Back to Basics

Hosmer Chiropractic Health’s dedicated approach to healing and well-being

Since its founding a decade ago, Hosmer Chiropractic Health (1030 NW Marshall St., 503-227-2279) has expanded significantly and relocated into a handsome, contemporary space in the Pearl District. A highly respected provider of rehabilitory care for a wide range of injuries and conditions, the clinic is open six days a week (Monday–Saturday). We asked the team at Hosmer Chiropractic a few questions about the fundamentals of chiropractic care, and what types of conditions can best be addressed through their services. If you’re currently dealing with chronic pain, sports injuries, repetitive overuse injuries, or other physical ailments, a complimentary consultation with the staff at Hosmer may just set you on the path to recovery. –By Andrew Collins

The Pearl: Tell us a little about Hosmer’s history as a practice in Portland.

Hosmer Chiropractic Health: Hosmer Chiropractic Health was founded by Dr. Seth Hosmer in 2007, in a little space about 10 blocks away from our current location. The practice opened with just Dr. Hosmer doing everything and has grown to more than 20 employees. We moved to our first location in the Pearl in 2011, and we’re now coming up on the fourth anniversary of our Tanner Springs Park location this July.

Through the changes over the years, we have been fortunate, as well as strategic, to continue to build a team whose mission remains the same: The patient comes first. Now that we’re celebrating the clinic’s 10th anniversary, it’s really incredible to see the growth within that time and the level of camaraderie, dedication, and teamwork that goes into the care we provide our patients on a daily basis.


The Pearl: For those a little less familiar with chiropractic medicine, can you briefly share a little about its background and fundamentals?

HCH: Well, the first recorded chiropractic adjustment was delivered in the early 1900s by DD Palmer. He found that the adjustment had the ability to set in motion the body’s innate healing process. The early understanding of how the adjustment helped the body heal was limited to the idea of “innate intelligence,” in which nerve interference was eliminated and thereby allowed the body to heal on its own.

In the past 20-30 years, research has changed the understanding of how the body responds to the Chiropractic adjustment, and the treatment modalities that modern Chiropractors have access to has widened to include soft-tissue treatment and rehabilitation exercises. Most chiropractors guide their treatments through an “evidence-based” model, which uses research and sound scientific principles to guide the best practices for treatment. This has resulted in better outcomes for a wider range of conditions, as well as growing support in the larger medical community. It adapts the Hippocratic approach of “do no harm” and strives to treat as well as prevent by using a nonpharmacological approach. In large part, the development of chiropractic was in response to the post–Civil War effects and the societal aftermath of limited treatments for pain.


The Pearl: Are there any particular conditions or body regions that the Hosmer team specializes in? Many of your clients are athletes, correct?

HCH: At Hosmer Chiropractic Health, we treat the whole body and approach it from a standpoint that everything is connected. While a lot of chiropractic care—particularly old-school chiropractic—focuses mostly on just spine-related issues, our clinical team at Hosmer addresses the entire body. While we certainly treat a lot of neck, headache, mid-back, and low-back conditions, we also see quite a bit of shoulder, hip, and knee issues, and these are often connected to various other spinal issues. For example, an individual may develop knee pain as a result of improper movement or stiffness at the hips and/or low back. The same can be said for shoulder injuries being at least somewhat caused by neck, ribcage, and mid-back issues. It’s all connected!

At Hosmer, we treat many weightlifters, CrossFitters, cyclists, and endurance athletes, and everyone in between. We actually treat with the approach that everyone is an athlete. Perhaps that means you’re a desk jockey working hours on end at a computer, an avid bike commuter who doesn’t have any other time to exercise, a CrossFit athlete focusing on various weightlifting and gymnastics moves, or a chef constantly standing and intricately working with hands, wrist, and shoulders. All of these individuals have various strengths, weaknesses, and body parts that tend to be vulnerable to injury; at Hosmer, we treat athletes in all definitions of the word.


The Pearl: What are the most common types of injuries or needs that clients come to you with? In addressing this question, feel free to point out the degree to which you serve patients with both chronic and acute injuries or pain.

HCH: We are very fortunate in this practice because although we have some common conditions that we see, the variety is immense. At Hosmer, we strive for a holistic approach in which we treat not only the spinal component of the condition but the components that can oftentimes be missed with the more tradition “spinal only” approach. Sometimes, this is as simple as examining and treating the extremities. Other times, we may need to address exercise or diet-related issues. A condition may also be due to a soft-tissue component unrelated to the other components that I previously mentioned. We also strive to educate patients in the appropriate methods of therapeutic exercise so that they can properly rehabilitate themselves and can get back to the activities that are hindered by their complaint.

The key is to do a very thorough health and social history of the patient as well as a thorough physical examination in order to really identify the primary cause of the issue or issues. We also treat injuries due to motor-vehicle collisions, and on-the-job and workman’s compensation injuries, as well as people recovering from surgery, issues related to pregnancies, neck pain, back pain, headaches, etc.

Many athletes seek out our care due to our sport-specific approach, and you know as I said earlier, everyone is an athlete in his or her own way, so this isn’t limited to the typical “high-intensity athletes” that you might think of right off the bat. This leads me to the most common complaint that we see: posture-related issues. Postural strain really sets the stage for injury, and it is something that we all battle.


The Pearl: Your website has specific information on insurance, but could you briefly explain how common it is for medical insurance plans to cover the services your provide?

HCH: I’m glad you brought it up! One service we offer here is we work with your health insurance company to find out the details of your plan for you, and then give you a call with the user-friendly breakdown so you know exactly what your plan covers before your first appointment. Fortunately, we’ve seen a really positive shift over the last 10 years toward health insurance companies offering more wellness benefits, including chiropractic. This means almost every plan we call about has chiropractic benefits these days, and massage therapy is covered under the chiropractic benefit.

We’re in-network with most major health insurance companies, and still accept out-of-network benefits for the smaller health insurance companies we are not contracted with. There are the occasional plans with high deductibles or high copays, but our belief remains in keeping care accessible to everyone who needs it, which is why we also have a flat-rate cash program for our services. In addition to this, we also work with all personal injury claims, including auto collisions and worker’s compensation. We’re fortunate to live in Oregon because every auto policy is required to include a fund of at least $15,000 for injuries sustained in an auto collision, which many people do not realize they have immediate access to should a collision occur. We try to make information on these resources as accessible as possible, and we have an entire section of our blog dedicated to auto accidents with the most important information. We also urge anyone with questions to just give our front office a call—they’re brilliant with insurance. I mean, they really know it all.


The Pearl: Lastly, are there any additional specifics about Hosmer, your facilities, and your staff that you’d like to share?

HCH: We’re not your average chiropractic clinic! We are a health care clinic that offers individualized care for patients and considers their overall full-body health. We take a team approach to treatment, offering chiropractic, massage therapy, and physical rehabilitation in order to provide the most comprehensive care available. The care we provide is rooted in communication and education so that the patient fully understands their diagnosis, its causes, the treatment plan, and each step we’ll take to get them to our collective goal.

Central to this philosophy is the policy that each new patient appointment is a full hour long, which we feel is vital to establishing quality care. We begin with a full discussion of the patient’s history, as well as lifestyle details including nutrition and activity before then discussing current issues and beginning treatment that day. The last 15 minutes of each new patient appointment are spent teaching the patient simple but effective home care exercises so they can continue to make progress on the days we don’t see them. Every single patient is given an individualized treatment plan at this appointment, appropriate to their diagnosis, with the goal of an efficient, full recovery.

Treatment plans often include massage therapy and even personal training sessions to take a more in-depth look at movement patterns and begin to establish corrections. Our massage therapists are encouraged to develop their own style and pursue their interests through continuing education classes—there is really something for everyone. We offer deep tissue, Thai massage, ashiatsu (which you might know as barefoot massage), Swedish—the list of modalities goes on!

We also have a vast physician referral network, so if a referral is needed we can confidently send a patient to another provider. Part of having this referral network is just being involved in the vibrant community! We often partner with local businesses and provide classes for their staff or customers and we always have fun celebrating with our neighbors at our annual summer BBQ. This year’s party will take place Saturday, July 29, from 5 to 8 PM. We’ll have free food, drinks, ice cream, and games. Everyone is welcome, stop by and say hello!