CLINTON — Dr. Annette Stockwell's journey to purchasing a Clinton chiropractic staple started a few years ago while on vacation.
She was reading aloud to her husband, Brian, about an advertisement looking to sell a chiropractic clinic in Clinton. It was the perfect opportunity, Stockwell said, with Brian already working in Clinton.
It was so perfect, Brian at first believed it was all part of a business class assignment at Palmer College of Chiropractic.
Two years later, that perfect opportunity turned to reality when Stockwell officially took over Burkert Chiropractic Center in Clinton. Now a year after the purchase, Stockwell, along with Dr. Melissa Peters and office manager Linda Reader, is seeing an increased customer base at BCC.
"The Clinton community has been amazing," said Stockwell, who has seen a patient increase of approximately 30 percent during the last few months. "Our patients are awesome. We appreciate the opportunity to help them. They're really bright people and know when their bodies need adjustments."
Known as the tag-team duo, Peters and Stockwell first met in gross anatomy lab at Palmer.
That relationship has blossomed into a friendship, culminating in Stockwell taking Peters out to lunch last year to discuss joining her in Clinton. Peters, originally from South Dakota and a 2014 Palmer graduate, had no ties to the Clinton area, but took the position.
"I knew I wouldn't work well with someone that I didn't already know," Peters said.
That knowledge helps identify each other's strengths, too. Peters has a massage therapy background in addition to her chiropractic degree, while Stockwell, also a Palmer graduate, excels in the upper cervical area of chiropractic care.
Patients have the opportunity to get opinions from both, and the doctors are more than willing to share knowledge on how best to treat the patients that walk into the door at 1805 N. Second St.
"It's all up to the patient," Stockwell said. "We just want to help them live pain free. If they have to have surgery, they have to do what they need to do. We're not against other types of health care. Our goals are all the same. We want to help people do what they can to enjoy their lives."
That enjoyment also is evident in the office, where the three women try to keep a light atmosphere for patients.
It starts with Reader as the "glue that keeps (them) together." Reader lives in the structure's upstairs and has experience from the medical and business background.
That atmosphere extends to the doctors, who share a similar goal of approaching chiropractic care through a team mindset.
"We enjoy a light atmosphere," Stockwell said. "If the situation needs a serious environment, then we're all business. But at the end of the day, we enjoy a laugh."
It's all part of celebrating achievements for their patients, no matter how small it may seem on the surface.
"We focus a lot in the office on improvement to the nervous system," Peters said. "We want to create an environment for patients to heal. If we can create one good habit or break one bad habit, it's cause for celebration in the office."
That office also has seen a face-lift since Stockwell purchased the more than 100-year-old building on Sept. 14, 2015.
Stockwell's main office was gutted, with new carpet and a wall taken out. The facility also has gone from 22 file cabinets to two file cabinets as the team looks to become fully integrated in online health records.
The space inside also became lighter with new coats of paint, removal of curtains and new photos sprinkled throughout the interior. That work coincided with new landscaping to the outside of the building.
One thing that won't change, albeit for a minor adjustment, is the name of the four-decade-old chiropractic business, formerly owned by Dr. Louie Burkert.
"We're not changing the name, but we will go to BCC," Stockwell said. "We're making the transition nice and slow and will get the sign changed out front."
Stockwell and Peters help patients with headaches, neck pain and low back pain. They offer several different techniques in assisting patients with body pain. They offer not only spinal alignment adjustments, but also physicals and nutritional and fitness advice.
They also are looking into getting involved with Iowa Department of Transportation physicals, and being more active with area manufacturers and neurology, specifically concussion evaluation for athletes.
"It's amazing to work here," Reader said. "It's friendly, welcoming, and the patients are amazing. It brightens my day to see patients smiling when they're walking out because they feel better. I couldn't ask for a better team."
That team doesn't necessarily want to see patients on a weekly rotation, either.
"If they don't see relief in an adjustment or two, we consult," Stockwell said. "Our goal is get them back out doing the things they love to do so they can enjoy their life. We don't want our patients back weekly. If we can't have them fixed within three weeks, we're not doing our jobs."
When area residents do have pain, though, the doctors don't want finances to get in the way. They've implemented a program to help offset chiropractic costs to those who need assistance, whether through their insurance carriers not covering this care or through high deductibles.
Stockwell has spent time in India, while Peters has been on a mission trip to Morocco, where they've seen how limited access to health care can affect people's lives.
"So many people that need care just don't have access," Peters said. "It's important to us to offer that to patients."
The facility is open from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. To make an appointment, call 242-4555.