Dr. Steve Thaxton is a graduate of Abilene Christian University (ACU) and Parker College of Chiropractic, a Board Certified Acupuncturist and Rehabilitation Specialist, and Brimhall certified.
Dr. Thaxton served as the personal chiropractor and fitness consultant for the rock band Guns N’ Roses for their 2-1/2 year world tour, and has also been Jon Bon Jovi’s personal chiropractor and personal fitness consultant for the past decade, including four world tours.
Dr. Thaxton’s sports background is extensive, with a state pole-vaulting title and AAA first team All State football team selection. He also qualified for the United States Olympic trials in both 1984 and 1988 and was the 1986 National Pole Vaulting Champion. He is currently one of the top ten mountain bike racers in the state of West Virginia, ranking second in the nation in 2004 and 13th in the world.
In an interview with The American Chiropractor (TAC), Dr. Thaxton describes some pretty amazing things that are going on in his insurance-based practice, where he treats everything “from Anger to Zygomycosis.”
TAC: What inspired you to become a chiropractor?
Thaxton: In the spring of 1987, I was the defending Division II National Pole Vaulting Champion and, on a Tuesday night, I hurt my back in the weight room while training. My teammates took me to the hospital because I could not walk or stand. The hospital did the usual with painkillers and muscle relaxing prescriptions and told me to stay in bed for 2 weeks.
Well, at ACU, you miss 7 classes and you’re out; and I wasn’t about to give up 2 weeks in the middle of my senior season of Track and Field.
So, the next morning, one of my roommates—a big football player—said, “Still can’t walk, huh?”
I said, “Heck, I can’t even sit-up.”
Then he said, “That’s it. We’re going to the chiropractor.”
I said, “What’s a chiropractor?”
He picked me up, carried me out, put me in the back of his pick-up truck and drove me across town to a small office, where he carried me in. Thank God for Dr. Bud, because I walked out and, by Saturday, I could pole vault. To me, that was miraculous and, from then on, it was all about being a chiropractor!
TAC: What type of patients do you generally treat or attract?
Thaxton: We attract patients with all types of diseases, from Anger to Zygomycosis. Of course, like any other chiropractic office, we routinely treat patients with low back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, and sprained ankles and knees.
TAC: What are your specialties?
Thaxton: I’m certified in acupuncture, chiropractic rehabilitation, and John Brimhall’s Ten Steps to Wellness. The acupuncture class was the best $537 dollars I spent in chiropractic school. It has allowed me to help and understand patients in ways I never thought possible. The rehabilitation certification has been great for helping patients return to their normal lives much faster. We have even developed valuable relationships with local orthopedic surgeons and we are doing rehab on their post-surgery patients.
TAC: We understand that you have had great success treating patients with the laser. Could you tell us a little bit about your experiences?
Thaxton: Yes, we were able to help extend the life of a very, very special man with Lou Gehrig’s disease by 2-3 years using the laser and E.B. 305 detox bath.
I was also able to help Anthony Quinn finish his last movie, Avenging Angelo, with the laser. He was having trouble being able to speak and his director called and asked if I could fly up to the set to help. I got there and suggested to Mr. Quinn that he might be having mini strokes and should get to the nearest hospital; but, like the true professional he was, he insisted on doing his lines first. Later, he signed a movie script for me, “Thanks Steve. You gave me back my voice.” His passing was one of Hollywood’s biggest losses.
We also treated a young girl, a softball player for the local high school, who got hit in the eye with a softball on a Wednesday evening. She came into the office with her eye already swollen shut and noticeable discoloration beginning. The biggest problem was her senior prom was only three days away and she didn’t want to have an eye that matched the color of her dress.
We put the safety glasses on her and began to use the laser around the area. After the first treatment, she was able to get her eye open enough to see again. She was treated 1-2 times per day for the next three days and was able to go to prom with only a minimal amount of make-up to cover the remainder of the bruising.
TAC: Tell us a couple more amazing patient success stories.
Thaxton: A friend called one day and asked if I would see his mother. When he brought her in, her right arm was drawn and the wrist was in extreme flexion. She had slurred speech and had last control of her right side facial musculature. I sent her to the hospital, fearing she would have a full-on stroke before they got her there.
After 3 days of testing, they released her and said they could find nothing wrong and she just must be stressed.
So, my friend called again and said his mother was insistent on getting an adjustment. I was hesitant, but agreed because he confirmed they had tested and tested her.
She came in again with the same drawn arm, slurred speech and loss of facial muscle control. I adjusted her thoracic spine and cervical spine, and helped her sit up.
She put her right arm on the table and turned to her son and with perfect facial tone and voice, said to him, “I told you, all I needed was a chiropractic adjustment!” My staff and I nearly fell to the floor.
I also had a 16-year-old male patient who had been to 4 local MD’s and the Mayo and Cleveland Clinics for his headaches, with no relief. His parents had spent $100,000 and had all but given up. He had fallen when he was 11 and, two weeks later, developed severe migraines. He could not attend school and his mother had quit her job to home school him ever since.
I checked the usual suspects—C-spine, foods, etc.—with no real findings. But, when I touched his skull, it felt like a rock or telephone pole. I did some cranial work and, the next week, he and his grandparents came in to say that it was his first week of headache relief in five years. They called a month later to say they were forever grateful. He’s back in public school and has not even had a trace of a headache.
TAC: What has really impacted your growth as a chiropractor and that of your practice?
Thaxton: Dr. Mike Brumfield, a great chiropractor, in Lewisburg, West Virginia, helped me make my 2nd Olympic Trials in 1988. He had used the standard AK protocols and I was like a sponge trying to absorb everything. When I started chiropractic school that fall, I was motivated beyond my wildest dreams. He also has advised me, as the years have gone by, on everything from office design to billing and office policies. I’m forever humbled by his desire to serve and help.
Dr. John Brimhall has amazed me with his life work and research. His accumulation of knowledge is mind-boggling and he has changed chiropractic for the better forever. He put together therapies that I had tried and discarded because I couldn’t figure out how to use them in everyday practice. His 10 Step Protocols are life changing and a force for good we can all admire.
TAC: What marketing strategies do you use to attract new patients and to keep current patients?
Thaxton: I believe that if you make a difference in a patient’s life, that success will return three fold in your office. We have come to expect miracles in our offices every day. I really do not do a lot of advertising because, as in Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” We have built our expectations and they have come. This has been more successful (letting the patients do all of the promoting) than any type of advertising strategy could have been.
We also do community services, such as one free sports physical night a year in both of our offices, that we make a fun experience with a DJ, door prizes, and free T-shirts (with our Logo and am inspirational statement, such as “Train Hard, Win Big”). Much to our surprise, they have become a local fashion statement with the kids and, now, we have 500 walking billboards in our community. We also provide the athletic training staff for 2 local high schools and I volunteer as the doctor for the local games.
TAC: With your practice being insurance-based, what advice can you offer our readers about setting up and maintaining such a practice in today’s healthcare system?
Thaxton: You have to be available to all people. We never want $$$ to keep people out of our office. Study Dr. Jim Parker’s principles for success and always give your best!
TAC: What single piece of advice would you give a new chiropractor just starting out?
Thaxton: Your learning has just started. NEVER STOP LEARNING!
TAC: What general advice would you give an established chiropractor whose practice might be struggling?
Thaxton: Leave your personal problems at home and, when you walk through the door, turn on the light switch with your smile and desire to help!
TAC: Where do you see the future of chiropractic headed?
Thaxton: Tough question. Evidence based is the flavor of the day; but patients are looking for deeper healing. I feel holistic is the future and providing services that help balance the body, from the structural, nutritional, emotional and energetic perspectives, will ultimately prevail—no matter how they are delivered.
TAC: Any final words for our readers?
Thaxton: You’re a chiropractor. EXPECT MIRACLES. Nothing else will do!
You may contact Dr. Thaxton at [email protected].