By Paul Nicolaus

The Family Treatment

Kintop Chiropractic & Wellness Clinic Moves Forward
With Expanded Operations While Leaning Back on its Strong Heritage

KintopIt’s safe to say this business is truly a family affair.“At our wedding, I think there were 27 chiropractors that are family members,” said Dr. Christina Kintop, a fourth generation chiropractor who was born and raised in Superior.

Her husband, Dr. Thomas Kintop, comes from a similar tradition, and the exposure to family care intrigued him from the start. “In my dad’s office, you would see generations of people walk through the door over the course of a week or two,” he said. “It was that atmosphere that made an impact on me repetitively, growing up.”

After earning their Doctor of Chiropractic degrees from Northwestern College of Chiropractic and Health Sciences, an opportunity came along to return to Superior and assume a practice. Living in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area at the time, the couple decided to return to Dr. Chris’ hometown.

“It was a great place for me to be raised,” she said. “The schools are good. The community is great. My family is here. So we made the decision almost immediately to come back shortly after we started a family. Our children got to be around grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.”

“The schools are good. The community is great. So we made the decision almost immediately to come back shortly after we started a family.”
– Dr. Christina Kintop

 When they look back at the original appointment book from 1992, when they opened Kintop Chiropractic & Wellness Clinic, they see the names of many patients they continue to treat today, more than 20 years later. Those lasting relationships and the bonds that are formed over time are part of what makes their line of work so enjoyable.

Angela Booth is one of those long-term patients who has been treated for neck and back adjustments over the course of roughly 20 years. “It’s a wonderful place. They’re very friendly and they have very good people that work for them,” Booth said. “I don’t care what question you have; they’re t

here for you.”

But listen to Booth describe the care she’s received over time and it becomes clear that there is something more to the relationship. “I love going there,” she explained. “They’re like my family.”

New digs, additional services

The practice has recently seen some exciting changes taking place, including a move from 2425 Tower Ave. to 3712 Tower Ave. in January of this year. “It’s something that we’ve thought about for years, and we are adding services,” said Dr. Thom, “so it’s just the perfect timing to move to a new location.”

At its core, Kintop Chiropractic has always centered on chiropractic care. “We’re a drugless, surgery-free health care clinic that focuses primarily on the nervous system,” Dr. Thom explained. “We focus on the nervous system, because it controls all the functions of the body, And if that nervous system is interfered with, our level of function is lessened. So our job as a chiropractor is to remove the interference. Sometimes it’s a physical interference, like a disc or vertebrae. Sometimes it’s a chemical interference, like smoking, and sometimes it’s emotional interference, like stress level.”

“If that nervous system is interfered with, our level of function is lessened. So our job as a chiropractor is to remove the interference.”
– Dr. Thomas Kintop

The recent move and the new facility, however, provide added space that will allow for the addition of services that extend even beyond that traditional care.

“We designed it ourselves, and it’s kind of a dream Thom and I have had for years, because it’s how we live our lives and how our children live their lives,” says Dr. Chris. “It’s incorporating the many aspects of health that surround chiropractic: exercise, nutrition, massage, meditation and the things we incorporate into our lives that we want to share with our patients. This location was ideal for that.”

The Kintops also added a new staff member just over a year ago, which brings the employee count to seven. Jeff Pauley earned an exercise science degree from Iowa State University and his presence has already been felt in a positive way. “He has really taken the bull by the horns and has helped tremendously in the whole exercise component of what we do here,” explained Dr. Chris.

The addition has also helped staff members focus even more closely on their respective areas of interest and expertise. “When we moved over here, instead of being jacks-of-all-trades, we each took our little passion, our little area, and made it better. So Thom does most of the chiropractic, Jeff does most of the exercise, rehab and movement and I do nutritional counseling,” she said.

“You are going to lose weight and you are going to gain strength in the program, but our main goal is to get you well.”
– Trainer Jeff Pauley

Pauley’s personal training role also extends into the new 8 Weeks to Wellness program, a service that seeks to address the various physical, emotional and chemical stresses in order to achieve wellness – and allow participants to take part in the activities they want to enjoy in life.

“Our first focus is still chiropractic, but if people are willing and able and wanting more and wanting to put in more – and they have to take some ownership with this program – we have those services here to give them,” said Dr. Chris, explaining that this program is unique. “We are the only chiropractor offering this type of service in our local area,” she said.

And the program is individually tailored to each person, explained Pauley. “You are going to lose weight and you are going to gain strength in the program, but our main goal is to get you well,” he said. “Chiropractic is at the base of all that, because I can get you strong – but if your nervous system isn’t functioning, then you aren’t going to go anywhere.” Pauley added that another goal is to teach participants how to exercise safely so they’re able to continue to stay fit and work out on their own as well.

“I’m excited, and I hope to learn a lot more,” said Booth, who is currently starting on the 8 Weeks to Wellness program. “I never knew how to exercise until I worked with Jeff. I was always at a comfortable level, and I think most people exercise at a comfortable level. They don’t push themselves, and I can see now that there’s a difference.”

“He’s feeling better than ever and looking good. It’s encouraging to see the results my dad got.”
– patient Bob DeMeyer

Bob DeMeyer is another patient starting in the program. A longtime friend and high school classmate of Dr. Chris, he started receiving treatment in the late ’90s. DeMeyer’s days of playing contact sports such as football and wrestling eventually caught up with him, he said, leading to low back issues and ultimately a number of corrective surgeries.

Since then, DeMeyer has rededicated himself to chiropractic care and making healthy living a priority. His father followed his lead and received chiropractic treatment for his ailments. And after DeMeyer’s father completed the 8 Weeks to Wellness program, he encouraged DeMeyer to do likewise.

“He’s been an inspiration with the results that he got,” DeMeyer said. “He lost close to 30 pounds, and he’s feeling better than ever and looking good. It’s encouraging to see the results my dad got.”

As DeMeyer starts in the program himself, he encourages others to consider seeking similar help. “They’re knowledgeable and have just a great team of people there,” he said. “They provide that structure and guidance that everybody needs. If you’re looking at overall health and wellness and wanting to get into better shape and feel better, I would encourage anybody who’s thinking about those things – as we all should – to go down and hear what they have to say and look into their programs. It’s been great for me.”

Forward thinking

“We’ve [chiropractors] been around since 1885, so the profession is not new,” said Dr. Thom. And furthermore, they’ve seen the results firsthand. “We know chiropractic works,” said Dr. Chris. “We’ve been in practice for 22 years and we’re both children of chiropractors.”

But they’ve also noticed a rise in obesity, diabetes, chronic pain and chronic stress. “These are aspects where we could adjust them, but they would go home and their lifestyle was such that it would undo any good we did here in the office,” she explained.

As a result, the doctors have taken action, working to address the same types of lifestyle issues that are afflicting modern-day Americans across the nation. “The average American is becoming sicker and sicker,” said Dr. Thom. “When I graduated in 1991, we were 16th in world health and now we’re 38th, and so we’re becoming sicker and we’re largely dying from things that are behavior and lifestyle oriented. If we don’t attend to those subjects and remove those problems, then we’re not helping anyone in the long term.”

“It really allows you to see a lot more than you would on a plain X-ray film because you can manipulate it.”
– Scott Murray, president of Lake Superior X-Ray

Talking to people about the importance of lifestyle aspects such as stress management or exercise, for example, tends to make the doctors’ jobs easier because patients get stronger and hold their adjustments better. And it falls in line with both their philosophy and their area of practice.

Because Kintop Chiropractic & Wellness Clinic is a primary care provider, there is a responsibility to catch the same types of issues any medical doctor would. “We do a history,” said Dr. Thom, “and we do an examination that’s going to entail a functional examination, an orthopedic examination, a neurological examination, and if necessary, we have digital X-ray on-site.”

Lake Superior X-Ray President Scott Murray applauds the doctors for making this type of imaging technology available. While many hospitals and large medical facilities have moved in this direction, smaller clinics and the chiropractic field as a whole has tended to lag behind, due to the up-front cost, he said, so it’s encouraging to see those who do choose to make this investment.

Doing so has allowed Kintop Chiropractic & Wellness to have images right at their fingertips – and to do more with them. “It really allows you to see a lot more than you would on a plain X-ray film because you can manipulate it,” Murray explained. “The digital tools allow you to do this electronically, and what’s great about it is you can also use it to educate the patient.”

Relationship building

Educating patients and helping them learn along the way is one key component to quality care, but according to Dr. Chris, another element that cannot be forgotten is the manner in which people are treated.

“We’re a family practice and we treat people the way we treat our own family, and I think because of that we’ve been to weddings and funerals and baby showers,” said Dr. Chris. “I think people feel very comfortable when they walk through these doors.”

Murray agrees. His business relationship with Kintop Chiropractic has been built over the course of close to 20 years, and over that period of time he has made a number of observations. “It’s a real nice atmosphere when you first walk in,” he said, “and it’s the same in front as it is behind the scenes.”

Pegg Waldron, customer care representative with Tri-State Business Systems, echoes Murray’s thoughts that a friendly atmosphere is created by the entire staff at Kintop Chiropractic. As a business-to-business provider of office equipment and supplies, Tri-State and Waldron have helped take care of Kintop Chiropractic & Wellness Clinic’s business needs, ranging from return address stamps to toner for a digital copy machine.

“I enjoy working with them,” Waldron said, mentioning that she’s had the pleasure of interacting with a number of Kintop Chiropractic’s staff members over the years. Office Manager Laura Gamache is her go-to contact, however. “She’s real easy to deal with, and we’ve got a good rapport,” Waldron noted.

When reflecting on reasons why Superior has served them well as a home, and home base for their practice, there’s no hesitation in Dr. Chris’ reply.

“It’s the people of the area,” she said, noting that most of their clients live in or near the Twin Ports area. And they range, at the moment, from a three-week-old baby who had a rough start with a birthing process to a 91-year-old patient.

Regardless of age, though, there seems to be a certain quality about the greater Superior area and its residents. “The people are salt of the earth,” said Dr. Chris. “It’s a small enough town that you have that small town feel, and yet there are businesses that are thriving in the area.”

Playing a role in helping the community’s people thrive is what it’s all about for Kintop Chiropractic & Wellness Clinic.

“Probably the most rewarding part is just seeing the results,” said Dr. Thom.  P.S.

Paul Nicolaus is a Wisconsin-based freelance writer.

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