Two years before I moved from Westchester County, NY, to Wesley Chapel and three years before I purchased the Neighborhood News in 1994, one of my last part-time jobs in New York was as a “freelance marketing rep,” for a company that mainly dealt with doctors, dentists and other medical professionals who prior to that time, had never done much advertising of any kind because it was frowned upon by their respective professions.
My first client was a chiropractor, so I opened with a joke I had recently heard.
“Doc, is it true that a chiropractor can fix literally anything that’s wrong with you…in ‘only’ 50 visits?”
My client responded with a smile, “No, young man, it takes 100 visits.”
Shortly after that, I spoke with an orthopaedic surgeon I greatly respected who said that, “Yes, chiropractic is at least a step above voodoo.”
Well, that was more than 20 years ago and I’m not laughing anymore.
I met Alex Pierroutsakos, who operates the new New Tampa location of The Joint Chiropractic Center (in the Publix-anchored New Tampa Center shopping plaza on Bruce B. Downs Blvd. at New Tampa/Cross Creek Blvd.) with his wife, Valerie, at a Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce (WCCC) mixer a month or two before The Joint opened in June. Alex was talking about his new franchise and how it works to a small group of Chamber members. My fiancé (then, my girlfriend) Jannah turned to me and said, “I’m definitely doing this.”
Jannah, who has been seeing chiropractors for years following an auto accident that left her with chronic lower back and neck pain, said the only reason she stopped going was because she could only afford one or two adjustments a month and that wasn’t really enough to keep her pain at bay.
I, on the other hand, had never had any back or neck pain of any kind through my 40s. The only ongoing pain I had ever experienced was knee pain likely caused by playing basketball on cement in my late 30s, when I was often 25-50 pounds overweight. I had arthroscopic surgery on both knees almost 15 years ago and once I also lost the bulk of that additional weight, the knee pain went away.
But, since turning 50 a few (too many) years ago, it seems like every time I sleep “funny” or have to sit for too long at the computer without a break on deadline, I have been getting neck and/or lower back pain that feels like a needle jabbing me if I move too quickly. And, although I’ve never gained back more than 25 of the 50 lbs. I lost after my knee surgeries, alternating between my non-deadline weeks — where I work out and/or kayak 4-5 days a week to some deadline weeks where I do no exercise at all — had amplified my other pain and made my knees so creaky again that I was often walking with a limp.
The more I got to know Alex and Valerie, the more I realized that The Joint was the place for me.
Alex was involved in a car accident where someone else died eight years or so ago, that left him minus a limb.
“I have struggled with managing pain as well as trying to stay active and healthy,” he says. “In order to stay healthy and not grow dependent on opioids and other drugs, I have found massage and chiropractic care to be the keys to managing my pain and staying pain-free. Unfortunately, chiropractic care has been limited due to insurance limitations and cost and I had only been able to go when there was a problem or injury. Until The Joint, no model was available for me to get these benefits to stay aligned to prevent injury and manage bouts of phantom pain and back pain. I am still very active as a runner, golfer, basketball, and active with my kids sports. ”
But, once these Wesley Chapel residents found The Joint franchise, Alex, a successful traveling business consultant, said he knew he had found the right niche for not only himself, but for a new business for his family.
“I realized that by having a Joint membership that offers four adjustments a month for one low price, I could take a more to take a proactive approach to my health, be in less pain, perform better in sports, while also saving money in the long run. And, I wanted to share that concept to other people.”
The Joint charges only $29 for an initial visit, which includes a consultation and physical exam with one of locations licensed chiropractic physicians (more on them below) and an adjustment, plus just $69 per month for four additional adjustments. If you need additional adjustments in a calendar month, they cost only $10 per visit.
The really cool thing about The Joint is that it stays open late (until 7 p.m.) and on weekends and you never need an appointment or even to call ahead. Since Jannah and I became the New Tampa location’s first two official clients on opening day in June, I have shown up more than a dozen times and have never had to wait more than 5 or 10 minutes to be seen by the doctor.
And, that’s by design. The Joint was originally founded in 1999 by a Doctor of Chiropractic with a vision to transform the traditional, often misunderstood concept of routine chiropractic care by making it more convenient, friendly and affordable. In March 2010, The Joint was re-founded with the acquisition of the original eight franchised clinics. Today, The Joint has grown to a nationwide network of more than 370 clinics utilizing more than 850 chiropractic physicians and the numbers continue to grow because it works. And, although no insurance is needed, The Joint is FSA (Healthcare Flexible Spending Account) and HSA (Health Savings Account)-accepted.
My New Friend, Dr. Barney
Although I had never met him before The Joint opened, I now consider the New Tampa location of The Joint’s Doctor of Chiropractic, Barnabas (Barney) Bickerton, D.C., to be my friend. Dr. Barney (photo, right) knew that I was nervous as I watched him adjust Jannah that first day (in The Joint’s open adjustment area) and he really took the time to discuss my issues before examining me. He then pinpointed, within a few moments, not only where I was feeling pain but also the source of that pain.
I told him the thing I was most worried about was having my neck adjusted, especially after watching him adjust Jannah’s neck, and he only massaged my neck in different positions that first visit. Instead, he focused not only on my back, but also on my achy knees and even the rotator cuffs in my arms.
Today, I’m an old pro at having my neck adjusted, thanks to the gentle, knowledgeable and caring Dr. Barney, and every time I visit The Joint, I feel better when I leave than I did when I came in.
And, Dr. Barney, who has more than 20 years of experience and earned his Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree from the Logan College of Chiropractic in Chesterfield, MO, isn’t alone at The Joint in New Tampa, where you also may see fellow D.C. Edward Leonard (whose TJ Wesley Chapel is listed as The Joint New Tampa’s owner; Alex and Valerie’s VALEX Inc. is listed as the location’s manager).
Both Jannah and her boss at the Pasco Education Foundation, Stacey Capogrosso, have both been adjusted by Dr. Leonard, as well as by Dr. Bickerton, and they agree that The Joint currently has two outstanding chiropractors.
“Val and I are focused on providing the care and experience from a customer and patient point of view,” Alex says. “We are both very strong believers in chiropractic care and focus on delivering the same experience we expect for ourselves but now to our customers that we serve in our neighborhood. Our location draws from both New Tampa and Wesley Chapel, which are both very health-oriented areas.”
Alex also says that the Wesley Chapel Chamber has been instrumental in helping The Joint get connected to the community and local businesses. “But, more important is how welcoming the Chamber has been to us,” he says. “We are new to the area and were unsure of how the Chamber would help us. But, the Chamber members have welcomed us with open arms and helped us feel more connected with the community.”
And, The Joint has made me a believer, too. I feel great and I’ve even stopped limping.
For more information about The Joint Chiropractic-New Tampa Center (19014 BBD Blvd.), call (813) 995-7380, or visit TheJoint.com .