Rural chiropractor serves small town in collaboration with physicians

Gregory Howard has been a chiropractor in Frederick, a southwestern Oklahoma town of about 4,000, for the past 18 years.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Modified: September 2, 2013 at 10:00 pm •  Published: September 2, 2013

Gregory Howard didn't quite make it to Fredericksburg, Va.

He and his wife had lived in the Virginia town of 24,000, and they liked it.

And it was on the list of places that Howard was thinking of opening his chiropractic practice.

But while he was in his last year of chiropractic school in Dallas, his father-in-law, Altus chiropractor Carl Reed, made a suggestion.

“He said, ‘You know, you all are talking about moving back to the East Coast, but why don't you drive through Frederick on your way back to Dallas? You might just like that town, and you'd have patients right away.'”

It turns out Reed was right.

Howard has been a chiropractor in Frederick, a southwestern Oklahoma town of about 4,000, for the past 18 years.

He's among many chiropractors who choose to open their practices in rural Oklahoma.

Of about 830 actively practicing chiropractors in Oklahoma, about 300 of them have home addresses or practices outside the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas and suburbs, according to data from the Oklahoma Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Specific data about chiropractors who work in rural Oklahoma was not available.

Meanwhile, many parts of rural Oklahoma face substantial shortages of medical doctors and doctors of osteopathic medicine.

Oklahoma has 67 medically underserved areas that include a county or group of adjoining counties or pieces of a county where residents have a shortage of personal health services.

Frederick sits on the western side of Tillman County, one of those medically underserved areas.

About 30 percent of adult residents in southwestern Oklahoma are obese. The region has the third-highest obesity rate, behind northwestern Oklahoma at 32 percent and southeastern Oklahoma at 32 percent.

Howard sees patients who need help controlling their weight, and he often helps them work through how they can live a healthier lifestyle.

He had a year of training in nutrition while in chiropractor school and has taken classes and researched to educate himself about how to best guide his patients.

Even though some patients only come once or twice, chiropractors typically see their patients multiple times over a number of weeks. This allows them multiple opportunities to discuss health and diet, Howard said. Medical doctors might not have the same opportunities, for their patients generally come in on a less regular basis, he said.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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