For 34 years Dr. Kreg Huffer has worked at perfecting the art of chiropractic and alternative healing methods, unheard of to the uninformed. At the height of popularity, the Dr. Is in…and he ‘wants’ you to be informed.
Jackson Center – Dr. Kreg Huffer’s office was abuzz with activity on a recent evening.
“I’d like for you to come by,” he had said a couple of days prior. “Let’s sit down and talk and I want you to meet a couple of people who are coming by.”
Huffer is a chiropractor in Jackson Center, Ohio, a 1983 graduate from the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. He went into practice with his father in Jackson Center that same year, and for the past 34 years he’s established a reputation that’s attracted patients from far and wide – from all walks of life.
Some of his patients, like the two we met on this evening, swear by his expertise to the point of either flying across the country to see him; or, if you can’t come to the doctor, have the doctor come to you. Jarrod Uthoff, a 6’9” forward for the Dallas Mavericks, did just that last spring, flying Huffer to Dallas to see him when his schedule would not allow a trip east for an office visit.
Tens of thousands of people go to chiropractors every day, believing in the science of natural healing, structural alignment, and simply taking care of the body – letting the body heal itself.
But there are ten times that many who would admit to being cynical about it, squeamish over the thought of joint manipulation, or “getting your neck cracked”, and pursue the more popularized practice of good health through pharmaceuticals and treating the symptoms, rather than the root cause of disease.
“After doing this for almost four decades I’ve seen some things change,” says Huffer, speaking on the subject of cynicism. “It used to be that we only saw those that came as a last resort, after they’d been to seven other medical specialists without finding relief. If was a matter of ‘nothing else has worked. Can you fix this?
“Now that’s changed, especially in the information age where you can go to the internet and research things like you can now. People have become educated to the point of trying chiropractic first and finding success. I just came back from Palmer College where they shared a five-year survey that showed that 16% of those polled in that state were utilizing chiropractic care on a regular basis. We’re actually at a tipping point where even more people are expected in the future, given the cost of traditional medicine, drugs, insurance, and as the public becomes more open to a shift from the old way of doing things.”
At the start of a new sports year, Huffer is particularly engaged with the issues of how to actually “prevent” many of the common injuries that plague football, volleyball, and football athletes…before they happen.
“It’s a matter of proper muscle balance, and a properly functioning nervous system,” he explains. “As long as the body parts, whether it’s the lung, the liver, or your little toe, can communicate through the nervous system clearly to the brain to tell it what’s going on, the brain has the information to self-regulate, maintain and provide proper function to those things. Whatever the demand, the body has to be able to adapt to the stress it’s put under, so a clear nervous system is vital to good health. What chiropractic does is find the interferences with the nervous system and remove them.”
“I grew up never having gone to a chiropractor in my life,” says Uthoff, a native of Iowa, who played college basketball at Iowa before coming up through the NBA Developmental League and signing last March with the Dallas Mavericks.
“My wife knew Dr. Huffer, and since I’ve seen him my life has changed. I’ve had tendonitis in my knee for several years and the trainers would give me ice and ibuprofen. I’m a very intuitive person; I ask a lot of questions. And he answered my questions. I had sciatica and tendonitis in my knee and I flew him down to Dallas. He fixed it the first time he worked on me. He’s a genius.”
If Kreg Huffer had lived back in the day – amongst the native Americans of the Great Plains – he would have been a ‘Shaman’, a purveyor of healing through common sense, the mind, the natural order and balance, of things. And in fact, University of Michigan point guard Xavier Simpson, from Lima, soon appeared at his door during our visit seeking that ‘adjustment’ that Huffer has pursued to bring the body and all its part back into harmony.
“There are three ‘Ts’ that pretty much determine the body’s ability to maintain good health,” says Huffer. “Toxicity, trauma, and your thoughts. We all have some degree of toxicity from the environment and what we put into our bodies. We all suffer some kind of trauma from time to time. But the thoughts we have, or the emotional stresses we have, go a long way in determining your ability to feel better and heal. We work on those things here, with priority, and I have now since 1990.”
And to the issue of another sports year and the issues that come with physical traumas, and the issues of thoughts that play a vital role in good health, Huffer believes that the younger you start down the road of proper care for the body, the greater your chances for staying healthy throughout your entire life.
“Obviously chiropractic cannot fix a torn ACL,” he says. “Only a skilled surgeon can do that. But before the tendon is torn chiropractic can help the body maintain itself properly through proper structural balance. Structure determines function. And if structure isn’t right those parts aren’t going to function properly. And after it’s been repaired, chiropractic can help with the proper balance in their rehabilitative training.”
He’s quick to stress the importance of orthopedic medicine and its role with sports medicine, and the relationship between the two paths of care.
“Once an ACL is torn you have to go have the surgery to repair it. And there are great orthopedic surgeons that we refer to when they need surgery. We have a great relationship with the orthopedic community.”
But all Kreg Huffer wants is to share that there are alternatives to opioids and anti-inflammatory drugs – that attention given to proper alignment, balance, and maintenance can prevent many injuries and health issues; that chiropractic does not need to be the last resort.
Before all else fails – he likes to say – give your body a chance to heal itself!