10 Lessons I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Chiropractic Practice

10 Lessons I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Chiropractic Practice Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic

30 Dec 10 Lessons I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Chiropractic Practice

Share this!

I graduated from New York Chiropractic College 10 years ago.

Time flies.

As I like to joke:

I’m going to be dead soon.

People often respond:

Way to be a downer, Chris.

Unfortunately for them, I do Deathbed Meditations almost daily and have found my life is infinitely more meaningful because of it.

With my imminent climb down six feet into the dirt on the horizon, I’ve found that implementing a practice of slowing down, being still, and reflecting over insights learned for the purpose of “walking the path” more mindfully in the future to be a non-negotiable for learning and growth.

Here are 10 Lessons I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Chiropractic Practice:

  1. The Priority Matters
  2. First World Society Don’t Know Anything about Emotional/Spiritual Healing
  3. Adhesion is a BIG (and a SMALL) Problem!
  4. Adhesion Release is Woo-woo
  5. Fixing Adhesion like a Master is a Life-long Endeavor
  6. In 2020, Humans (Still) Like to Avoid Pain and Pursue Pleasure
  7. The Most Likely People to Heal are Off-The-Charts in Self-Awareness
  8. When it comes to Musculoskeletal Aging, Joint Health is Key
  9. Range of Motion is the Blood Pressure Test for your Joint Health
  10. People Have the Utmost Respect for Honesty and Compassion

Lesson #1: The Priority Matters

The 400 pound man needs to exercise and lose weight, not get adhesion released.

The cancer patient needs to cure her cancer and take some time to unwind, not wait hand-and-foot for her college-age kids and their friends to crash over the holiday weekend.

The CrossFitter or runner who is addicted to work out needs psychotherapy, not another workout.

A weird thing happens when you address Priority #1 in an area of life.

Priorities #2 through #10 get much easier.

So, what’s Priority #1?

Lesson #2: First World Society Doesn’t Know Anything About Emotional and Spiritual Healing

We’ve allegedly put a man on the moon, eradicated polio, and are innovating the bejeesus out of cancer treatments with alternative ideas like fasting and ketogenic diets.

Yet, when it comes to the reason behind “I’ve had this goal of getting a higher paying job or leaving my abusive husband for decades and I just can’t figure out how to do it” …

… we don’t even ask the question:

Maybe there’s childhood trauma subconsciously stopping me from seeing the root issue?

I was depressed for years. I know how pain can bring you into the darkness.

A clinically depressed son of two medical doctors told film-makers, “If I’m not better in a year, I’m killing myself.”

Watch how the story unfolds in The Last Shaman.

Did you know that the FDA designed a new treatment for depression that is blowing all other treatments out of the water?

Lesson #3: Adhesion is a BIG (and a SMALL) Problem!

Barefoot Rehab doesn’t believe in chiropractic adjustments.

We believe in treating the cause of a problem.

Adhesion is the most common cause of chronic pain that almost no doctors are talking about.

Barefoot Rehab is the ONLY clinic in New Jersey certified by Integrative Diagnosis to find and fix adhesion. without surgery.

Sure, you can get surgery like the individual below is doing for their “carpal tunnel”, but why get cut open when you don’t need to? (WEIRDLY, many people choose to get cut open because their insurance covers it and insurance doesn’t cover what we do. Problem is, surgery can often make the pain WORSE!)


Adhesion is kinda like glue in your muscles that causes:

  • tightness
  • weakness

It’s such a BIG PROBLEM that getting rid of it helped:

Each person above found SIGNIFICANT, PERMANENT relief with us at Barefoot Rehab because they each had a significant amount of adhesion.

Adhesion was THE BIG problem.

For a minority of people who have let their joints degenerate for too long, getting rid of adhesion would result in minimal to no relief.

Adhesion is a SMALL problem when your joints are severely arthritic.

How do you know if adhesion is a BIG or SMALL problem?

You wouldn’t know what the cause of your pain is until you get a diagnosis in list form, like this:

  1. Significant adhesion in the low back
  2. Mild herniation at L5-S1.
  3. Mild overload due to sitting 8 hours a days.

Only with a diagnosis like this can you expect permanent relief of 75-100%.

When a doctor tells you, “You have ITB Syndrome”, that’s a garbage-can diagnosis that should cue you to run out the door and find a new doctor.

Lesson #4: Adhesion Release is Woo-woo

Remember those testimonials from above with people who have had over 6 months of pain and seen at least 3 doctors without relief FINALLY find PERMANENT relief by getting their adhesion removed?

Want to know who DOESN’T CARE one bit about those results?

Other doctors and therapists.

Every few weeks, one of our patients who we’ve helped get PERMANENT relief comes into the office and says:

Those other doctors and therapists really hate you guys, huh?

Too bad they have no idea what they’re talking about because you’ve changed my life.

Read the comments on our Tennis Elbow Instagram Post that caused the trolls to come out.

They posted things like:

So adhesions cause pain? The sound could be the same sound you get with other bodily cracks and pops. You are not breaking adhesions, unless your 400+ lbs.

Or this:

Scam alert!

I can reproduce that same sound by pressing and scraping on any area over a bony protuberance on my body. Doesn’t mean that adhesions are there or causing issue

Or this:

Do you even know how much force it takes to “break up” fascia? Hint: No manual therapy with hands, cups, or scraping has anywhere near enough force. Lol you guys need to read research. All you’re hearing is the scraping device going over fascia, not breaking it.

Or this:

Adhesions breaking are not a thing that happens

It’s people who resist innovation that are preventing people in chronic pain from getting the relief they deserve.

This is why it’s SO IMPORTANT to advocate for yourself when pursuing ANY doctor.

Your choice of doctor can mean the difference you finding the solution to your problem or suffering for years to decades with even worse pain.

Don’t make one of these 7 mistakes when choosing a doctor.

Lesson #5: Fixing Adhesion like a Master is a Life-long Endeavor

One of the reasons why so many people don’t believe adhesion is real or can be removed is because IT IS HARD to feel and remove.

Most doctors and therapists think pushing on “knots” will help them. Unfortunately, people feel great for 2-3 days before the pain comes crashing back!

I’ve spent more than $150k on studying adhesion with my mentor, Dr. Brady of Integrative Diagnosis. I spent $50k in 2018 alone.

For reference, I spent $150k on my chiropractic school education. The investing I’ve done since graduating from chiropractic school 10 years ago is like I went to chiropractic school twice!

The path of mastery is what allows us, at Barefoot Rehab, to be able to identify every tiny little muscle that can be contributing to your pain.

We explain how adhesion release is different than massage or Active Release Technique in this steak video.

To continue to step into the vision of Barefoot Rehab becoming the Premier Pain Clinic in New Jersey, where we get patients from as far away as:

  • Oregon
  • Texas
  • Massachuessets
  • Connecticut
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia

… it’s vital that we continue to improve our skillset.

Why is mastery and chronic pain relief so important?

By definition, chronic pain is a hard puzzle to solve.

There is no chronic pain relief WITHOUT mastery.

Most importantly:

This is healthcare patients deserve.

I send people in pain I care about, my family members and friends, to Integrative Diagnosis doctors.

Then, when they need fitness help customized to their body anywhere in the world, I send them to Active Life Rx.

Lesson #6: In 2020, Humans (Still) Like to Avoid Pain and Pursue Pleasure

I’m being facetious.

It’s baked into our genes to avoid pain and pursue pleasure.

When we’re not able to consciously rise out of reptilian, primal brain, we stay stuck.

Stuck not only in pain, but in life.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~Albert Einstein

Barefoot Rehab is arguably the most expensive chiropractor’s office in New Jersey if someone doesn’t have out-of-network chiropractic benefits (which are getting worse, year by year).

We only take patients who have been to at least 3 other doctors WITHOUT permanent relief.

Diana saw 30 Neck Pain Specialists before finding us at Barefoot Rehab.

Despite the fact that someone’s pain is impacting their life and the fact that conventional, in-network doctors were NOT able to help, people literally GET ANGRY at us when we tell them what it’ll cost to get PERMANENT pain relief.

They want to pay a $10 copay even though insurance companies fight and lie to us about getting paid from them.

So we don’t play insurance company’s games.


For reasons we can talk about another time, people avoid the pain of having to pay money out of their own pocket and instead pursue the pleasure of temporary relief.

Getting rid of pain, just like anything in life, sometimes requires that we do something uncomfortable or difficult.

We humans need to ask ourselves:

Where am I avoiding the pain of now, causing myself to suffer in the long run?

Lesson #7: The Most Likely People to Heal are Off-The-Charts in Self-Awareness

If I were forced to take one quality of being with me as I lived the rest of my life, it would be…


Without self-awareness, we can’t see how we dug ourselves into a hole in the first place.

Worse, we can’t see a way to climb out of the hole.

Then, we kick and scream, completely unaware that there’s a ladder out of the hole right behind us.

The best way to develop self-awareness?


But you already know this.

Collective consciousness continues to uplevel our awareness of the benefits of meditation.

People get stuck with how to start.

Try 2 minutes of forced sitting, where you handcuff yourself to a chair and observe your thoughts.

The BIG mistake people make is thinking the mind needs to empty. It doesn’t.

Every master meditator starts with monkey mind. Let it be.

I guarantee after 2 weeks of sitting for 2 minutes, quite easily, you will increase that time to 4 minutes.

Lesson #8: When it comes to Musculoskeletal Aging, Joint Health is Key

The #1 Reason we CAN NOT help someone at Barefoot Rehab is due to joint degeneration or “arthritis”.

When you neglect your body’s fire alarm in the form of your brain’s message of “pain”, you’re allowing the fire to spread.


If you really care about longevity and pain-free living into your 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, it’s paramount that you become aware of your joint health.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I have adhesion around this joint?
  • Is my exercise causing the pain to get worse over months to years?
  • Am I respecting the Sit-Slide-Lean Rule while sitting to properly to minimize stress to the most common joints to degenerate, the discs in my low back and neck?
  • Do I need to change my sleep position so I don’t wake up with an achy or stiff body part that takes an hour to warm up?

The answers to these questions are KEY if you want to age gracefully.

Lesson #9: Range of Motion is the Blood Pressure Test for your Joint Health

It’s accepted wisdom that your blood pressure is a measure of heart health.

In 20 years, it will be accepted wisdom that your range of motion is a measure of joint health.

Does your low back round?


Do you pass these 5 neck tests?


Can your heel touch your butt?Knee-Flexion-range-increase

The younger someone gets their chronic pain fixed, the more likely we can get their range of motion to be as full as can be.

The longer someone waits, the more joint degeneration (or aging) they will have and the less we can help.

It’s vital that you DON’T WAIT to get your pain fixed.

Meet Ben, who waited 2 years to address his foot pain. Unfortunatley, he waited too long.

Lesson #10: People Have the Utmost Respect for Honesty and Compassion

One of the things that makes me the most proud at Barefoot Rehab is that while we are more expensive than the other pain doctors around us, we have over 150 5-star reviews and not one negative review on Facebook or Google.

When I’ve spent a lot of money on a service and didn’t get VALUE from that service, I’ve been quite upset, realizing that the people who sold me took advantage of me. Many of those people who sold me didn’t even have a place to write reviews, so I couldn’t protect other consumers from using them.

Breaks my heart.


We never want to take advantage of our patients.

That’s why we:

  • Tell people a ballpark of how much permanent relief we can expect (25%, 50%, 75%, or 100%) so they can make an educated decision whether to spend their money or not. We don’t want to over-promise.
  • Have a refund policy to give our patients back their investment if care isn’t going the way they or our doctors expect.
  • Look people in the eye, creating a space for listening, to have an open-hearted conversation about how they are suffering.
  • Hug our patients.

The truth is, there are a lot of people in chronic pain who we CAN’T help.

I believe it’s this compassion and tenderness that causes people to stop coming to our office without bitterness.

We can’t fix everybody.

But we can look people in the eye and let them know:

We see you. We understand you’re suffering. We can’t take away your chronic pain, but we’ll do whatever we can to make your life better.

On my deathbed …

… I want to know I gave life my all.

I want to be remembered for relieving people’s suffering.

When pain, sadness, and depression are weighing someone down, Barefoot Rehab will continue to be the clinic that does whatever it can to serve our people with open hearts.

Not everyone wants doctors who post naked pictures of themselves on social media.

Only people who want to heal at the deepest levels of their being.

What LESSON from my 10 years of chiropractic practice is most interesting to you? And why? Tell us about it below.

Share this!

Dr. Chris Stepien, DC, Full-Body ID Certified, ART Certified, CSCS, and CrossFit Level 1 Certified, fixes your annoying and frustrating pains, even when it's been over 6 months and you've seen 3-5 other doctors or therapists without lasting relief Barefoot Rehab in Denville, NJ. And when you're sad, depressed, or not enjoying life, Dr. Chris wants to hug you. He invites you to reach out, no matter what your concern is. Barefoot Rehab is here to serve you.
Gravatar Image
No Comments

Post A Comment