Friday, Nov. 1, 2013
|Photo by Robin May|
|Dr. Ashley Fontenot performs a spinal adjustment at The Joint.|
As medical costs rise and families are feeling the pinch of increasing insurance premiums, many are left to wonder: “How do I afford to keep myself and my family healthy?”
For Drs. Ashley and Michael Fontenot, the answer is through cost-effective chiropractic care. The duo operates The Joint, a growing franchise of chiropractic clinics founded in 1999 that now has 428 locations in 28 states.
In Louisiana, this includes Monroe, Shreveport-Bossier City and now Lafayette, with additional clinics coming to Lake Charles, Baton Rouge and the New Orleans-metro area. The idea of The Joint is to give people access to affordable chiropractic adjustments through monthly membership plans that rival insurance co-pays. For under $50 a month, patients can receive four visits per month with options for add-on visits and family plans. An added bonus: walk-ins are welcome, meaning increased flexibility and access to one of the doctors.
“People are more likely to come in more often if they can get in and out quickly,” Ashley says. The goal is to help incorporate wellness into fast-paced lifestyles, and The Joint’s visible location on Ambassador Caffery Parkway (next to the new Five Guys Burgers & Fries) makes it easy and convenient to zip in and out of the facility.
The Joint was founded as a way for people to utilize chiropractic treatment as an integral part of health and wellness — preventive care or care that can complement treatments from orthopedists, neurologic specialists or even pain management doctors.
The Fontenots know what it means to care for patients with existing ailments working toward a goal of maximum health and wellness for those patients — the Eunice natives have experience with caring for a array of needs. Ashley spent time working with ortho-neuro surgeons in Houston where she developed a better understanding of interpreting X-rays and MRIs and then later worked in a rehabilitation clinic where she saw patients with varied health needs. “I have adjusted thousands of patients ranging from athletes, infants, children, pregnant women, teenagers and several geriatric patients dealing with acute and chronic conditions,” Ashley says. Her goal is constant — helping others achieve optimal health and well-being by enhancing the natural ability for the body to heal through chiropractic care.
Western medicine doesn’t always agree with the philosophies of models of care like chiropractic or other holistic treatments aimed at non-surgical and non-pharmacological intervention. Most people seek the care of medicine doctors as a means to fix a lingering problem whereas treatment from doctors of chiropractic aim to keep the body healthy with proper spinal alignment by hands-on spinal manipulation to prevent ailments. Manipulation is commonly used to restore mobility to joints impaired by tissue injuries from an accident such as falling, or pain caused by repetitive stress like those caused by poor body mechanics. Chiropractic care has been primarily used as a pain relief alternative for muscles, joints, bones and connective tissue.
In the ever-changing health care system, one can’t help but wonder if The Joint’s anti-insurance business model — monthly memberships or cash-only — could be the beginning of a trend for other health-related businesses.
Chiropractors blend non-pharmacological, non-surgical art of hands-on care with science and technology of modern medicine and physical rehabilitation.
• They treat acute and chronic conditions ranging from mild neck/back pain to headaches and even digestive disorders, treating the body as a whole and not just one part.
• The care triggers the body’s ability to heal through correcting vertebral misalignments in the spine through manual adjustment, electrical muscular stimulation, ultrasound or massage therapy.
• They incorporate overall wellness through proper spine alignment, exercise, nutrition, sleep and environmental factors — patients are encouraged to maintain health naturally by helping the body resist disease versus treating symptoms of disease.
• They do hands-on assessments like medicine doctors, including collecting a personal and family health history assessment, x-rays and lab work as needed.
• Chiropractors can work with other health professionals like orthopedists, neurosurgeons and physical therapists if symptoms persist beyond the chiropractic scope of practice.
• Chiropractic care is suitable for all ages. Spinal adjustments can help childhood ailments like respiratory and ear, nose and throat disorders.