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Cleveland Chiropractic College News

Sept. 09, 2010

Synergy key goal of Drs. Teter, Stevens

Dr. Tom Teter '05 treats a patient at Synergy Health & Wellness, the practice he co-owns with fellow CCCKC alum Dr. Ryan Stevens '05.

The world is an ever-changing place and so too is health care. With the hectic pace of society today, few people can afford to have their daily routine disrupted by injury or chronic pain. This has given rise to more innovative treatment methods that deliver positive results quickly, broadening the scope of care. While chiropractic is the primary form of treatment for most practitioners, some are incorporating other methodologies that not only aid in recovery, but that also help increase patient performance.

Two CCCKC classmates are successfully building this type of multidimensional practice in Westwood, Kan. Dr. Tom Teter and Dr. Ryan Stevens, both 2005 graduates, present their facility, Synergy Health & Wellness, as a place where patient care goes beyond a pain relief model. They believe that health, fitness and performance can and should be optimized in every individual. To achieve this, they provide chiropractic care and also offer soft-tissue manipulation, corrective exercises and performance training.

In using a variety of strategies they hope to alleviate pain, correct the cause of the pain, and help prevent further injury by correcting muscular imbalances that may cause movement impairments. They see fewer patients, which allows them to offer more in-depth care and better understand the issues causing patient discomfort.

“In our practice we have decided to take a different approach than many other chiropractors we know,” Teter said. “We spend on average 30 to 60 minutes with each patient, and see no more than eight to 12 patients per day. This allows us to not only treat their pain symptoms, but to also properly diagnose the underlying cause, prescribe corrective exercises and even offer personal training services to build their strength and correct imbalances to prevent further injury and pain.”

In addition to their Doctor of Chiropractic degree, both hold various certifications, including Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) and Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES). The combination of their chiropractic education and other training allows them to assist patients in a myriad of ways.

CSCSs are professionals who apply scientific knowledge to train athletes for the primary goal of improving performance. They conduct sport-specific testing sessions, design and implement safe and effective strength training and conditioning programs and provide guidance regarding nutrition and injury prevention. CESs are elite professionals experienced in human movement science, as well as injury prevention and recovery expertise to generate more revenue working with today’s deconditioned population. PESs are trained in fitness and enhanced athletic performance and work with sports professionals at all levels, from the secondary education and university tier, to professional and Olympic level athletes.

“Our primary goal in practice is very simple. That is, to get results for our patients — period,” Teter said. “We feel we have a unique practice, because we can affect many aspects of our patients’ lives outside of just the traditional pain model. We use a diverse set of tools to decrease pain, decrease movement impairments by improving neuromuscular efficiency, and improving performance through strength training.”

Their methods have allowed them to expand their treatment and training to include a broad range of athletes from football players and mixed martial artists, to cyclists and soccer players. They have also been a part of the physician staff for the Kansas City Explorers tennis team for the last four years.

The practice still relies heavily on chiropractic, and although the academic and clinical preparation they received at the College was the foundation for their career, it hasn’t ended there. The implementation of those skills each day in practice only adds to their knowledge base, but there are still moments of humility along the way.   

“The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know,” Stevens said. “Although Cleveland laid out a solid foundation, it was just that, a foundation to build upon. They gave us the tools to allow us to continue to learn.”

Teter mentioned other tools provided by the College, things that were of great value when the two men set out to build their business. The training he and Stevens received outside of the academic realm was important as well. The many resources made available while they were CCCKC students served them well in their transition to health care providers.

“The business courses on practice development and practice start-up helped give us the confidence to open a practice of our own,” Teter said. “The guest speakers on insurance, financing, patient care and marketing gave us a large advantage in developing a flourishing practice.”

And that development continues as the two prepare to move their practice to a new location. Although there is much to be done, they are prepared for a bright future in a new office that will see them expand their services to serve their patients better than ever before.

“This is a big step,” Stevens said. “We are going from a very small office with very low overhead, to a much larger office with more overhead and significantly more employees and moving parts. The beauty of it is that we have had time to work out the ‘kinks’ in a facility very similar to ours. So, although there is some anxiety, there is also a lot of excitement.”

Looking back on the road they’ve traveled in the five years since graduation, the two can now speak from experience about what new graduates can expect. If he were to talk to a current student, Teter would offer words of caution, suggest that they keep their egos in check and expect to face a variety of challenges.
“Being a physician is what you do professionally, not who you are as a person,” Teter said. “You will make many mistakes as you start your practice, so accept that and learn from the mistakes. There is so much to overwhelm and confuse new doctors, so find a mentor — someone who does what you want to do — and absorb everything you can.”

Stevens echoed that sentiment, saying the discipline changes constantly and so the flow of new information never ceases. To be successful, the new practitioner must embrace that information and recognize that learning continues even after the diploma is earned. He added that those who think they’ve mastered the profession upon their graduation will be “in for a big surprise.”

Their confidence has been building since graduation, but Stevens and Teter have not become complacent. They continue to be extremely driven in their pursuit for professional excellence.

Teter stressed the importance of continuing to learn, saying they try to question everything they do to challenge themselves and grow as practitioners. The one thing that is without question is the success they have experienced so far.

Visit synergyhealthandwellness.com on the World Wide Web to learn more about their practice.