Have you ever experienced vertigo? A few months ago whenever I would exercise, stand up too quickly, or even roll over in bed it felt like the world was spinning. After losing my balance a few times and feeling nauseous, I went to my doctor who gave me a prescription medication for motion sickness. 

I did some research and learned that balance problems can be caused by spinal misalignment so I sought out the help of chiropractor Dr. Tyler Van Steenbergen. You may remember Dr. Van Steenbergen from the space above Leslie Eckstein’s fitness center in the former firehouse in Lakeville, CT. When the building was sold, Dr. Van Steenbergen moved his practice to Millerton, NY, where he, along with his wife Emily, also have a wellness store. 

I had been in their wellness store a few times to buy some of the thoughtfully curated high-quality vitamins, kombucha, organic dark chocolate, and even some picturesque stationery. I always felt confident in my purchases, knowing that not only were the products of the highest quality, but also that they were products Dr. Van Steenbergen and Emily had carefully researched, believed in, and used themselves. 

Getting an adjustment

I made an appointment with Dr. Van Steenbergen for a chiropractic consultation and adjustment. After a thorough intake of my health history and areas of concern, I laid down on the table, where the doctor took his time to gently manipulate my spine and adjust me. He then used a cold laser on my neck and jaw to bring down inflammation. I left feeling calm and hopeful. A few hours later, I noticed a mild earache in my right ear and what felt like fluid draining inside. The next morning the earache was gone and my vertigo was greatly reduced. Two treatments later and the vertigo was completely gone. 

Suffice it to say, after that experience, I am an advocate for chiropractic medicine and Dr. Van Steenbergen in particular. Dr. Van Steenbergen takes a holistic approach to medicine and on subsequent visits has shown me how to incorporate simple exercises into my daily fitness routine to support the overall structural health of my body. I had a chance to sit down with him recently to talk about his practice, his approach to health, and his love for the Hudson Valley.

Tell us about your background and why you first became interested in chiropractic medicine.

I grew up in Litchfield County, CT, and was always very interested in sports and athletic performance. When I was a teenager I suffered from severe seasonal allergies and began taking over-the-counter medications that my doctor suggested. After several weeks on the medications, I still had headaches and sinus issues. During this time I ran into my friend’s father who was a chiropractor, and he recommended that I get adjusted and take certain supplements. I initially denied his offer to adjust me and continued to suffer from allergies. 

Finally one day, I had enough of all my sneezing and sinus congestion and decided to give chiropractic care a try. He did a very comprehensive spinal exam and explained to me that my symptoms were coming from my spine. After his report of findings he adjusted my spine, and I remember immediately feeling my sinuses drain and my headache disappear. He then gave me bioflavonoids to help in reducing my histamine levels. I immediately stopped with the over-the-counter medications and began taking the supplements with regular chiropractic care. 

After getting treatments, I began to see that the adjustments were significantly helping with my athletic performance as well. Chiropractic care is so effective at increasing athletic performance and reducing risks of injury that over 90% of professional and Olympic-class athletes use chiropractic care regularly.

What is chiropractic medicine?

Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. These disorders include, but are not limited to: back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches. Doctors of Chiropractic practice a conservative approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis, and treatment. DCs have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, lifestyle, and dietary counseling.

Chiropractic care acts as a “first line of defense against pain.” The essential services provided by chiropractors represent a primary approach for the prevention, diagnosis and conservative management of back pain and spinal disorders. It can often enable patients to reduce or avoid the need for riskier treatments such as prescription opioid pain medications and surgery.

That said, you don’t have to be in pain to see a chiropractor. When you focus on spinal alignment you are getting deep healing throughout your entire nervous system. 

I have also integrated the perfect adjunctive tool for chiropractic treatments and myofascial releases into my treatments, Erchonia lasers. They hold 22 of the 26 total FDA clinical trial clearances; the most of any company. Clinical applications of the cold laser are used for acute and chronic pain reduction, inflammation reduction, enhanced tissue healing, and cell regeneration. The results have shown very rapid pain reduction and accelerated recovery times, far exceeding conventional methods.

Laser therapy aims to photo-biostimulate chemically damaged cells via specific wavelengths of light. When cells are chemically damaged they stimulate the pain cycle. Laser excites the kinetic energy within cells by transmitting healing stimuli known as photons. Once photons reach the cells of the body, they promote a cascade of cellular activities. Laser light therapy can ignite the production of enzymes, stimulate mitochondria, increase vasodilation and lymphatic drainage, ATP synthesis, and elevate collagen formation substances to prevent the formation of scar tissues. This is a critical step in reducing long-term disabling chronic myofascial pain syndromes. Simply stated, laser therapy enables patients to get out of pain faster and heal at the same time.

What is your philosophy of and approach to healing?

Start with yourself. Look at what you are consuming both physically as well as mentally. We need to move well, eat well, and be conscious of everything we are taking in from the world around us. If you have pain, you should be going with conservative treatment first. Stay consistent with therapy and stay persistent with exercise and nutrition. 

I hear all the time that people don’t have the time to take care of themselves. I’m not going to force you to exercise, but it truly is a necessity for you to move your body. There is no drug, no surgery, no supplement out there that could ever replace what movement and good diet can do for your body. Thomas Edison said it best, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” 

What do you and your wife Emily love the most about the Hudson Valley?

My wife and I absolutely love living in this area. We enjoy going for hikes on some of the most spectacular hiking trails around. We also love going to the local farmers markets, shopping at local farm stands, and going fruit picking. 

General Information

The first visit with Dr. Van Steenbergen lasts around 40 minutes during which patients are taken through a comprehensive exam that covers everything from areas of concern to diet to exercise habits. After the exam, Dr. Van Steenbergen performs hands-on chiropractic care where he may utilize decompression therapy, myofascial release, joint manipulation, and cold laser therapy. •

Relief Chiropractic Wellness is located at 64 Center Street in Millerton, NY, and is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. You can learn more about Dr. Van Steenbergen and book an appointment at drvan.co/

*Disclaimer: All medical claims made in this article are information provided by the subject. The information is general in nature and not specifically meant for any particular individual. You should always seek out medical assistance from a medical professional based on your individual needs and circumstances.