Sitting at a red light in January of this year, Wesley Chapel residents Cindy Griffiths and her husband James were suddenly rear-ended. It was especially scary for Cindy, who had brain surgery in 2000 after a car accident. After an MRI following the more recent accident, she was looking for a chiropractor for treatment of two bulging discs and two herniated discs in her neck.
In an online search, James found the Back To Wellness Center Chiropractic & Physical Therapy, located in the Summergate Professional Center behind Sam’s Club off of S.R. 56.
“I was in pretty bad shape the first time I walked in,” says Cindy, “but I felt wonderful when I left.”
Cindy says what she liked about the Back To Wellness Center was the integration of chiropractic care, physical therapy and massage, all in one practice. Owner Jonathan Hancock, D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractic), says that’s what sets his office apart from others in the area.
“By combining chiropractic care with physical therapy and massage therapy, we’re not just going to get you out of pain,” Dr. Hancock says, “Our goal is to rehabilitate you so the condition doesn’t become chronic.”
Dr. Hancock opened the Back To Wellness Center in 2012. He was born and raised in Dade City, where his family business is in agriculture. He earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in political science from the University of South Florida in 2006, then attended Palmer College of Chiropractic in Port Orange, FL, earning his D.C. degree in 2010.
Alexandra Ellison-Cherny, D.C., joined the staff nearly two years ago, after also earning her D.C. degree from Palmer College in 2014. Prior to that, she earned a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Biology from the University of Central Florida in Orlando in 2011.
The integration with physical therapy happens because of the close partnership between the chiropractors and the Back To Wellness Center’s staff physical therapist (PT) Justin Spiegel, DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy). Dr. Spiegel also is a Certified Mulligan Concept Practitioner, which he explains is a specific type of manual technique that restores joint function without increasing pain. He says he is one of just a handful of practitioners with this particular certification in the state of Florida.
“We work closely together and even sit down and brainstorm specific conditions,” says Dr. Hancock. “We give patients a higher level of care because we are right under the same roof.” He says having patients work directly with the physical therapist means he and Dr. Ellison-Cherney have more time to ensure they properly diagnose and treat underlying conditions, not just symptoms. “Patients get better quicker because we’re all on the same page.”
The staff also includes physical therapy assistant Robby Bell, PTA, RCA (registered chiropractic assistant), two licensed massage therapists (LMTs) and office manager Sierra Robinson.
“What drew me to this practice is that we have all these different modalities to treat people,” says Dr. Ellison-Cherny. “In my experience, it’s never just one thing that’s the answer. By using chiropractic, physical therapy and massage therapy, we help people to (not only) feel better, but stay better.”
The Back To Wellness Center treats a wide variety of musculoskeletal pain or conditions. “We cater to all walks of life,” says Hancock. “From workers comp injuries to auto accidents to athletes.”
A major focus of the doctors is that their patients have to be able to continue the exercises designed for them at home, so that they can stay well and pain-free.
Dr. Spiegel says most physical therapy exercises are designed to use the body’s own weight.
“We don’t need weight machines in the physical therapy room,” says Dr. Spiegel. “We’re trying to reeducate muscles to be strong enough to support the body. Those muscles don’t need a lot of resistance to restore function. We start with a set of stretches and exercises using a resistance band, and we’ll even give you the resistance band to take home with you so you can continue at home.”
Dr. Hancock echoes this important sentiment. “We teach our patients to be proactive,” he says. “When they do the exercises at home, they don’t have to come in to the office as often. We provide papers with pictures to show patients how to do the exercises, and we practice them here. By the time they leave, it’s ingrained in them what they should do. When they are disciplined and follow through, we really see the results.”
Dr. Ellison-Cherny and Dr. Hancock say anyone can benefit from visiting their office. “Pain is the last thing you feel,” says Dr. Ellison-Cherny. “Unless you’ve experienced a traumatic accident, usually the conditions are there a long time before you feel pain.”
They agree that while every treatment plan is tailored to the individual, the Back To Wellness Center often offers shorter treatment plans than patients might expect, because of the integration of physical therapy and massage therapy on site. “I would say we average three to five visits to get out of pain for non-traumatic injuries,” says Dr. Hancock.
He adds that the office accepts all insurance plans and is “in network” for the vast majority of plans. “We also offer flexible, affordable cash pay plans, and work with CareCredit financing, too,” he says.
A Pain-Free Education
For Cindy and James Griffiths, their treatment at The Back To Wellness Center was just what the doctors hope each of their patients will experience.
“They really, really educated us and were very helpful,” says Cindy. “In addition to the chiropractic care, the physical therapy and massage therapy really helped. I didn’t have physical therapy after my brain surgery in 2000, because it wasn’t offered to me. I wish it had been, because it’s been really good.”
In fact, she says the Back to Wellness Center helped her and James change many of their “bad habits,” such as teaching James how to properly get up from a lying down position. For Cindy, “Since my brain surgery, I had been holding my neck in a very stiff way, and Robby showed me how to not be so stiff. Just the other day I was saying, ‘I can’t believe I can turn my head like that.’”
Cindy adds that she and James came in for treatments for about six weeks, but after five weeks, they were completely off Ibuprofen and aspirin and felt much better. “If we have any problems, we would go back, but so far we haven’t had any,” says Cindy. “I’m still practicing what I was taught. I do the exercises and I feel great.”
The Back To Wellness Center Chiropractic & Physical Therapy is located at 27454 Cashford Cir., in the Summergate Professional Center, behind Sam’s Club off S.R. 56. The office is open Monday-Wednesday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; 3 p.m.-7 p.m. on Thursday; and 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. on Friday. For more information, visit WesleyChapelChiropractor.com, call 973-4747 to make an appointment.