Chiropractor opens unique clinic with truckers’ backs in mind
January 1, 2003
WOODSTOCK, Ont. - The doctor is now in - right on site at a popular truck stop - for truckers whose backs are killing them every time they get out of the cab.It's the first solo practice for 30-year-o...
WOODSTOCK, Ont. – The doctor is now in – right on site at a popular truck stop – for truckers whose backs are killing them every time they get out of the cab.
It’s the first solo practice for 30-year-old Doctor Jerry Singh, who finished his degree in 2001 and spent a year practicing in Toronto before deciding to set out on his own and open up Trans Canada Chiropractic.
The clinic opens at the beginning of January, at 230 Truck Stop.
He says he was inspired to set up a unique practice geared specifically towards the needs of long-haul truckers after seeing a large number of trucks parked outside a truck stop on Highbury Rd. in London, Ont., late one evening last year.
“When I saw those trucks parked at night, and that the truckers were just sitting there, I realized they could benefit from chiropractic care,” Singh says.
He says although studies show truckers are prone to shoulder pain and low back pain from improper lifting or long hours at the wheel, it’s difficult for them to get chiropractic care and relief because of their schedules.
“It’s an area that has been neglected.”
That’s why Singh approached Steve Lodge, the owner of the popular truck stop at exit 230 on Highway 401, with the idea of opening a chiropractic clinic right at the facility.
He believes his clinic is the first of its kind in the country.
“In the United States, there are a couple of these set up near truck stops, but in the U.S. chiropractors can do physical exams as well and they don’t concentrate on the chiropractic part,” Singh says.
He can, he says, because in Canada chiropractors are not allowed to offer other medical services.
Lodge says Singh’s idea for an onsite clinic fits right in with the concept of 230 Truck Stop, which tries to provide unique services that other truck stops don’t offer.
“We built this place big enough to find some different services for truck drivers, so when Jerry came offering chiropractic services, I thought that would be a good thing,” says Lodge.
“I think one of the problems is that if they (truckers) do have a bad back, a lot of guys are away during the week and booking appointments is damn near impossible without taking time off work. Here they can call ahead, and stop by on their way out of Toronto,” he adds.
Singh spent several months last year researching the concept, including contacting some trucking companies about the idea, with positive feedback.
“Everyone thinks it’s a great idea. You just have to get the truckers. And I think to do that, we’re going to have to educate them,” he says.
(As part of that education, Dr. Jerry Singh begins a new monthly column, “Back Behind the Wheel,” in this month’s issue of Truck News.)
What’s important for truck drivers to realize, Singh says, is that if they are suffering from back pain and don’t have it treated, it can lead to increased degeneration of their lower back – which could cut their careers short.
Also, Singh says, getting back pain relief can contribute to the safety factor for truckers.
Back pain can be excruciating and sufferers become focused on the pain instead of on whatever job or task they’re doing.
When truck drivers are experiencing back pain and get relief for it, they’re going to be more focused on driving, Singh says.
Singh’s clinic offers both immediate help and preventive maintenance chiropractic services to deal with the four most common pains that truck drivers experience – low back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain and hand pain.
The gamble for Singh is whether truck drivers will only stop by if they are in pain, or whether he can build a clientele of drivers who stop by regularly to keep their backs in shape behind the wheel.
Lodge points out that it has traditionally been difficult from entrepreneurs like Singh offering services out of 230 Truck Stop to determine exactly what hours their businesses should be open.
About 1,500 trucks stop by the facility each day from Monday to Friday, at all hours.
Singh agrees that scheduling his hours will be the most difficult challenge.
“Initially, I’ll be here from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Once they get comfortable with me and the clinic, we may have another doctor to work the various hours,” he says.
His girlfriend, a London, Ont., chiropractor, will practice at the clinic two days a week, he adds.
As an incentive to draw his target market out of the cab and into the clinic, Singh reached an agreement with a local Goodlife Fitness Club.
Truckers who stop by Trans Canada Chiropractic get a fitness centre pass – although not many truckers have time to head for the gym.
Both Lodge and Singh believe the new chiropractic clinic will benefit not only truck drivers on their runs down Highway 401, but also the local community. Woodstock is growing, they say, and so is the need for services like this.
If the clinic becomes popular with both truck drivers and the locals, Singh plans to expand to bigger space at 230 Truck Stop, and possibly offer other medical services by bringing in a general practitioner.
Singh’s eventual plan is to open clinics at several truck stops right across Canada.
“I think a lot of people are going to benefit from this,” he says.
If you’re on the road and in back pain, you can find Trans Canada Chiropractic on the main level of 230 Truck Stop.