A great interview with Louella Harris:
viagra Helvetica, viagra sans-serif”>Louella
Harris: A Missionary For Upper Cervical Chiropractic
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For the past seven
years, upper cervical chiropractic practitioners have had a determined,
dynamic lady waging an education campaign on their behalf.
Louella Harris, a patient turned spokesperson, is on a mission.
In 1958, she became a victim of polio at age 3, eight months after taking
a vaccine in Kenya, East Africa. For much of her life, she has endured
the crushing disappointment and despair of failed medical treatments.
But after discovering upper cervical chiropractic care, she has made remarkable
progress in her battle against the excruciating pain and relentless fatigue
that plagued her. And she is telling her powerful story to the public.
With her husband Richard, she founded a nonprofit organization, the National
Awareness Campaign for Upper Cervical Care, Inc. As executive director,
she makes seminar presentations and television appearances, acts as a
media spokesperson and provides the public with patient education information
and doctor referrals on a Web site (www.uppercervical.org).
Just as her parents, who served as missionaries in Kenya, devoted themselves
to a cause, Louella is trying to help others by spreading the word about
what upper cervical care can do.
"I saw a need for a chiropractic missionary," she says. "There
are millions of people like myself who experience chiropractic and have
found it to be relatively ineffective for them. Then, they dismiss the
entire profession, not realizing that there are many ways of doing chiropractic.
"I told my husband, ‘I don’t know how we‘re going
to do this financially, but we have to find a way to get the information
out to the public at large that chiropractic has advanced so far and that
everyone needs chiropractic’."
At age 4, Louella, who notes her spine is "in the shape of an S,"
spent six months away from her parents in Muncie, Indiana, at the Polio
Foundation, to undergo hot and cold baths and to learn to use braces,
crutches and a wheelchair. She went back to Kenya, began to cope with
her disability and returned with her parents to the U.S. at age 12.
"Mom and dad did not understand chiropractic, so we just went the
medical route," Harris recalls. "I remember the day the medical
doctor told my parents that they had done all that could do for me."
Despite her physical challenges, Harris earned a bachelor’s degree
in special education and a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling
from the University of South Florida, and she managed a private practice
as a counselor for emotionally and physically disabled people.
However, in June 1993, Harris began experiencing ailments that made her
seek relief outside of mainstream medicine.
"I began feeling pain crawl up my left arm," she recalls. "I
was doing a lot of driving between Tampa and Lakeland, where I live, and
I thought it was caused by driving, because I use hand controls. But one
night, in the car, the pain was so bad, I could barely manage to get home."
During the next six months, the pain became so severe in her arms and
shoulders that she eventually became confined to her bed, with her husband
personally dressing her, feeding her and attending to her daily needs.
After seeking medical treatment from several doctors, Harris received
a diagnosis of post-polio syndrome and fibromyalgia. Once again, she heard
an ominous phrase.
"The doctor said, "Nothing can be done for you, Louella,’
" she recalls. "Millions of people are being told, ‘You’re
going to have to go home and live with it, and here’s some pain medication.’
My life became the four walls of the bedroom, and I would watch the clock,
and I would live for every fourth hour to take more Darvocet. That was
my focus just to deal with the pain."
After 18 months, a ray of hope appeared.
"One day, a friend called, and said, "Louella, I have heard
what has happened to you. I was in a car accident 30 years ago, and the
only thing that has helped me is upper cervical chiropractic.’ Because
I had already had chiropractic care, and I thought there was only one
way to do it, I completely dismissed the phone call. But pain will overcome
prejudice," Harris states.
Eventually, she sought the services of St. Petersburg, Fla., upper cervical
practitioner, Dr. Stan Pierce, who examined her, took X-rays and set up
a care plan.
"I was in and out of his office for three solid months, sometimes
two and three times a week," she recalls. "After that, I was
out of bed and able to get back to work."
Furthermore, she discovered that she was pregnant at age 39. After nine
months, she delivered her a daughter by natural birth. Today, she is under
upper cervical care from Atlas Orthogonal practitioner Dr. Dan Underwood,
and she no longer takes medication.
"My atlas is holding longer and longer," she points out. "If
I’m on the road and really stressed, I’m in the clinic every
two weeks. When I’m holding my atlas adjustment, I am 90 percent
pain-free most of the time."
Having gained media spokesperson expertise and connections while serving
as volunteer director of the Miss Wheelchair Florida Pageant (she was
first runner-up in 1984), she made her first TV appearance to tell her
chiropractic story on a St. Petersburg, Fla., religious program in October
"I didn’t tell it well. I didn’t even describe it,"
she says. "In fact, my upper cervical doctor was horrified by my
description of this phenomenally advanced procedure. But before the TV
crew could get my wheelchair off the set, the phones were ringing off
the hook. That’s when I knew that there were millions of people like
myself who are completely ignorant of, and in desperate need of, this
type of health care.
"At first, I was angry, because I had endured years of agony and
suffering because of <I>ignorance<I>. If there is something
that literally cannot be done for someone, that’s one thing. But
when something that has been here since B.J. Palmer, and the public still
is ignorant of it, that’s tragic. So that is what has spurred me
Harris, who has spoken to assemblies at several chiropractic colleges,
travels one week every month to do media appearances and present educational
seminars, and she has found religious groups, in particular, to be very
receptive. In her presentations, she recounts her personal odyssey and
then provides audiences with information on locating upper cervical doctors
in the area. She also arranges for a local practitioner to give a brief
The NACUCC, which mails out information to prospective patients who call
a toll-free phone number, operates from office space in a converted five-bedroom
home, and it acquires funding from two sources. Donations come from patients
"whose lives have been turned around by upper cervical care,"
and doctors "who do this work and are implementing our community
education program," Harris says.
She hopes to link her organization with a university, which would conduct
research studies on upper cervical care’s effects on fibromyalgia,
headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome.
For the next two years, Harris is focusing on lining up appearances on
national television programs to promote chiropractic care.
"I represent the public. I think like the public," she says.
"The reason I’m giving us 25 years to do this work is because
we’re literally having to de-program people and then re-program them
on how huge chiropractic has become. So that’s why we’re chiropractic
In conjunction with her media appearances, she is interested in securing
upper cervical practitioners as referrals and organization supporters.
"I decided, before I landed a national interview, that I was going
to have as many upper cervical doctors on our Web site as I possibly could
to handle the influx of calls," she explains. "There’s
nothing more discouraging than for someone in agony to call our number
and find out there is no one within 500 square miles to specifically adjust
C1 and C2.
"In Tulsa, Oklahoma, I was on a program on the Oasis radio network
that aired in three states," she adds. "We got 300 to 400 calls
from 23 states, and we were scrambling to find doctors who focus on upper
cervical care. There are so few that do this work, and we’ve got
to have more doctors."
Currently, approximately 200 practitioners support the NACUCC. Harris
interviews prospective doctors to ensure that they meet four criteria
for involvement with the organization:
- They must be "dedicated
to upper cervical chiropractic and must have vision";
- They have to "have
a heart for long-term public education";
- They must "turn
their clinics into dissemination centers for upper cervical education,
using audiotapes, videotapes and brochures on a daily basis"; and
- They must "donate
monthly to the organization, so that we can continue what we’re
Harris sees her work as vital to improving people’s lives and giving
them hope to overcome their personal health struggles.
"We need a spokesperson out there for every procedure," she
says. "To do what I do takes work, and it takes a stick-to-itiveness.
Sharing the power of upper cervical care with audiences on TV, radio and
in newspapers across the country is a blessing for me.
"What upper cervical chiropractic has done in my life is nothing
short of a miracle. Because of a specific upper cervical correction to
the atlas, I have gone from being an invalid confined to a bed to a national
spokesperson. The mission is to make upper cervical chiropractic care
a household word and practice."
Originally Published in Today’s Chiropractic.