If there’s anyone who can attest to the efficacy of chiropractic treatment, it’s Dr. Anton Cancio.
Susceptible to sprains in his ankle as a kid, Cancio, who grew up in the States, was 12 when his mother took him to see a chiropractor for yet another ankle sprain incurred while playing basketball. A consultation revealed his left leg was shorter than his right leg, so that when he landed after a jump, his right foot would touch ground first, followed by his left foot, prompting injuries. Sessions with the chiropractor eventually corrected his pelvic imbalance.
But the decision to become a chiropractor (that is, a doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of problems that affect the alignment of the muscles and bones of the body) happened after another major injury, this time in college.
Spraining his back badly after lifting a heavy dumbbell in the gym, Cancio was in so much pain, “I couldn’t bend forward to wash my face or sit in class for more than a minute,” he recalls.
A volunteer at both a physical therapy center and chiropractic clinic at the time, Cancio sought treatment first at the center. When that yielded little results, he went to the chiropractor two weeks later.
“There’s no way in hell you’re going to crack my back with this much pain,” Cancio recalls telling him. A manual adjustment of his spine, however, changed his mind—and his life. “Within a week, the rate of improvement dramatically shot up,” he says. “I was still in pain, but there was immediate relief and I was able to move better.”
Taking on other volunteer jobs in chiropractic clinics convinced him even more that this was the path for him.
“I just fell in love with it. It’s holistic, it’s drug-free, and you avoid surgery. Instead of asking, ‘Where does it hurt? Let me fix that pain,’ you look at your patient as a whole.”
“The good thing is, I know what it’s like to be in so much pain, so I have more empathy,” he concludes. “I let my patients know I’ve been there.”
<strong>Chiropractor vs ‘hilot’</strong>
Cancio completed his Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Tech University, followed by four-and-a-quarter years studying his specialization at California’s Palmer College of Chiropractic West, “the Harvard of chiropractic schools,” he says. He is licensed by the National and California State Board Examiners as well as the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians. Additionally, he pursued post-graduate studies in sports injuries, and is a certified chiropractic sports physician.
Once a last resort, chiropractic is slowly being recognized as an effective treatment against back and body pain. But Cancio cautions, “You can’t massage an injury too soon. I know a lot of people who have a massage after hurting themselves in the gym only to end up in more pain after. You have to wait for the body to stabilize first before you have it massaged.”
“Hilots work, they really do,” says Cancio, who is aware of comparisons made between chiropractors and practitioners of traditional Filipino massage. “They definitely have a place in health care. We all do.”
One thing that sets the two disciplines apart is the fact that chiropractic “is scientific and research-based. That means we have the ability to fully diagnose a condition, read an x-ray or MRI, and understand the different causes of pain in a specific body part,” says Cancio. Moreover, chiropractors can co-manage a patient with other physicians, like a neurologist or orthopedic doctor.
The difference between chiropractors and physical therapists, meanwhile, is that PTs are focused on neuromuscular education and will execute specific rehabilitation techniques recommended by a doctor. Chiropractors, on the other hand, are physicians primarily focused on the spine.
Cancio’s clinic in Greenhills certainly covers all the bases of pain and management and treatment. Deeming itself the expert in spinal hygiene (“Everything else is secondary to the spine,” says Cancio), Cancio Chiropractic addresses back, hip, neck and arm pain, headaches, arthritis pain and stiffness, golfer and tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, frozen shoulder, scoliosis and slipped disc, postural correction in children, and a host of sports injuries.
Treatments range from chiropractic spinal alignment, myofascial release therapy, and electric muscle stimulation to myotherapy, rehabilitation, foot orthotics and Kinesio taping.
“A balanced spine is essential in maintaining flexibility,” reads one of the clinic’s brochures. “By maintaining proper spine alignment, early spine decay or arthritis can be prevented, bad posture can be improved to maximize the growth potential in children and young adults, and mobility in the elderly can be enhanced.”
The latest addition to this roster of services is the Triton DTS Decompression Machine, a more advanced version, says Cancio, of the typical traction table. Whereas the latter is a flat bed that literally “tractions” or pulls your spine, the decompression machine is more specific in its design and function.
First, the bed can be made to tilt and thus effectively target problem areas like the neck, lower back and legs. The machine also has a variety of pre-set programs that address the stretching and decompression needs of different patients. (Everyone from those with acute and chronic pain to females weighing less than 150 lbs. has a program.)
And, unlike the traction table, the Triton DTS Decompression Machine aids in disc imbibition, or a movement that promotes the healthy hydration of discs in the spine.
To prepare for a session with the machine, a client undergoes 15-20 minutes of electrotherapy in the lower back to warm up tight muscles before spending another 10-18 minutes strapped in the Triton DTS.
Treatment for a sore back does not end there: Cancio recommends strengthening exercises as well as proper sleeping and sitting positions to further alleviate pain and correct any imbalances.
“Wherever my patients spend most of their day, I really focus on what they do on the 23 hours outside of the clinic,” he says.
Used by Cancio during his practice in the US, the decompression machine was introduced in his Greenhills clinic last January. When spinal manipulation doesn’t provide enough relief, therapy with the decompression machine is recommended to patients with slipped disc (or a rupture in the shock-absorbing discs between the bones of the spine, causing the gel-like substance in the disc to leak and put pressure on the spine or nearby nerves).
“It’s an additional tool in my belt,” says Cancio of the machine. “In non-surgical cases, this gives me the confidence to help people.”
Others have benefited from the Triton DTS as well. Basketball players, golfers, tennis players, badminton players, and triathletes have all experienced relief from their sports-specific aches and pains, as have patients suffering from spinal stenosis, or the narrowing of the spinal column.
Even Cancio has had some time on the machine. “I use it on myself,” he says with a smile, “just to get a really good stretch.”
For consultations, visit Cancio Chiropractic at Unit 202 Missouri Square Bldg., 101 Missouri corner Connecticut Streets, Greenhills, San Juan, or call 7227530, 5022882 or 0917-5807530.