Watchung Chiropractor Works to Ease the Pain

October 1, 2008

chiropractor Whether suffering pain from an acute injury or a chronic condition, the walking wounded come to Dr. Ron Spiaggia’s rehabilitation facility seeking the same thing: pain relief and a return of physical mobility and function.

Long before the chiropractor purchased the building in September 2001 to open his own practice, Spiaggia was familiar with the Watchung Avenue site. After earning his chiropractic degree, Spiaggia, 39, married 12 years and the father of three children, began his career in 1984 in the same building when it was the Back and Neck Care Center.

Since 2001, Spiaggia has overseen two expansions of the facility to accommodate patient volume and a business strategy to provide ""diversified, full treatment services,” he said.

The doctor said the practice sees from 80 to 100 patients a day, five days a week.

"The practice has grown 300 percent in patient volume, and the building was expanded from 1,500 square feet to its current 4,000 square feet,” Spiaggia said.

Filling all that space is a second chiropractor, Dr. Faisal Hussain, a psychiatrist; Dr. Paul Abend, a specialist in rehabilitation after nerve, muscle and bone injuries and illnesses; Andy Koser, a physical therapist; Anna Mantelli, a licensed massage therapist; and the support staff necessary to manage patients, billing and insurance companies.

"As a physiatarist, Dr. Abend provides neurodiagnostic testing and light pain management,” Spiaggia said, adding that chiropractors are not licensed to provide prescription medication.

Each specialist at Performance Rehabilitation & Sports Injury Center complements Spaiggia’s goal of providing comprehensive evaluation, treatment and maintenance following an injury.

Two new treatment therapies are available at the center: DRX 9000C Spinal Decompression Therapy and Micro Vas Therapy.

Spinal Decompression Therapy is a noninvasive course of treatment for chronic back pain, typically including herniated and bulging discs and degenerative-disc disease conditions of the neck or low back.

"I began using the DRX 9000C about 18 months ago. After getting very good results, recording less than a three percent chiropractor exacerbation of a patient’s condition following treatments, I now have two DRX machines. I’m proud to say I’m the only center in Central Jersey that offers this particular nonsurgical treatment,” Spiaggia said.

DRX machine therapy "reduces intradiscal pressure while sending water and nutrients back into the problem disc. This allows the disc to repair itself,” Spiaggia said.

On a recent visit, Dennis Kirk of Rahway was getting suited up for a long spinal stretch on the DRX 9000C. The girdle-like brace he donned isolates the area of the spine to be treated, which first was determined through a Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan.

Kirk laid on the DRX’s padded table and was positioned into a supine position to receive a slow, calibrated stretch of his lumbar area.

"I’ve had better than a 100 percent improvement of my pain since I started this treatment plan,” Kirk said.

He also receives traditional physical therapy modalities during his visits.

Thomas Calavano of the Martinsville section of Bridgewater received Micro Vas Therapy. Referred to Performance Rehabilitation by his podiatrist, he was seeking relief from the painful symptoms of neuropathy in his feet.

"I’ve been suffering pins and needle and electric-shock sensations for three years, with no relief. Four neurologists later, and also after acupuncture treatments, I am getting some results from this,” Calavano said.

His treatments require the application of eight pads on eight leg, which, when activated, give gentle electrical stimulation for 45 minutes.

Micro Vas Therapy ""increases circulation and oxygen levels to the affected extremity,” Spiaggia said.

chiropractor Growing up in Livingston, Spiaggia thought he would study to be a dentist. He turned to chiropractic after the only relief he got for a football injury was after chiropractic treatments.

"I decided then I wanted to help people suffering pain, especially someone who had been injured playing sports,” Spiaggia said.

Spiaggia still enjoys treating patients with sports injuries.

"I love dealing with athletes because they make good patients,” Spiaggia said, adding that athletes already are ""wired” to make a commitment to get excellent results from their treatment.

Even though Spiaggia has moved toward treating individuals who suffer chronic pain and who are 40-plus years old, his commitment to alleviate pain remains.

Laurie Levoy: 908-707-3118; [email protected]