By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Peter Holt hears stories daily about The Joint’s ability to lessen the effects of pandemic stress on the body.
The quarantine forced workers to telecommute and, sometimes, use less-than-ideal office furniture that causes tension in the shoulders, necks and backs.
“Ergonomically correct chairs are gone,” says Holt, The Joint’s president and chief executive officer. “We’re sitting hunched over our computers. The stress people are under is really unprecedented.”
The Scottsdale Airpark-based company felt its services were essential and stayed open during the quarantine to make people as comfortable as possible.
“We will be open wherever and whenever possible,” Holt says. “If we had any doctors or franchises who thought it was in their best interest to close, we fully supported that.”
By staying open during the pandemic, The Joint kept patients with back and neck pain, and other assorted aches, out of emergency rooms.
“We relieved some of that pressure on the health care system,” Holt says. “We allowed them to treat COVID-19 patients. We’re on the front line and truly helping our patients, and helping this country battle this pandemic.”
The Joint is adhering to all CDC guidelines. The staff removed all the nonessential items where viruses can collect. They sanitize between patients and wear gloves and masks.
“Certain adjustments we’re not doing because there’s greater exposure,” Holt says. “A lot of these rules are governed by state or local municipalities. We ask the standard questions like if you had exposure to COVID-19, The clinics are checking temperatures. Chiropractors are medical doctors, so it’s always in a medical setting.”
The Joint was founded in Tucson in 1999 by chiropractor Fred Garretson, who had a vision of bringing chiropractic care to the masses. He wanted to try it in a retail setting, where it’s inexpensive and the procedures are cash only, without insurance interference.
“He was unbelievably successful,” Holt says. “But he didn’t really understand the franchise model very well. Fast forward to 2010 when The Joint Corporation was refounded with the acquisition of the original eight franchised clinics.”
The owners found the clinics “so darn profitable,” Holt says, that the company added a portfolio of corporate clinics. As of June, The Joint has 530 clinics in 34 states.
“I think we’re playing an instrumental role in helping patients across this country,” Holt says. “We need to alleviate strains now more than ever.”
Holt is a baby boomer, and he recalls when he was younger, people considered chiropractors “quacks. It was voodoo medicine.”
“That is profoundly changing,” he says. “If you look at our patient base, 39% are millennials, 34% are Generation X, 19% are baby boomers like me. It’s really the young people who are looking for more natural, holistic ways to get out of pain. To me, it’s so interesting.
“It’s a $15 billion industry, and it’s dominated by independent practitioners. There are 40,000 chiropractors operating in the United States today. What we’re doing is putting it into a retail center and making it convenient, affordable and accessible.”
Last year, The Joint saw 585,000 patients come through the doors for the first time. Of that 585,000, 26% had never seen a chiropractor before.
“To me, that just shows you the power of bringing it into a retail setting,” he says. “You can access it and feel comfortable trying it in a professional setting. We’re improving sanitization and cleanliness. Most of our patients are members. They come in three to four times a month.”
The Joint’s membership plans and packages eliminate the need for insurance, and its no-appointment policy, convenient hours and locations make care more accessible.
Wellness plans are $69 a month for up to four visits for adults. Additional visits are $10. Those who are unable to commit to regular visits can pay $189 for six visits; $269 for 10; or $429 for 20 per year. The typical exam is 20 minutes, with 3 to 5 minutes for the adjustment.
Holt cites a recent study that showed 30% of those who have never been to a chiropractor are scared. Holt and The Joint do their best to combat that.
“We’re really out there educating consumers about the power and efficacy of chiropractic clinics,” he says. “It’s amazing how effective it is. If you were to go to one of our clinics pre-COVID and sit in that clinic for a day and watch people come in with pain and walk out out of pain over and over again, you would see it works. You would profoundly see the power and efficacy of it.”