Alpha Chiropractic opens in Loomis Hall building

Published on Wed, Jan 6, 2010 by Tara Nelson

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Stop by to visit Roy Nicholson, Blaine’s newest chiropractor, and he will tell you the original meaning of the word doctor is teacher.


“I like to consider myself more than just a backcracker,” he said. “I’m more like a health manager for my patients. My goal is to teach people how to take care of themselves in a healthy manner. It’s more than just the adjustment; it’s offering that patient emotional support, nutritional and exercise counseling, and also stress management.”

Nicholson, who has lived in the area since 1997, said he has visited Birch Bay and Blaine all his life so it made sense for him and his family to move from what he referred to as the bustling Vancouver “rat race” to a place where he has the ability to spend the proper amount of time with his clients – especially in an era when family care physicians limit their patients’ visits to about five or 10 minutes and their focus rests on disease or sick care as opposed to preventative maintenance.

In contrast, Nicholson said he spends often up to 90 minutes on the first visit and up to 60 minutes each additional visit. “I don’t rush people through,” he said.

He opened his Blaine office in the Loomis Hall building at 288 Martin street in November. A graduate of the University of Alberta, he also attended Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, graduating in 1986. He also maintains a canine chiropractic practice in Vancouver where he works two days a week.

For his human patients, however, Nicholson uses what he calls a “diversified adjusting technique” that pays attention to the extremities as well as the spine and soft tissue. To do this, he employs a vibracusser, or a variable speed massage tool, and a “thumper” percussion massager that helps break down non-functional fibrotic scar tissue that keeps the muscles from working.

“The [chiropractic] adjustment is only as good as the muscles crossing the joint,” he explained. “A lot of times after soft tissue work I do range of motion treatments with the patients. The last thing I do is the actual adjustment.

“Sometimes I won’t give an adjustment for the first few visits because some patients’ bodies just aren’t ready to accept it. In those cases, the worst thing you could do is force an adjustment. In the meantime, however, I would do soft tissue work.”

Nicholson offered these tips for keeping your spine healthy:

• 10 Times Rule: “Whatever you’re lifting, multiply that weight by 10. That will give you an idea of how much pressure it is putting on your lower disc.”

• Sleeping: “Don’t sleep on a soft mattress. Instead, choose a mattress that’s harder than you would like.”

• Posture: ”A lot of us tend to live our lives in almost a fetal-like position. We slouch forward at the office and sleep in a little ball at night. This contributes to shortening of the pectoral muscles. A good way to counteract this is to sit up straight, bring your shoulders back and raise the sternum up. You could also perform a highly effective stretch by placing your hands on your shoulders and rotating your elbows in a clockwise motion, starting with small circles and eventually working into large circles.”

• Morning stretch:  “When you wake up in the morning, sit on the edge of the bed with your arms bent in front of you, your hands in front of your chest, and twist left and right from your waist.
Nicholson’s office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and Saturday by appointment. For more information call 603-4120.