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Summit Chiropractic treats sports, general patients

Asdrubal Lopez, of Summit Chiropractic and Sports Institute, applies injury recovery techniques to North Central High School cross-country and track athlete Kai Wilmot. (Dan Pelle)
Asdrubal Lopez, of Summit Chiropractic and Sports Institute, applies injury recovery techniques to North Central High School cross-country and track athlete Kai Wilmot. (Dan Pelle)

Whether patients have a stiff neck, unaligned spine or athletic injury, Summit Chiropractic and Sports Institute aims to offer a multidisciplinary approach to wellness and a return to normal movement, treating both general and sports-related musculoskeletal conditions.

The clinic offers chiropractic care, massage, active release technique, Kinesio taping, functional rehabilitation and nutrition counseling as well as group rehabilitation and strengthening sessions.

Chiropractic sport physician Asdrubal Lopez purchased South Pines Chiropractic in February 2013 so he could be close to his Valley home and family. Lopez said about half his patients are the typical range of people who come for spinal adjustments. The rest are athletes, primarily runners, who want to recover from or prevent injuries and improve athletic performance.

“I wanted to have a general practice atmosphere and add an athletic side to it, where I could treat regular patients and athletes,” explained Lopez.

That’s why Kai Wilmot, a North Central High School senior who set a course record while winning Nike Cross Nationals in December, comes to the clinic.

Lopez, who is also a triathlete, is the current chair of sports science and medicine for the Inland Northwest chapter of the USA Track and Field Association.

As an elite athlete, Wilmot has experienced a lot of injuries, including iliotibial band injuries, a stress fracture and a hip flexor injury, all of which have sidelined him for many competitive events over the past year.

“I missed both state championships,” Wilmot said, noting right before the Nike meet he felt more healthy, strong and ready to run than he had in months. He attributes some of his healing to treatment by Lopez.

During a recent session, Lopez performed active release technique on Wilmot’s legs, separating his quad muscles from the IT band, then stretching, extending and breaking up scar tissue.

Lopez said the goal is to get better movement and running mechanics to help improve Wilmot’s stride as well as treat an injury-prone area. “It’s better mechanics so the muscle can do its job,” Lopez said.

“It’s not comfortable but it feels better afterward,” Wilmot said. “He’s helped me get back on the track or cross country course. As far as staying healthy, it’s important for me.”

To help athletes like Wilmot recover from hard workouts more quickly, the clinic recently purchased a NormaTec Recovery System. Extending from toe to hip, it looks like a pair of inflatable snow or hockey pants but is designed to massage and compress to increase circulation while decreasing swelling, soreness and lactic acid build-up in the muscles.

“You can push your body more. With runners that’s a big deal,” said Lopez, explaining that it mimics the body’s lymphatic system, flushing lactic acid from the muscles. Last week, Wilmot was the first client to test it out.

“It’s cool,” Wilmot said. “My legs feel hot but once it lets go I can feel the blood being pushed around.”

While Lopez said he enjoys treating athletes, he wants to keep the clinic’s 50-50 ratio of athletes to standard chiropractic patients.

His slogan, stenciled on the wall and printed on business cards, reads “You don’t have to be an athlete to be treated like one.”

Lopez said his approach to chiropractic care is to get patients beyond just adjustments, helping them rehabilitate so they don’t have to see him long-term.

“It’s different than general chiropractic. It’s not pop, pop, pop,” Lopez said.

Instead, he said he focuses on how muscles and ligaments can stabilize the joint for better mobility, with the goal to help patients decrease pain, increase mobility and build strength to avoid future injuries and problems with basic movements that impede daily living.

“I’m big into functional training and rehab, making them stronger and better and out of here. We want them out of here,” he said. “I love treating patients who want to do gardening. To me, that’s just as successful as seeing Kai win a national championship.”