Chiropractic may be a dying a profession, but there are some advocates who are doing a good job trying to prove the importance of its existence. Dr. Moses Corbell of Pure Life Chiropractic talks about surviving in the chiropractic world amidst competition. He narrates how he got into chiropractic and discusses Gonstead technique which allows him to practice specific chiropractic; that is, getting very specific in finding the root cause of your health problem and correcting it. Dr. Corbell also shares his thoughts on providing chiropractic care to someone doing CrossFit, someone who has medical and exercise science background, and kids, specifically those with autism.
Dr. Moses Corbell is a Gonstead chiropractor out of Scottsdale Arizona at Pure Life Chiropractic. Dr. Moses and I will talk about the absolute power and truth behind this specific adjustment. How to deliver specific adjustment can change your life, your family’s life and the community that you live in. He talks about the miracles behind adjusting kids at a young age, how important proper ergonomics are at the gym and workplace, to keeping a healthy body and spine. He also goes into the dos and don’ts of CrossFit and weightlifting, as he is and has been a competitive weightlifter for a long time. Please welcome, Dr. Moses Corbell.
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Specific Chiropractic with Dr. Moses Corbell
We have a very special guest, Dr. Moses Corbell. I went to school with Dr. Moses. It’s been a couple of years since I sat down and talked to him. I’m looking forward to this episode. He’s a great specific Gonstead chiropractor out of Scottsdale, Arizona. We’re going to get into some specific chiropractic where Dr. Moses is from, how he got into chiropractic, and all the people he’s helping out. Dr. Moses, how are you doing?
I’m doing good. Thank you so much for having me on.
Dr. Moses, where are you from originally?
I was born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley in California and Bakersfield, California. I ended up leaving there after my undergrad to head out to LA, where I met you.
Where did you go to undergrad? Is it Bakersfield too?
I went to California State Bakersfield.
What did you major in undergrad?
Initially, biology and I ended up switching to Kines. That’s what my four years in.
You had that medical background. Did you always know you wanted to go into the health field?
That was the plan. In all honesty, things changed for me when I got into chiropractic school. Initially, when I started school, I wanted to be more in the medical field. I spent a little bit of time at the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center and saw their liver transplant team. I was like, “This is cool. It’s something I want to look at.” As time progressed, I realized that I’m not trying to be in school that long, not only that and also the residency. More importantly, when I started to learn more about the holistic form of healthcare and specific chiropractic, it was easy to verge away from the allopathic mindset and focus more on the chiropractic.
What were you into growing up as a kid? Were you into sports or other things?
I was big into sports. I did a lot of powerlifting growing up. I played a little bit of soccer and a little bit of football. Most of my time was spent doing powerlifting and things like that.
Were you training in chiropractic school for that?
When we started chiropractic school, it consumed our lives. Do you remember how rigorous that was? It’s a 25-plus unit a term. I got away from it a little bit. As we got more in the program, I was able to free up some time and get back into it.
Dr. Moses, as you know, there are so many different realms to get into when you get to chiropractic school, you’re being tugged in a lot of directions. What made you gravitate to a specific form of chiropractic?
Initially going into school, I had a completely different mindset.
Were you getting adjustment regularly before school?
If I’m being honest with myself, I had no idea that specific chiropractic existed. Even if it did, I was so Kines mindset that I was all into the jack-of-all-trades having everything in my bag per se so the muscle rubbing, the tools, Graston, ART, and the stim. As time went on, I started to see the miracles that came from specific chiropractic to be the logical approach towards specific chiropractic. It was a no brainer. I abandoned the ship immediately and said, “This is what I want to do. This is what we came to school for. This is why chiropractic made it to this point.” I ended up finding Dr. Ping, which is in Pasadena. He’s a Gonstead chiropractor.
Specific Chiropractic: When you deliver a specific adjustment, you can change someone’s world.
I found him because Lina was suffering from migraines for four years prior to that and had gone through neurologists after neurologist after chiropractic clinic on campus to another chiropractor that did SOT and couldn’t find relief with her migraines. I met a student and he was like, “Go see my chiropractor.” We’ve heard that before, but she had nothing to lose. We went and saw him. He did a full-blown analysis, looked at that atlas, showed us which way the atlas had moved to the millimeter and adjusted accordingly. After one adjustment, Lina’s world was rocked. With that, it rocked my world because I got to spend day by day with her seeing all the headaches and migraines that she was going through. When you deliver a specific adjustment, you can change someone’s world in minutes.
That’s what I love about what you are doing in Arizona too and all the people that are doing specific chiropractic. You’re measuring nerve interference where it’s at. You’re not adjusting the same exact segment every time the person comes in. You see miracles happen in your office, which is what it’s all about. Dr. Moses, tell me a little bit about the Gonstead analysis, how it’s so specific and what tools you use to figure out which way the bone has gone. How do you locate where you’re going to adjust that?
There is a full-blown Gonstead analysis where you’re taking a history, seeing what’s going on and how things are going. You’re going to do your physical examination where you’re looking at where pockets of inflammation are and how the bones are moving. You will use what we call a nervous scope to assess the spine looking for an instrument to show us where the inflammation is. After that, depending on where the information pockets are and how the bone is moving, we’ll take a structural image to see how that bone is sitting because what we don’t want to do is go in there and guess.
You use the nervoscope on the entire back or the entire spine and that pops up right on the computer. How does that work?
In our office, we have that exact instrument to measure. We use another one, which is the exact same thing as a nervoscope. It’s another form of thermography that was produced by NASA and purchased by chiropractors. We use that to give the patient an idea of this is what it shows on the computer and what we have going on. We’ll turn around and follow it up with an SCMG, which is very similar to an EKG of the heart. What we’re looking at is how the muscles are contracting. If there’s true nerve interference, you and I both know those nerves go to those muscles. They’re going to be dysfunctional as well. It’s very hypertonic on one side or hypotonic on another. We’ll compare both of those stands and say, “Pocket inflammation here. There’s a healing process taking place and the muscles are reacting not right here.” We’ll take the structural image and see how it’s sitting. With that, once you have the imaging, you’ll do your analysis. You’ll measure out the pelvis. You’ll measure out how far the bone has slipped and which direction. We’ll do the same thing with atlas.
You get those patients that come in that I’m sure that whole scans lighten up. How do you figure out where you’re going to adjust that day? I know every case is different, but how do you use that analysis to hone in on what you’re doing that day? Do you adjust everything that day or do you see how that person does?
We see how that person does. Let’s say we do our full-blown analysis and we have a base of the amount of inflammation that’s in that individual spine or how their muscles are contracting. We take that base and we keep it from day one. As we go through care, we want to remeasure from the initial base. From that first adjustment, what we end up doing is we get our base. They come into the room. We scan them with our nervoscope. We’re looking for the C pockets. We mark where those are. We start to make a decision. I have two bones in the cervical spine that I need to move. One of them being C7 because that’s typically common for those individuals that end up having that forward head carriage or T1. Maybe they have something at the atlas that we see.
I have to make a decision depending on the individual symptoms and how that scan came out and which bone I’m going to move. It’s not typical that I’m going to move both of those bones just because I won’t know what got them better and what got them worse. What we’ll end up doing is we’ll turn around and we’ll rescope. I’ll wait for their feedback when I call them the next day. I’ll put how they’re functioning, how they’re feeling together, and we’ll decide if we’re going to stay on that track or if we’re going to verge away. As we go through care, you and I both know that things are going to get better. They’re going to start to line up so things change. There may be a time when an individual comes and that bone is staying put. I want to leave it alone because our job is to get it to a position to where it stays there. Knowing when to stop is one of the best things to do in chiropractic.
You do have patients that come in, which you don’t see in a lot of chiropractic offices. You’ll come in and be like, “I’m not touching the neck now because it’s in place. It’s fine. We’re going to leave that alone. Maybe we’ll look elsewhere.”
Depending on where that person is coming from. If it’s from the normal population, they love it. They’re like, “This is staying there. I feel great. It’s functioning great.” They’re showing me proof of it. Let’s say you get an athlete, a CrossFitter or a powerlifter and they’re like, “I needed to move.”
I wanted to bring that up with you for someone that is in the field of powerlifting and you do CrossFit. You have a lot of people, doctors, trainers that are like, “What are you doing? Are you doing CrossFit? That is so bad for you. That’s awful for you. You’re going to hurt yourself.” How do you feel about that as somebody that does that, somebody that has a medical background, and an exercise science background?
I usually tell the patient a couple of things when they come in and they’re deciding to make that life change by joining something pretty rough. It’s anything else like gymnastics and football. If you decide to make the decision to go into sports or athletics to where it’s compressive on the spine and the body, you need to make a decision to choose to invest into things that are going to help you to recover like chiropractic, yoga, nutrition, and things like that. You can’t just do these things and expect your body and spine to be perfect. We have that conversation. I usually tell them that when you’re looking for a CrossFit gym, you want to make sure you look for one that is going to be very focused on keeping that spine neutral. You’re making sure they don’t put it in positions that are going to be too vulnerable. Obviously, you’re going to be taking your body to another limit. Getting checked regularly is highly important. You do not want to go along through these sports and ignore things because you’re strong or tough. They’re going to build up. People that are most active should be checked more.
I know you can’t speak for all of them, but are these gyms stressing form? Are they stressing how important it is?
No, not all of them. When we moved out here, I went to about three or four gyms and felt them out and saw how they were. I usually look for a USAW certification, United States Weightlifting Certification. Let’s be honest, anyone can get a typical CrossFit certification. You’ll know when you’ve got the coach going through every movement very slowly or individuals who can’t do the movements. They’re modifying them so that they’re not hurting themselves. That’s extremely important to me. I usually will push that over into the patient and be like, “This is what you need to look for.” I’ll even have them show me in the office.
Do you show them proper form and everything?
I typically don’t go out of my way to show them proper form. Let’s say they’re having something wrong in their pelvis. I’ll ask them what they’re doing in the gym. I’ll ask them to show me because I can get some good information on how they’re moving and what could be the culprit to what’s causing their issues.
We were talking about holding before the adjustments and holding this healing. Do you tell your patients if they’re doing something very physical? Do you tell them to hold off for 24 hours? Do you have any problem with them going right from you to the gym? Do you think that affects the holding?
I do think it affects. Our job as chiropractors is to get each individual into a position to where they consistently can do the things they love as much as they love, but there’s always a fine line. Obviously, if they’re super acute, flared up and they’re trying to run and go deadlift 400 pounds, we might want to stop that for a little bit until we stabilize out. For most people, I tell them, “Don’t stop doing what you’re doing. Keep doing what you’re doing.” My job is to get you to consistently do what you love. It would be easier for me to get you better when you’re living in a bubble and not doing anything, but let’s get you better while you’re doing the things you love. Watch your form, watch the way you’re moving and let’s start making life changes to where we can consistently get these things to hold.
Specific Chiropractic: Don’t stop doing what you’re doing. Consistently doing what you love makes it easier for you to get better.
A lot of people you’ll adjust or they come from another office and they’re like, “They adjust me. They told me not to do anything,” and they keep doing not doing anything. You’ve got to live your life at some point. That must be frustrating for some people. I also wanted to talk about the dynamic you have in your office because you have another amazing doctor with you, Dr. Lina. How does that work with you? Do you specialize more in one thing? Does she take care of another? How does that dynamic work because it must be nice having two doctors in the same practice.
It takes a lot of weight off my shoulders. Out here in Scottsdale, we see a big population of kiddos, a lot of young ones from birth all the way up with autism, ADD, ADHD. We’re lucky to serve that population because they filled this office up with happiness, running around and jumping around. If you start them as young, they will be in such a better place when they’re older.
A lot of people have no idea that you could bring a kid to chiropractic. It blows their mind.
It should be more common knowledge. Everyone else is getting their digestive system checks, their heart or their lungs and every other system. The system they’re not getting checked is one of the most important is their nervous system. These kids are under so much stress running, bumping, jumping off things and technology. It’s birthing process alone is enough stress to get kids to be dysfunctional.
Is your analysis the same with kids as it would be with an adult?
The adjustment and the analysis are going to be a little different, depending on how young the kid is. If they’re younger than five, I’m not shooting images. I’m leaving that alone. We’ll still do our nerve scans and muscle scans with the best of our ability depending on the kiddo and how they’re staying still. We use a lot of sustained contacts with those kiddos. It’s all about building trust with them. Once you do it, you can do whatever you like. It’s not long before they come in and they’re pointing at their neck.
I want to stress what kids can go to specific chiropractic for. What were those things you see in your office and what do you see get better?
The big one is ear infections. That’s a super big one. You know this more than anybody. When that atlas shifts, the eustachian tubes end up getting torqued and none of that fluid wants to drain out of that ear so it just sits there. Once you free that up, you can get to the root cause of their condition instead of throwing antibiotics at it, tubes and all that kind of stuff. Colic is a big one, sacrum issues, constipation, bedwetting and asthma. We see a lot of asthma. A lot of these kids have no idea that they have a deviation in their spines. We’ll shoot an image when they’re ten and their mom and dad are like, “I never knew that was there.” Chiropractic can help with a lot of things with kids and getting to them when they’re younger is going to be the best thing we can do for them.
Is that something you and Dr. Lina both do? Does she take more of the kids? How does that work?
She sees most of the kids. She does a lot more of the pregnant moms and kiddos. I have a couple of autistic kids under my belt that I enjoy seeing. The rest of the population I see. She sees the kiddos and pregnant moms.
What do you see get better with the autistic kids? I remember I raised my hand at chiropractic school and I asked something about autism. I was like, “Can chiropractic help autism or something?” The teacher was like, “Are you going to adjust the autism out of them?” What’s your response seeing that in your office these days?
With kids like that, the goal is never to cure the condition that they have going on. The goal is to get them to be able to focus more, to communicate more. When the brain can send its message down the spine and out these nerves, every organ cell or tissue in the body, it is better off than if there was something that was distorting that stuff, especially with that population. Communicating better, pointing, talking, spending time with friends, these are all huge things that a lot of people don’t realize in the autism population. The parents become so happy about when their kids are at school and engaging with other kids. You literally can change their lives. Taking away that nerve interference is huge for these kids.
Do you do anything else in the office as far as supplementation, nutrition, or anything like that?
Nothing at all. It’s just specific adjusting. They come in and like, “Show me your pay schedule.” I said, “It’s got an adjustment. It’s got an exam on it. What else do you want? There’s nothing else on there.”
Dr. Moses, I noticed that specific chiropractors don’t need to see their patients as often. It’s not like a mill where you’re running them in the office four times a week and getting adjusted every single time. I know it’s different for every patient but typically.
Depending on the individual and what they have going on. They’re chronicity and how acute they are for wellness dictates everything. The structure, the spine, how much inflammation, how their muscles are reacting, all play a role in that so it’s very specific. The care that we give to each individual is very catered to that person and their spine and their body. 99% of the people I see, I would never give them three visits a week. That’s how I personally do things. I like to give the body time to heal and push out the compensation so that I can get a good reading when they do come in. Initially, I’ll start them two times a week, but it’s not very long that I keep them there. We try to taper them down as quickly as possible. Get them to a point to where things are holding and staying put. I give them the information they need to keep them there. That’s my job.
Sometimes you get the person that you adjust on a Monday, they come back in on Friday and everything is not perfect. They’re sore. They’re still hurting. Their scan is looking a little bit better. Structurally, there’s something a little off and you’re like, “We’re going to leave this alone.” They come back in next week and it clears out. It is very important to give that body some time to work through what it’s going through.
It’s knowing when to leave the body alone. Every time you look at an individual, you have to take into account how quick or how slow their body is going to heal from above and down inside out.
Specific Chiropractic: Speed is way more important than strength.
Some people might see a Gonstead chiropractic video and it might look a little forceful, but that’s not the case. It depends on the practitioner. If done properly, it’s not that an aggressive adjustment.
The last statement you made there is what’s important. Depending on who you learned under and how you learned, it dictates a lot of that. It should never hurt. If you’re acute, what’s going to hurt is the acute pain, but what shouldn’t hurt is the adjustment. I personally pride myself on how light my hands are and maybe that’s because I got to practice on Dr. Lina. That was super beneficial for me in school. I don’t think any adjustments should be too forceful because if you have to force a bone into a position, maybe that bone needed to be moved.
Do you think speed plays a factor?
Speed is way more important than strength. That’s why we see in the Gonstead world, it’s usually females will get their adjustments before the male does because they have more grace and a little bit more speed. They’re more relaxed. This guy tries to force things. Speed is 100% more important.
Is there a referral network for Gonstead? Is there somewhere somebody can go? Obviously, everybody doesn’t have a specific chiropractor in their neighborhood.
There are Gonstead websites and Gonstead seminar websites, where you can search for Gonstead chiropractors in your area. What I tell people is the only thing you need to look for is if they use a nervoscope or anything to read the spine because anybody could get on those websites, unfortunately. Looking for that, getting on their website, and checking to see what they do and if they’re over here showing e-stim, cold laser or all those other stuff, they may not be 100% Gonstead. They might be claiming that they’re using some Gonstead or some upper cervical because we go back to that jack-of-all-trades, master of nothing.
There are people that claim they’re doing upper cervical. There are people that are claiming they’re doing Gonstead. I had somebody called me and they were like, “I’m taking over a Blair practice. What do you think?” I was like, “What’s their x-ray machine look like?” They were like, “They don’t have one.” I was like, “Do they have a toggle table?” He was like, “No, they’re just doing rotary rigs.” I was like, “That’s not what we do.” It is important for people to know exactly what you do and that’s why I had you on here to lay it all out.
It does a disservice to what I do and what you do. I typically tell people if they have any questions, “Shoot me an email and I’ll look for you.” I would much rather take a glance and pick and point out what you should be looking for opposed to them just going into it blindly because I would hate for them to have a bad experience. More importantly, walk into a chiropractic office and get the care that they don’t need or something that not do well for them.
Dr. Moses, what was it like opening up a new practice for you as a new doctor? How was that transition?
I didn’t know anybody before moving out here. We picked up, chose a location, chose the city, chose the state and moved out here. We moved out here in January 2017. We were like, “We’re going to open up in May.” First and foremost, getting financing was by far one of the hardest things. I already knew that I was not going to work for anybody because I would have to do what they wanted. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like I’m doing a disservice or even worse to a patient by going in there and doing the flying seven on everyone. If an adjustment can help someone, it can certainly hurt someone. That’s a different story. I went to about 49 banks and 48 of them denied me. I finally found one that was like, “We’ll give it a shot.” That was hell walking into these banks.
Some laugh at you and some of them were like, “You need to buy this person’s practice. They’re doing this. They’re seeing these many patients.” I was like, “No, I want you to build mine. I want to do everything. I want to do the way I want to do it.” I found somebody and they sold it into me. They basically gave me the small business loan that I was looking for. We opened up in October 2017, the 31st. We had a big ribbon cutting. We ended up having 200 people there. I showed them the office, gave them tours in the office and 100 people ended up signing up to come in for their appointments that first two weeks. We definitely are extremely blessed to be where we’re at, but we fought for it.
You didn’t take no for an answer.
There was no other option.
Do you have anything you’d like to add to anything about chiropractic or life in general?
With chiropractic, my hope is that it continues to get better. My fear is when I look around the world and look at other countries, other cities, other states, and what the schools are putting out, it is scary. It’s a dying profession, unfortunately. I do think the schools are pushing the more medical model. People want it. People want principled chiropractic care. Never think you can’t get by with just an adjustment. That is a hoax. That is a lie. We’ve been told that in school that you can get by with it. More importantly, you can have some of the most amazing results. I had a story about a couple that couldn’t get pregnant for four years. Both of them had hormone tests.
They both went to a doctor, a fertility clinic, and they were like, “You are perfect. We just don’t know what’s going on. We’re going to have to implant.” They came to my office. I was like, “Let’s try and see what can happen here.” I kid you not, four months under care, she’s now pregnant and will soon have her baby. You don’t have to say it’s chiropractic. With no nerve interference, your body is going to heal and do what it needs to do. They’re about to have their first beautiful baby girl. If that’s one thing I have all year, that’s worth it. I’ll ask if they named their child Moses. That’s all I asked. Keep fighting and you do things like this by getting principal docs on here like Dr. Quan out there. It’s such a great thing.
We were talking about spreading the good word because people aren’t only getting the information off a drug commercial anymore. You have these platforms. You can do your own research on the internet. The chiropractic profession is a dying profession, but in a way, it’s the good specific adjustments. Those offices are busy. People want it. That’s the problem. There are chiropractic offices that are absolutely thriving and giving solid specific adjustments. The people that aren’t doing that are suffering. Chiropractors that aren’t giving specific adjustments are suffering. It’s sad because they have the power to deliver a specific adjustment. I just don’t know what they’re doing.
Unfortunately, they’re being sold lies going into school. They’re getting this big old shackle attached to their leg. Telling them, “You’ve got to go work to the joint when you get out.” I’m nothing against individuals who work for the joint, but I get most of my patients from the joint.
Specific Chiropractic: Never think you can’t get by with just an adjustment. That is a hoax.
What I like about your story is you saw a vision. You saw where you wanted to go and you didn’t settle. You didn’t take no for an answer. That 49 banks, most people would say, “No one is going to give me money after two.” You’ve got to keep going.
When you see the true power of principled chiropractic and if you’re in the chiropractic world, it’s a no brainer. I saw a girl like Lina have migraines for four years. I’m talking six doctors and from different professions, our own school had no idea how to help her. Principal chiropractor found it one time, sets the bone and no headaches. When you see that, it’s easy to go for 49 banks.
That right there changes the entire dynamic of relationships and families. You get to deliver a specific chiropractic adjustment to one person that’s suffering, you’re making that person a better person. You’re making the relationships you have with them better. You’re affecting when it comes down to it potentially an entire community by fixing one person at a time, which is what it’s all about. What is one piece of advice that’s resonated with you over the years that you would like to gift the audience? It could be anything.
If I had to give anyone any advice, I wish I would’ve had it younger and it seems so simple. If you go into everything you do with the intent to make that person better and without wanting or expecting anything back, you’re life’s going to be so much better. Whether it be getting someone better, whether it be financing, it comes back in tenfold and you don’t even mean for it too. You have a huge heart. You’re humble. You do things for people, whether it be in your office and your relationship, it goes so far.
Dr. Moses, where can people find you? Do you have a website, social media, and all that?
If anyone does have questions that are looking for a Gonstead doctor in their area, they can email me directly and it’s going to be MosesCorbell@Gmail.com. That’s where they can shoot an email to me and ask me any questions they have. They can also go to our website which is PureLifeAZ.com and they can check out all of our material on there. We have a lot about the Gonstead system and what we do in the office, videos, testimonials and all that cool stuff.