Chiropractor Richard Kahler
Is hallux valgus treatment possible, Mr. Kahler?
Today we meet Richard Kahler to learn more about his treatment methods, in particular the treatment of hallux valugus. Mr. Richard Kahler is a chiropractor and has been working in Germany for many years. He holds the title "Doctor of Chiropractic USA".
Interview with Richard Kahler in his practice in Planegg.
Hello Mr. Kahler, please explain what is generally meant by chiropractic, in Germany this treatment method is less known than in your home country, the USA.
Chiropractic derives from the ancient Greek word cheir 'hand' and praktikós 'active', and describes the application of the hands.
There are already records of this from China around 2000 B.C. It is mentioned that individual vertebrae control certain organs and muscles, similar to acupuncture. Hippocrates around 400 BC was already firmly convinced to first look at the spine in the case of various diseases. Chiropractic is not a new concept, rather it is ancient.
In 1895, Dr. Daniel David Palmer treated his janitor for a numbness in his neck. The janitor reported that more than 15 years ago he had lifted a heavy bucket quickly. At that moment, he had noticed a cracking sound in his neck area. From that moment on, the janitor was completely deaf in his right ear. Palmer then asked the man about the supposed spot, recognized some sort of twisting, and reoriented the man. This action freed the nerve pathway and the janitor was able to hear again from one moment to the next. It is not a miracle, it is simply neurologically logical.
Based on this experience, Daniel David Palmer decided to further research in this field and opened the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa in 1897. Today, there are over 20 different chiropractic universities spread throughout the United States, such as in Florida, New York, California and Texas. At these faculties, graduates can receive their "Doctor of Chiropractic USA".
In Germany, however, there is no corresponding training. Cities like Hamburg and Berlin do their best and offer weekend courses, I myself see this training as 'okay'. Meanwhile there is also a good school in Barcelona. But if you want to get an extensive education, there is no way around an American Chiropractic University.
Why is that? In many areas, the training is more extensive than that in a medical degree. In some cases even quite considerably. For example, the chiropractor has twice the number of lecture hours in anatomy and epileptology, half as many in physiology, and as many as 80 times as many in orthopedics.
In numbers, this means there are about 72,000 chiropractors in the U.S., but only about 500 in Germany. This is due, among other things, to the fact that extensive German language skills are required by the German licensing authorities in the health departments.
I myself felt that way when I came to Germany in 2003: After reviewing my education, I had to prove that my German was good enough. As a graduate of a German language and literature program in Göttingen, however, this was not particularly difficult for me. I mention this incident because it reflects why there are so few of us in Europe - the language barrier is simply too great. The only exception here, of course, is Great Britain. They are well served and have five excellent chiropractic universities.
Tell us more about yourself, where are you from and how did you end up at Chiropractic?
I was born and raised in New York State, near the city of Syracuse to be exact. I did my Doctor of Chiropractic degree at Palmer College of Chiropractic West in Cupertino, a suburb of San Francisco .
The training lasted a total of six years, and I graduated in 1984. In the meantime, I have almost 40 years of professional experience and still do the job with passion. I am not a burnout type!
I came to Chiropractic because my wife was having problems with her liver. We were living near Boston at the time. She had won a scholarship to a university in Vienna and became ill there. Her eyes turned yellow and her liver was very swollen, she was in very bad shape. The doctors in Vienna examined her - that is, classical diagnostics - and stuck a needle into her liver. The examination showed that the liver was healthy. But why there was swelling could not be found out. Instead, she received cortisone treatment.
Back in the USA, we met a woman at a party who put us in touch with a chiropractor near Boston. At first I didn't think anything of it - I thought this kind of treatment was only for construction workers with low back pain.
The doctor listened to her story and commented on what she had told him with a simple sentence: "I can help you. Of course, it didn't happen overnight, but little by little an improvement became noticeable. Her yellow eyes disappeared and the energy of life returned. That was the moment for me when I decided to do this training. It was a turning point and I didn't care where or how long the training lasted.
Subsequently, after training, we went to northern Montana. There I opened my first practice, we were there for almost 20 years. During a wellness vacation in Bad Aibling in 2001, my wife attended a 'Feng Shui' seminar. I told the people there what I do for a living and was immediately asked to show my treatment practices. The next day already other patients came.
Two years later, we moved to Germany completely. Initially, it was a small practice in Gräfelfing near Munich for five years. Then I expanded and had a group practice together with five other colleagues, also in Gräfelfing. Over time, however, it became too much for me. That's why I decided to start a solo practice again in 2019 in the neighboring town of Planegg.
I like the Bavarians very much! Of course they are often skeptical at the beginning, but when you then explain the treatment, for example, a hallux valgus and they see the corresponding results, then they are convinced.
Hallux valgus or the painful bunion is a widespread disease in Germany. It is estimated that around 10 million Germans, mainly women, suffer from this condition. How do you encounter hallux valgus in your everyday treatment?
I start the treatment of hallux valgus holistically and always check all joints in the feet, e.g. the ankle and the heel.
It always depends on the mobility of the joints, 32 joints, 26 bones and 103 ligaments per foot. If I feel the base joint of the big toe and it is supple and mobile, then this is rather an exception. Even in young women, often as early as their mid-20s, you can always detect an initial phase of hallux valgus.
Often patients come for something completely different and then notice in the course of treatment that their toe is better. Then, of course, they are totally thrilled! But many women come specifically for hallux valgus treatment.
Generally speaking, a joint that cannot move cannot nourish its own cartilage cells. The cartilage cells gradually die and the joint dries out and ages prematurely. As a result, mobility also decreases.
On my ball bar, you can see the state of a joint. The bar corresponds to the protein strands in the soft tissues, including in the ligaments. The white balls represent a healthy condition, pink and red describe an advanced disease of the joint.
The more scarring already present, the worse for the joint. Often the patient can no longer remember an injury, but the affected joint remembers forever.
From bright red, treatment of the affected joint is necessary.
How many women come to you for hallux valgus treatment?
It's a very simple calculation: 20% of women in their twenties, 30% in their thirties and so on. However, you can say that from the age of 60, it takes another huge leap, because then around 90% are affected by the issue.
How often should one be treated and what treatments for hallux valgus are advisable at Chiropractic?
The frequency of treatments for hallux valgus is related to the age of the patient. The younger the less, the older the more.
One can say: From the age of 20, the following applies: in the intensive phase twice a week, in the stabilization phase once a week, in the intermediate phase every 2 weeks and then there is a TÜV phase where I recommend treatment every 4 to 6 weeks.
In hallux valgus treatment, I first analyze the joint of the big toe. This is where my ball bar comes into play again: Is the joint still in the white or already in the pink or red area? The stiffer the joint already is, the more hallux valgus treatments are necessary.
My treatment is a combination of muscle power and assistive devices, for example with the use of an 'Activator'. The Activator is a chiropractic treatment device developed by Arlan Fuhr, so to speak an 'anti-arthritis gun'. In this chiropractic technique, using the so-called 'Activator', visually similar to a pistol, rapid blasts are delivered with spring force when placed in the joint. The secret of chiropractic is speed - speed delivered on purpose!
Furthermore, I use my hands: While the patient is lying on his or her stomach, I "pull" firmly on the joint. If the patient then complains that I shouldn't break anything for him or her, I like to say, "Yes, absolutely!
There is a lot to break here, especially the scarring on the joint that they have spent years or decades building up. Scarring interrupts the fresh production of cartilage cells and dries out the joint, making it stiff. No supplements or medications will help: When the cartilage can no longer pump so-called cartilage cell blood due to the scarring, the cells in the joint gradually die.
Hallufix is a manufacturer of hallux valgus splints and sandals. What benefits do you see with day and night splints and what with the sandals?
A very good benefit because they actually make a difference. splint and sandal virtually continue to treat patients during my absence between treatments! It's great that the splint is movable. After all, the more comfortable it is for the patient, the more often he or she will use the aid.
With the sandals, it helps that you can't actually tell they are medical shoes. The splint is joint maintenance that helps the patient maintain their independence. After all, they want to be and stay mobile well into the future!
Just a few days ago, a patient bought Hallufix sandals and is very satisfied with them. splint and sandals can be purchased at the medical supply store, and most of splint is covered by health insurance, should you present a prescription.
Alternatively, all items can also be ordered from the Hallufix online store at www.hallufix.com.
We also distribute brochures in our practice and advise patients on Hallufix products, regarding proper use and duration of application.
Kahler Chiropractic practice is located at Bahnhofstr. 38 in 82152 Planegg.
Book appointments at 089/90 180 126 or visit the website:
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Text / Pictures: Thomas Schreiber