Q&A: Dr. Tom Floch

How did you get interested in chiropractic medicine?

I really enjoy people, so I wanted to have a career where I could work with and help people. My family is also very important to me and I enjoy Grays Harbor, so I wanted a career that I could bring back to the Harbor. Therefore, I started researching jobs in the medical field while I was in high school. I had it narrowed down to a few until I hurt my back.

I was very involved with extreme sports, especially downhill mountain biking. I had injured my shoulder during the winter after landing a jump wrong, and I experienced back pain for the first time in my life. After a few months of therapy I was ready to get back on the bike; however, my back was not. I made an appointment with a chiropractor and had an amazing experience. From that day on I knew I had to become a chiropractor.

What’s involved with an adjustment?

When a patient comes in for the first time I sit down with them and take a history then perform an examination of the area of complaint. From that I determine if it is a problem that I can help them with or not. I also decide if they need to have any further testing or diagnostic imaging done. After that is done treatment begins. There are multiple forms of chiropractic adjusting techniques and I have found that some people respond better to one form of adjusting than another. Therefore, I try to find the proper technique for each patient. Some of the more common techniques are mechanical adjusting with tools, drop table technique, and diversified/manual adjustments. Oftentimes the muscles need to be worked to help the chiropractic adjustment, so I perform soft tissue treatment and prescribe rehabilitation exercises when needed.

What common bad habits do people have that hurt their spinal health?

There are lots of bad habits that people have. Some common ones include bad posture, improper lifting techniques and lack of exercise.

People often do not realize that doing an activity on one side of the body can cause musculoskeletal problems. Some examples of one sided activities are consistently carrying your child on one side, vacuuming with one hand, sitting on a wallet and using a computer mouse.

What can they do to correct those habits?

The big key here is to learn about spinal health and how the back is made to work. If you understand this you can lift correctly, sit with good posture, and take care of your back properly. With our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, back problems are becoming more of an issue. It is very important to exercise and take care of you back. After all, you only get one spine during your lifetime.

Are there certain activities where you see a lot of back injuries?

The interesting fact about the answer to this question is that a lot of back and neck pain come from something as simple as bending over to pick up a piece of paper off the floor or sleeping on the couch.

A lot of people are surprised when they end up in my office in severe pain after doing something as simple as that. They think that their back or neck pain should have come from something more aggressive like a car accident or from lifting a very large amount of weight wrong. Of course activities such as car accidents and lifting wrong also cause back and neck injuries.