David and Ryan Bemis (right) share their love of helping others through chiropractic care.
ALTON — Potential chiropractic patients can rest easy when it comes to brothers Ryan and David Bemis ... they trust their expertise enough to work on each other.
“Our father was always very open to new methods of adjustments,” David said. “I’ve seen a variety of chiropractors over the years, but Ryan is very good at adjusting my upper back. Each chiropractor has their own strengths; it’s good Ryan and I have each other to go to.”
Recognizing four generations of chiropractic care over 100 years, the pair, who both have a practice in the Alton area, express a respect for the history of their craft.
“The first adjustment was made by D.D. Palmer in 1895,” Ryan said. “Palmer started the first chiropractor college in 1897. It’s amazing that in the early 1900s, chiropractors were arrested and went to jail for practicing medicine without a license. They were in court trying to explain to judges that they were not practicing medicine, they were practicing chiropractic.
“That is actually something our profession is proud of; we are not ashamed of our humble beginnings.”
David and Ryan both attended Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, and each have a thriving practice less than three miles from each other. Although in the same field, their approach to chiropractic care has branched off in their own unique directions.
“When I started in chiropractic care, there were conditions that I couldn’t help,” David said. “When I worked with my father, we had chiropractic preceptors. Those are students who have completed their requirements through the college but needed time with a field chiropractor.
“A few of our preceptors were into chiropractic neurology and my interest in that specialization grew. I went through an additional 360 hours of education to learn the practice of neurology in chiropractic care.”
Ryan respects the avenue his elder brother has chosen in the profession they both share.
“David found his niche with chiropractic neurology,” Ryan said. “He wanted to do his own thing, and he’s very successful at it. David had worked with our father for about nine years before I got out of college and joined them.
“He has had almost 10 more years experience under his belt than I do. We were always close growing up, and I always looked up to him.”
Chiropractic neurology is the study of the brain and how chiropractic care can help with the functions of the neurological system through the use of spinal adjustments, nutrition, light and sound waves.
“Chiropractic neurology may help people with Parkinson’s,” David said. “I had a patient that suffered from a condition called dystonia, which is involuntary muscle contractions that cause repetitive or twisting movements and won’t release. We have been able to give that patient some relief.
“Before treatments, winter was unbearable for her. For the last five years, she’s led an almost normal life.”
Whereas David’s approach to chiropractic may consist of new neurological methods and nutrition, Ryan and his business partner, co-owner Chris Wilderman, have found their own way to bring chiropractic care in a new direction through adjustments and physical therapy.
“My practice is more mainstream than David’s,” Ryan said. “Chris and I treat anything from sports conditions to pediatrics to geriatrics. We use a highly specific adjusting instrument that allows us to adjust people who may be elderly, who has severe osteoporosis and or patients who may have had spinal surgery and have plates, screws and rods in place.”
Ryan said “old school” adjustments sometimes just do not work in those cases, and he wants to offer every available avenue before a patient resorts to back surgery.
“We have Parkway Physical Therapy in our office,” he said. “We encourage our patients to try all conservative measures first before surgery.”
One area on which both Ryan and David agree is the need for chiropractic care before a problem persists or worsens.
“The number one thing I tell my patients is that you can’t judge your health strictly based on how you feel,” Ryan said. “A patient may have heart disease or cancer and not have a single symptom. So many people wait until a problem presents symptoms and then it’s a lot harder to get them where they should be.”
David said good health as a child raised in a chiropractic home was one reason he was so healthy as a child.
“I, like most kids, wanted to get sick now and then to miss school,” David said. “However, growing up being adjusted and being healthy, that rarely happened. From first until probably ninth grade, I may have only missed 10 days of school. I was drawn to the chiropractic field because I wanted to help people.
“I wanted to keep myself and others healthy without having to rely on drugs and surgery.”
Bemis Wilderman Chiropractic recently received the RiverBend Growth Association’s Small Business of the Month Award and also has received the AdVantage News Readers’ Choice award for the past two years.
“I am very proud of Ryan and his accomplishments,” David said. “We both practiced with our father for several years and we both opened our own practices. We were never pushed to go into the chiropractic direction. Our father always said it didn’t matter what we chose to do as adults as long as we were happy and worked hard. He wanted us to be successful.”
David Bemis’ office, Alton Chiropractic Neurology, is located at 219 Piasa St., No. 200, in Alton and can be reached at (618) 465-6500 or www.altonchironeuro.com. Bemis Wilderman Chiropractic, 230 Regional Drive in Alton, can be reached at (618) 433-9333 or www.bemiswildermanchiropractic.com.