Patients often tell Donna Brown that if it wasn’t for her, they would have needed surgery.
Brown, of Lake Geneva, has been a chiropractic doctor for 35 years, and at a surprise party Jan. 11 of over 100 people, she was recognized for her work both professionally and in the community.
Lake Geneva Mayor Tom Hartz presented a certificate to Brown, who opened Stackpool Chiropractic in the Geneva Square, in March 2004.
The business grew, and in 2012, its name changed to Excel Family Chiropractic & Wellness, now at 820 Geneva Pkwy. N., Suite 105, Lake Geneva.
During her career, Brown has organized health fairs, conducted scoliosis screenings at local schools and started a group for alternative health care providers called Women To Women, now known as the annual Women’s Resource Fair in Lake Geneva.
She also supports numerous local charities and serves on the board for Rising Stars Foundation, a not-for-profit organization helping students receive music lessons at House of Music, Lake Geneva, who can’t afford it.
Note: Portions of this Q&A have been edited for clarity and brevity.
Resorter: Why did you become a chiropractor?
Donna Brown: I became a chiropractor because I wanted to do something that would be gratifying for me while helping others.
I initially was in college to be a physical education teacher and volleyball coach. My mom was a teacher. I loved sports, was athletic and played on many different teams during junior high and high school. It made sense to take that path. While teaching can be a very satisfying career, one day it occurred to me to check out chiropractic.
I really did not know much about it at the time. All I knew was that my grandfather went to a chiropractor and it was a more natural way of health care. It was the only doctor he would go to! Most chiropractors either followed in the footsteps of a family member or had been a chiropractic patient. I had neither of those experiences, so my decision to become a chiropractor, I believe, was a calling.
R: How has the profession changed in the last 35 years?
DB: One huge change — or maybe I should say win — was in 1987, when Federal Court Judge Susan Getzendanner declared the American Medical Association (AMA) guilty of conspiring to destroy chiropractic. ... It was huge at the time and was a big win for the profession and for the public to see that there really was a conspiracy to eliminate chiropractors from the health care arena.
Another change some see as good — while other chiropractors would debate that — is our acceptance as health care providers by major medical insurance companies.
Insurance coverage gives many people the opportunity to use their insurance dollars for chiropractic health care that otherwise they may not have been able to afford. The downside is that the insurance companies can make the decisions on how much chiropractic care the patient gets, what they will pay for that care and what that care includes — or should I say excludes. The patient thinks they are going to get the chiropractic care they need but are surprised to find out they only get a few visits per year or a monetary cap on their care. ... We are seen less as quacks, cults and bone setters. The public is more aware of our presence in the health care arena and is looking more these days for natural ways to regain their health and to prevent disease. ... Prevention care is really the key to a better quality of life, not just quantity, thus the motto at our office, “Helping You Live Better.”
R: What are common misconceptions about chiropractic?
DB: What is exciting to say about misconceptions is that they are becoming fewer and fewer. The tales about “once you go you always have to go” is not an issue anymore. … Another misconception is that chiropractic care is only for back pain. Nothing is further from the truth. The very first adjustment given to Harvey Lillard by Dr. D.D. Palmer in 1895 was for deafness. We successfully handle conditions such as vertigo, headaches, stomach issues, allergies, and now in our current age of technology, something we call text neck! Younger and younger people are getting chiropractic care for their neck pain, headaches and shoulder issues because of the use of computers, laptops and cell phones. One last misconception that I still hear is, “I don’t want my neck cracked.” As the saying goes, we’ve come a long way since 1895. There 130 chiropractic techniques today, many of which are “noiseless,” low force, sometimes by use of an instrument. I love it when a new patient says, “That was it,” in astonishment at just how gentle the adjustment was.
R: Why did you start a business in Lake Geneva?
DB: I had the opportunity to move to Lake Geneva in 1985, while working as a chiropractic associate in Crystal Lake, Ill. … I took an associate position in Kenosha in 1987 and commuted back and forth for four years. (Once) I started to have a family, I decided Kenosha was too far away so I worked part-time at Lake Geneva Chiropractic before opening my own office in 2004.
R: Why have you stayed in this area?
DB: I love the lake. I love the community. I love downtown. It’s funny, for being such a small town there are many wonderful places and things to do and see. Lake Geneva is never boring. … Regarding my career, I had come from Kenosha, where the medical community was not a huge fan of chiropractors. Here in Lake Geneva, that was never an issue. This has been a great place to establish relationships with the medical community, the physical therapists, acupuncturists and massage therapists. I hear frequently from patients about the medical community not being in favor of chiropractors. In this area, I have not seen that as a problem. ... One last reason I remain here is for my patients. ... I am seeing kids of kids, up to four generations! I feel like I am part of many families!