Five questions with Dr. Stephen B Cooper: Treating patients and giving back

July 15, 2013 

What are some of the most common questions you get from patients?

People commonly ask, "Does chiropractic hurt and can it help me?" The answers aren't always so simple. Chiropractic itself doesn't hurt. However, when you are treating a swollen or injured joint, any pressure or touch whether to heal or harm hurts. Because so many people wait until a condition is severe before they see me or they do everything else first, making it worse by covering up the condition with painkillers and the like, they may have some initial discomfort. However, more times than not the laughing smiles they make as the problem is better as they walk out the door makes up for it.

I also am asked, "Can it help? I had back or neck surgery and … can chiropractic help me?" I would say 30 percent or more of my patients have had back or neck surgery. A high percentage have had near complete loss of range of motion of their shoulder, knee or hip, and we treat those in our sister surgery center under anesthesia with very good results. Manipulation under anesthesia has allowed us to treat chronic pain and loss of function conditions that were considered permanent at some point with very positive short and long term results.

You're hosting a 5K race on July 27 to support the Russell County Child Advocacy Center. What's the story behind this event?

Actually, we have two events that day. The 5K run came out of a desire since I ran track in college and would see the sponsored events and then would run after I graduated. I had so much fun running for a purpose with those who loved to run. I knew then I wanted to some day sponsor a run but really had no impetus to do so.

Then as I became involved with the Russell County community and become a board member of the child advocacy center and president of the Russell County Crisis Center for battered women and victims of sexual assault, I saw a need to move from fundraisers to yearly events that would provide a yearly support to aid and assist these organizations to perform the incredible mission they do in the community. Out of this arose the 5K and the car show we put on July 27.

Your volunteer work includes organizations like Meals on Wheels and the Russell County Crisis Center. What have you learned from those experiences?

There is a growing need for more people who can do, to do -- and for those who can't to reach out and get help. Some of the oppressive and dysfunctional situations of our fellow students, employees, coworkers and friends require more help and less judgement.

There are so many churches and businesses that have and continue to step up big time and serve. Aflac, for example, just donated $25,000 toward a new battered women's shelter in Russell County and we are signing the papers to purchase it in weeks. Verizon, Russell County Commission and Phenix City Parks and Rec have been tremendous, I always hate naming names because I know I'm forgetting somebody but, for example, Best Buy last year stepped up in so many ways and without corporate support nonprofits can't survive.

You treat back pain, neck pain and headaches -- conditions some people say can be caused or exacerbated by certain work environments. From a health standpoint, what's your advice for someone working in a standard cubicle job?

GET OUT! Just kidding, but not. You have to stand up and stretch. Get out of holding the phone on the same side of the neck the same way. Rotate ergonomic chairs with your coworkers to avoid repetitive, condition-causing habits. Change smoke and coffee breaks to stretch and stride breaks. Finally, get your monitor to a height that prevents constant downward work.

Aside from your business, what's the best-kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley?

Oh no, I hope I'm no secret after 20-plus years of treating people here. But I would say coming from a large northern city like Detroit, living in farming communities in Iowa and then living down here, there are huge differences. I like to tell people I wasn't born in the South, but I got here as quick as I could. I like having sugar in my iced tea without asking. People who you don't know say "hi" when you walk by. Wearing my snow coat only seven days out of the year, and fruit markets on the side of the road. This is a tremendous community to raise children and live in. I wouldn't think of raising Taylor and Stephen (Bryce) anywhere else. Our school systems provide choices and opportunities, if you get involved and take advantage of them. So in that regard, the best kept secret in the Valley is the Valley!

VITAL STATS

Name: Stephen B Cooper, DC

Age: 47

Job: Chiropractic physician

Hometown: Detroit, Mich.

Current home: Midland, Ga.

Family: Wife, Lisa Cooper; daughter, Taylor Cooper, 16, catcher for St. Anne-Pacelli Softball; son, Stephen B Cooper II, 13

Education: Grand Valley State University 1988 BS, Physiology, Palmer Chiropractic University 1992 DC, Doctric Chiropractic

Favorite book: “Hung by the Tongue” by Francis P. Martin

Favorite movie: “Major Payne”

Favorite restaurant: Joe’s Crab Shack

Favorite quote: “If you breathing, it ain’t over”

Best concert attended: Luther Vandross in Chicago, 1991

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