Meet Dr. Brown

I received my undergraduate degree in 1991 from Westfield State University and then graduated with honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1998.  Since graduation I have completed certification as a Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP), American College of Addictionology and Compulsive Disorders in Auriculotherapy, Kennedy Decompression Technique, Back Project Corporation; Active Therapeutic Movement, Nutritional Response Testing (NRT), and Holder Research Institute; Torque Release Technique Advanced Proficiency.  I have taken countless hours of continuing education classes all in an effort to continue to improve my knowledge, skill, and technique to better serve the people who entrust me to help them with their health and life.   I am a member of the Virginia Chiropractic Association (board member 2001-03), the International Chiropractic Association, and the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research.

Originally from upstate New York, I found my way to SWVA after chasing my now wife Melissa, who at the time was living in Wytheville, VA.  Of course shortly after I graduated and moved to Tazewell she moved to Raleigh, NC (but that’s a story for another time).   My plan eventually worked out and we now have three great kids; Elizabeth, Audrey, and Sophie.  We are a pretty active family and being with my girls is one of my greatest values and passions.

My professional journey has definitely changed as my understanding and appreciation for chiropractic and its role in health has evolved the past several years.  Early in practice I was what I now call a “limited scope, pain-based chiropractor”.  I initially practiced the way I was taught in school and it was also how most chiropractors I knew and learned from practiced.  I focused on your primary complaint, or pain, and did my best to alleviate it using both chiropractic adjustments and various therapies.  My practice has evolved since then from a “pain-based” practice to a “brain-based” practice.  The critical difference is that I now understand the significant relationship between your nervous system and your ability to adapt to stress and be healthy.  I now focus on identifying the cause of the symptom; whether it’s pain, low-energy, digestion, sleep, or any of the many signals or symptoms your body may be expressing.

However, I’ve also lived with severe and chronic pain and when I was suffering the only thing I cared about was for it to go away.  I get it.  It can be brutal.  It was for me.  The pain was horrible, but what was even worse was how it disrupted my life.  It can rob you of so much.  Work was a struggle, and for longer and more often than I’d like to admit, by the time I got through the work day I would be worthless.  Nothing left for my family or myself.  When Elizabeth and Audrey were young I think the most frequent memory they have of me was me laying on my back on the floor icing every night after work.  I get it.  I am convinced that most people come to me not because of pain, but because the pain or some other symptom is robbing them of life.  It interferes with their participation, or at the least enjoyment of something and/or someone that is very important to them.

Your brain controls all body function….including healing.  The most common place an interruption of communication between your brain and body occurs is where the nerves exit the spine.  We now have sophisticated computerized technology to identify stress on the nervous system, and if it does exist, measures the severity and location of the nerve stress.  We also utilize digital x-ray to fully access if any stress is on the spine that may be interfering with the spinal cord and/or the exiting nerves.  Suffice it to say we have objective outcome measures to accurately access the entirety of the nervous system.

Pain is an important indicator that we need to pay attention to.  That said, there is a vast difference between healthy and just not symptomatic (in pain).  More and more people are seeking us out for spinal and nervous system “check-ups” without any obvious symptoms.  The analogies are endless, but consider your dental health.  Do you wait for your teeth to hurt before you brush and floss?  I certainly hope not.  Your nervous system controls, coordinates, and regulates every other organ and system in your body.   Once interfered with, and mind you this almost always occurs initially without symptoms, your nervous system can no longer control, coordinate, and regulate all your body functions properly.  You are no longer functioning at 100%, the body is now in a state of dis-ease (or lack of ease), and over time you are robbed of your optimal expression of health.  Our mission is to help you and your family live a healthier life now and for the rest of your life by objectively identifying if your current state of health (or lack of) is related to possible spinal misalignments that are disrupting the normal function of your nervous system.  If we find that your health (including your health concerns and goals) can be helped with our brand of chiropractic care we will tell you.  Rest assured that if we determine you can be better served by another health care professional we will make that referral without delay.

Most recently we have incorporated more lifestyle modifications into our care protocols for our practice members interested in taking their health to the next level.  More and more research is substantiating the connection between health and lifestyle.  What we once accepted as conditions that were beyond our control because we had been told they were genetic, is now being replaced by more and more science proving they are caused mostly by our lifestyle.   We continue to bring new information, ideas, and strategies to our practice family to help them reduce their physical, chemical, and emotional stress by improving how they eat, move and think.  After all, our mission statement is “to help you and your family live a healthier life today and for the rest of your life”.

Meet Dr. Willis

John Willis DC chiropractor Richlands VA 2I have been in Richlands since 1976 when my wife Jane and I, along with our daughters Virginia and Sarah, moved here from Darlington, South Carolina. I had sworn never to return to the coalfields. However, the recruiting of my brother, Dr. Jerry Ray Willis of Wytheville), Senator Barnes and the Moss Family of Burkes Garden coupled with a visit to the Richlands Area Chamber of Commerce (Barbara Altizer, Mr. Watts and Gene Hurst) and the beauty of the area on an early autumn morning and, within two hours, I had changed my mind. Jane told me, “If you want to go to Richlands, please don’t drag me all over this state.” We didn’t have to come here. We made a choice and a wonderful one, which we have never regretted.

Jane is a Virginia Tech grad (like Dr. Harman and his home boys) but I am a University of Kentucky graduate. I also hold an MA from Old Dominion University and earned my Doctor of Chiropractic from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. I am a Navy veteran and, while I wasn’t a particularly happy camper at the time, I am now grateful I had the opportunity to serve. I also served a year in the National Guard. I hold a diplomate in orthopedics and certification in the treatment of sports injuries. I served as assistant editor of Nutritional Perspectives for several years. I also co-edited Spinal Manipulation for three years and edited Chiropractic History for a dozen years (with help from local friends Mary Sue Dean and Dena Bostic). I was elected a fellow of the International College of Chiropractic and served as the president of the Palmer College of Chiropractic International Alumni Association. Some people, even Americans, had a little difficulty understanding my accent!

I always wanted to be a pioneer so I was fortunate to come here – no chiropractor in five Virginia counties, McDowell County, WV and only one in Pike County, Kentucky.

What an opportunity to work! I have done my best to serve well, but when people thank me I am embarrassed. The people of our area have treated me and my family so well, so kindly, that I, in truth, cannot repay you all. And now we are four generations here in Tazewell County! I have trained and worked hard to be able to deliver the best care I can. I admit that. Still, people have overlooked my faults and errors and given me much more than they have received. When Jane and I retired (the first time), people asked us, “Where are you going to move to now that you are retired?” No where. We are home.

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