D r. Carraway graduated from Life Chiropractic College in 1985 and recently celebrated his 25th year of practice along with his wife of 30 years, Diana, by his side as his office manager.
After ten years of practice he began the coursework towards becoming a Chiropractic Neurologist. After successfully completing the New York Chiropractic College Chiropractic Neurology program, he sat for the neurology board examination in 1999 and became a Diplomat of the International Board of Chiropractic Neurology. A few years later Dr. Carraway was awarded a Fellowship from the International Academy of Chiropractic Neurology.
He has had the pleasure of serving as a treating physician in several studies comparing the cost and effectiveness of chiropractic treatment compared to medical treatment for low back pain in adults, most notably, with Duke University Medical School. He is a charter member of the National Institute of Chiropractic Research.
In 2007 he took note of the wide range of work being done with low level laser therapy and the mountain of positive peer reviewed research available. After several positive personal experiences with laser therapy, he began using laser therapy in his daily practice. The results were impressive and he began to write case studies and articles on laser therapy and chiropractic. Presently Dr. Carraway serves on the Medical Advisory Board of Multi Radiance Medical. He also serves as a Senior Clinical Consultant for Multi Radiance Medical and is currently working to help author a laser therapy college curriculum to be used by chiropractic colleges around the nation.
In addition to being a Certified Laser Specialist, Dr. Carraway is a Continuing Ed. Certified Laser Therapy Instructor.
He is a regular lecturer on internet webinars, discussing a variety of laser therapy related topics and has fully integrated laser therapy into his practice. Dr. Carraway is the director of Advanced Laser Integrations, which is dedicated to helping other practitioners transition laser therapy into their practices.
TAC: What inspired you to become a chiropractor? Do you have a specific story?
CARRAWAY: I suffered from severe headaches as a child and found relief through chiropractic adjustments. By the age of eleven I had made my career choice and decided that I too wanted to be a Doctor of Chiropractic and help others as I had been helped.
TAC: What type of patients do you generally treat or attract? What are the top five conditions you most often treat in your office?
CARRAWAY: My practice focuses on various chiropractic/neurology related issues as well as the general types of patients typically seen in a DCs office. For the last few years, with the addition of laser therapy, I have begun to help hundreds of patients with chronic degenerative joint disease(s), as well as using laser therapy to speed the patient’s recovery from musculoskeletal conditions and complicated neurological issues.
TAC: Which techniques do you use and why?
CARRAWAY: I use the Activator Methods Chiropractic Technique exclusively. I have not found it necessary to incorporate any other adjusting techniques into my practice. I also use low level laser therapy extensively, with 90% of my patients receiving laser therapy as part of their care.
TAC: What type(s) of diagnostic testing procedures do you use and why?
CARRAWAY: I use standard radiography techniques and studies and prefer to refer out for specialized diagnostics.
TAC: We understand that you are treating all kinds of different diseases with the laser. Could you tell us a little bit more about your experiences?
CARRAWAY: There is a wide variety of maladies which readily respond to laser therapy.
Ranging from Bells palsy, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, migraines, cervicogenic headaches, TMD, peripheral neuropathies, fibromyalgia, brachial neuralgias, rotator cuff injuries, most all sporting type injuries, shingles, along with an endless list of musculoskeletal conditions. Laser therapy is excellent for pain abatement and; let’s face it; pain is what drives most of the patients to our offices. Pain is a great motivator.
TAC: Tell us two or three of your most amazing patient success stories.
CARRAWAY: Four times this year I have been able to use laser therapy to completely abate a patient’s pain from shingles (herpes zoster) with one five minute laser treatment. In each case, the pain was gone within one hour after a 5 minute session. Furthermore, the classic rash and blisters began to dry and heal within a matter of days, not weeks.
Laser therapy is excellent for pain abatement and; let’s face it; pain is what drives most of the patients to our offices. Pain is a great motivator.
I had a patient who had suffered from glossopharyngeal neuralgia, a disabling condition affecting her face, ear, throat, tongue, etc. She had been plagued with this condition for 10 years. I was able to adjust her and use laser therapy to resolve her glossopharyngeal neuralgia in under three treatments. She has been pain free for 2.5 years now.
Another patient had lost all sensation in her lower legs bilaterally from her knees to her toes as the result of a botched spinal tap. She could not tell the difference between carpet and hardwood floor. She could not feel her socks or shoes, nor hot or cold water in her tub. This had been an issue for 6 years. I did not hold out any hope that she would respond to laser therapy, but she did and in a matter of just a few treatments she regained all normal sensory function in her lower legs. I was just as surprised as she was with her response.
I have been able to keep some patients from knee replacement surgery by treating them with laser, and have put a smile on many patients’ faces who suffer from plantar fasciitis.
TAC: What has really impacted your growth as a chiropractor and that of your practice?
CARRAWAY: I practice 4 ½ days a week and stay pretty busy as a general rule. I have built my practice on my specialization in the Activator Technique, my additional neurology background and most recently my laser therapy pursuits. I see an ever-growing laser therapy practice in my future. I hope to practice well in to my 90’s if the government does not completely suck the joy out of practicing.
TAC: What marketing strategies do you use to attract new patients? And to keep current patients?
CARRAWAY: My marketing strategy is very simple. Give the best care I can and follow through in detail with each patient. My patients seem to recognize this and readily refer others. 95% of my new patients are referred from other patients or medical doctors who appreciate what I do and how I follow through with their referred patients. We do some minimal advertising including yellow pages and newspaper ads, but very little else.
As far as keeping patients, I have a growing base of patients who wish to protect the progress they have achieved with chiropractic care, laser therapy or both and come for regular monthly maintenance care.
TAC: With your practice being Medicare, insurance and cash based multidisciplinary, cash-based, can you tell our readers your advice about setting up and maintaining such a practice in today’s healthcare system?
CARRAWAY: Advice: The population is aging and we need to become more focused on geriatric conditions and proper care. People are living longer and wanting to have a better quality of life. This is not going to be brought about with pharmaceuticals. They want to golf, sail, play tennis, and play with their grandchildren forever. We cannot give them "forever", but we can add life to the years that they do have. I think that there is a great void to be filled here and we are just the profession to do it.
TAC: What single piece of advice would you give a new chiropractor just starting out?
CARRAWAY: Brace for impact. When I started practice 25 years ago, about once a year some new rule or requirement would crop up that we would have to change some office function to comply with. Now these rule changes and compliance changes are coming like machine gun fire and staying up to date is a real chore. I am constantly finding some new requirement or regulation we have to address. Sticking your head in the sand is a sure way to lose your rear-end. The colleges are not keeping up with all the changes. They are happening too fast and no one source has all the answers. It is a daily challenge.
TAC: What general advice would you give an established chiropractor whose practice might be struggling?
CARRAWAY: If what you are doing is not working, get busy reinventing yourself. The number one complaint that sends patients to a doctor is the common cold. What is number two? LOW BACK PAIN!!! And it is a close number two. Nobody, in any other profession, is as well-equipped as we are as chiropractors to successfully treat back pain. Recently three different medical sources published that chiropractic care was not only effective treatment for back pain, both acute and chronic, but was cost effective and demonstrated few relapses. I know nutrition is important and that white sugar and flour is bad for you, foot orthotics can help and so can hair analysis, etc. I do not want to step on anyone’s toes here. But the big piece of the pie that is available to you is back pain. Embrace chiropractic for all it is worth and focus on the second most common physical complaint to adults, low back pain. The need is great and the care that we offer is second to none. Science backs this up again and again.
TAC: Where do you see the future of chiropractic headed?
CARRAWAY: The face of healthcare is changing and changing rapidly. I hear rumblings that healthcare is going to be outcome based in the future. This can be great for us as DCs. Start waving the scientific research flag high and proudly. It could be a boom for us. Big pharma and the AMA are not going to suddenly lay down. I fear more of the same old political end fighting and backdoor dealings that we have seen for years are going to continue to be stumbling blocks. I see more and more evidence that third parties are trying micromanage patient care by limiting visits and cutting benefits. I would hope that we are going to experience a smooth transition into what healthcare is becoming. But I am wary of every step that is taken.
TAC: Any final words for our readers?
CARRAWAY: In closing, work hard and love what you do. I must add a thought from a talk given by Max Lucado. He was once faced with two very exciting things to do: a weekend signing books, or giving a speech to a huge group; actually, three things to do, including spending time with his family. He weighed out the pros and cons. Then the thought struck him. Who of all these people would be crying the hardest most at my funeral? The answer was then clear. He knew where he wanted to spend his time…with his loved ones. So, while you are making your professional way in this world, do not forget the ones who are with you day in and day out, your family.
You may contact Dr. Chris Carraway at