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Local chiropractic care is marked with changes

2011 sees personnel additions, new trends

January 30, 2012
Messenger News


Messenger staff writer

From growing partnerships with Trinity Regional Medical Center to lasers in the office, there are several new trends and changes in the field of chiropractic care that can benefit and help patients in Fort Dodge and the surrounding area.

Article Photos

Dr. John D. Calisesi looks over a set of x-rays in his office’s consulting room recently. Calisesi’s daughter and son-in-law, Drs. Carrie Jo Calisesi and Brady Pearson, joined his practice in 2011.

Dr. John Calisesi has been in practice in Fort Dodge since 1976.

Among many changes he's seen during that time is who patients go to first. He said that in the past, patients would seek out chiropractic care after exhausting other medical care; today, for many patients, the reverse is more frequently true.

"They see us before they go that route," he said.

Calisesi is also proud that he works closely with the medical community to help patients.

"We were the first chiropractic clinic to have limited privileges at the hospital," he said.

He is able to order X-rays, MRI and CAT scans for his patients and have them looked over by a radiologist. He is also able to view the films online through the hospital's computerized record system.

He sites an example of where a patient's back pain turned out to be caused by a cancer. Because an MRI study was taken, he was able to direct the patient to an oncologist. An X-ray would not show that.

"That's the way it's supposed to work," he said. "When the two work together the benefit is to the patient."

Another recent change he's seen, his daughter, Dr. Carrie Jo Calisesi and his son-in-law, Dr. Brady S. Pearson, have joined the practice. a fourth doctor, Sid A. Steck, rounds out the practice.

"It's excellent," he said of having his family with him at he clinic.

He also finds that he is able to learn from them and them from him.

"They energize me," he said. "They make me think when they ask me a question but I learn more from them."

Dr. Brad Messerly has been in practice in Fort Dodge since 2005.

He also enjoys a working relationship with Trinity Regional Medical Center.

"We get better images with their digital X-ray machine than we do here," he said.

He finds that chiropractic care has also seen greater acceptance in the medical community and that it benefits both.

"I refer some patients to doctors, and we've had people referred to us." he said.

He and other chiropractors say it depends on the nature of the illness. Some things, such as a sore back with no obvious cause, may be best treated with chiropractic methods; an organic illness, such as a cancer or heart disease, is best handled by the medical field.

"We can't cure everything but can help with a lot," he said.

Another trend being seen in the field today is an increase in multi-doctor practices. This allows several chiropractors to share resources, areas of special skills, office staff and overhead costs.

"When you have more people you have more tools in the toolbox," Messerly said.

Dr. Joshua Mason, of Active Health Chiropractic, recently expanded his clinic's ability to serve. His brother Zachary Mason joined him in the practice in August 2011.

"We get along great," he said, "He's a good positive energy."

Mason is also seeing the trend toward chiropractic care first for the treatment of muscle and skeletal problems.

Mason - like many other practitioners - tries to gently guide his patients towards an overall lifestyle that encourages good health. This includes a good diet, regular exercise, vitamin supplements and stress reduction.

His practice can offer counseling to help with that.

"We partner with a licensed dietitian," he said.

He also believes in setting a good example.

"Diet, nutrition and an active lifestyle is important," he said. "I live it myself."

Dr. Benjamin Acree began his Fort Dodge practice in April. Before that, he worked in Las Vegas for five years.

"We wanted to raise our kids back here," he said.

One of the unique features in his office is a Class IV laser; he said he's one of only a few chiropractors to offer it.

"We use it to treat pain from injuries and chronic conditions," he said.

He said there are not known side effects and that it works by stimulating the body's own healing process.

One of the common threads he sees in his patients is a lack of time in people's live to take care of themselves properly.

"Our health would be better if we had little more time to invest," he said.

He's also said that he is seeing more non-pain ailments in his practice.

Another area where he can offer help is the area of biomechanics and other issues in the workplace.

Dr. Jason Laird, who practices at the Huseman Chiropractic Clinic in Fort Dodge, said he's seeing many of the same trends other practitioners are, particularly patients who come to him first.

He said that for reasons of fear, finances, difficult access and not liking to be poked with needles, many prefer chiropractic care as their primary care.

"We're a good doorway to health," he said.

He also stressed that in Iowa, a chiropractor has to take 60 hours of continuing education every two years. This is in addition to passing board tests and finishing eight years of school.

He said that after practicing for 12 years, he still learns from his patients.

"You learn more and more when you adjust somebody," he said.

One of the things he offers in his practice is the Graston technique, which uses stainless steel bars to treat soft tissue injuries. He said he sees many patients who have lingering muscle scar tissue from things like automobile accidents where the therapy helps them.

"It's used with stretching and ice packs to cool down the tissue," he said.

Even though chiropractic care has seen an increase in use and acceptance, there are still skeptics.

Mason offers them an invitation.

"Give it a try for yourself," he said.

Contact Hans Madsen at (515) 573-2141 or



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