical profession to send people to the chiropractor than 20 years ago. It was very rare,” he said.
He is changing the name of his South Florida Avenue practice to Midtown Medical Integration and he has hired a nurse practitioner to add regenerative medicine services to his practice. He is also looking to hire a physiotherapist or rehabilitation technician to enable his practice to provide rehabilitation and physiotherapy.
Choate said he approached Watson Clinic management about three years ago to hire a chiropractor, but was told there was a lack of interest at the time.
Ryals said the clinic was inspired by the Cleveland Clinic’s success in integrating chiropractic care into their services and decided to give the concept a shot.
“We believe we can attract the kind of chiropractic care that will adhere to a multidisciplinary approach alongside traditional medicine,” Ryals said, adding that the clinic believes the demand is high for reliable chiropractic care.
Ryals said he hopes the clinic will consider adding a chiropractor to its North Side Lakeland facility in the future.