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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Overcoming Chronic Pain through Chiropractic Care

May 25, 2017 12:52PM

An Interview with Dr. Coy Roskosky

Recently, Natural Awakenings had the opportunity to interview Dr. Coy Roskosky, of National Integrated Health Associates, to learn about the holistic work of a chiropractor to relieve chronic pain for their patients.

 NA: What is your philosophy in working with patients who have chronic pain? What are some of the symptoms that these patients contend with?    

My philosophy is to look at it all! If you remember the song, “The hip bone is connected to the thigh bone, and so on,” you remember that everything is connected. You have to find out what are the primary causes of chronic pain, but also pay attention to the secondary issues because they can have a profound affect on the primary pain issue.

Chiropractic doctors are known for moving bones to take pressure off the nervous system and to realign joints, so they can move properly and not cause pain or degeneration. Bones have to move, but also be stable. That requires muscles to perform these actions and be responsive. If muscles don’t work correctly the joints will break down faster, they will compensate, create poor movement and put stress on ligaments. This can then generate tears, tight tissues or tissues that are too loose. All of this creates chronic pain and poor movements that will never resolve. Thus, for optimal healing, you should address three factors when dealing with chronic pain: structure, biochemistry and mental/emotional.

Structure includes the muscles, bones, nerves, ligaments and tendons. But it also includes the organs, skin and all other tissues of the body that could be dysfunctional and cause referred pain. Structure is the biggest issue I deal with daily.

The second factor, biochemistry, is your diet, nutritional status and what is going on inside your body. Blood sugar management, low thyroid, low adrenal and toxicity are common biochemical dysfunction that affect chronic pain.

Also, mental and emotional issues contribute to chronic pain. Depression and high levels of stress can cause the body pain. Most of us will think this is a musculo-skeletal issue, but really your body could be expressing what your mind is going through. When there is imbalance in these regions, it can generate symptoms like numbness, tingling, sharp pain, fatigue, achiness, tension and emotional stress.

As a chiropractic doctor, I have to consider all symptoms when deciding what form of care is needed or to whom I need to refer them, to enhance the healing process for maximum results. 

Many more people with chronic pain are now seeking holistic methods of relief. Can you speak to that trend?

People are tired of drugs and surgery being the only answer they get when they go to traditional Western medicine. They are becoming more empowered and know that it is going to take a healthy diet, exercise, treatments, proper rest and stress-relief to feel good. There is a shift in society as people realize they have to work for good results.

I am originally from California and think that the East Coast is about 20 years behind in holistic care. But, I find the East Coast population is more open-minded and willing to try different things—more than the hope of overcoming chronic pain but to really live life.

How did you become interested in chiropractic work and what type of training is required to work with patients struggling with chronic pain?

Every chiropractic doctor receives the necessary training to be a great chiropractic doctor but some of us want to figure out why a particular patient never improves or is unable to get back to a healthy state. That is what drives me—that there is an answer for all my patients, and I have to expand my knowledge and techniques so I can help this patient with chronic pain.

I think that chiropractic doctors who have taken applied kinesiology, Sacro-occipital technique, nutritional courses dealing with functional medicine, acupuncture and dry needling are very effective chronic pain practitioners. A health practitioner who thinks out-of-the-box and has an expansive treatment tool box is someone who really can help chronic pain patients, because we are looking at everything.

As a practitioner in an integrated health practice like NIHA, how does the interaction with other medical professionals support your work?

 Having the ability to discuss patient’s conditions with other practitioners who are experts in their fields is a huge advantage. Lyme disease, Epstein-Barr virus, hypoadrenia and hypothyroid play large roles of deteriorating health. Often, medical doctors give alternative insights and pathways to improve a patient’s response to pain treatment, or to even rule out physical treatment and have them explore the biochemical side.

At NIHA, we have highly skilled acupuncturists and acupuncture can often help with pain. There are detoxification programs that help with digestion, inflammation, muscle achiness and fatigue. Even colonics (colon hydrotherapy) can help with back pain if it is being caused by constipation.

Coy Roskosky, D.C., is a Doctor of Chiropractic, specializing in treatment of chronic pain, sports injuries and sports performance, carpal tunnel syndrome and TMJ. To reach him, call 202-237-7000, email [email protected] or visit


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