Interview with White Plains, NY Chiropractor
Dr. Sheldon C. Delman
by Miranda Culp
Q: Is what I read on your bio correct? Your Chiropractic practice began in White Plains in 1964?
A: That’s right. Back then, many people didn’t fully understand what Chiropractors did. There were only a handful of us in all of Westchester County.
Q: I guess healthcare was much different back then.
A: Oh yeah! Besides lower costs, we didn’t have to deal with the insurance and the mountain of paperwork --
A: Sure, people still made housecalls. Different world.
Q: What about the treatment itself? How has that changed?
A: I’ve always looked at Chiropractic as an art as well as a science, and of course it has changed and grown over my fifty-odd years in practice. I got my training from Dr. Clarence Gonstead, who refined and perfected Chiropractic; he is still considered a giant in the field to this day. I continued to receive training from him until his death in the late 1970’s, and have gone on to participate in educational seminars and workshops for over thirty years after that.
I like to think I have accrued the ideal blend of experience as well as gaining new insights and breakthroughs. I’ve developed new treatments; like for instance I have had a lot of success in correcting some forms of scoliosis, healing tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, and other similar complaints.
Q: So... If my math is correct, you have been working for 55 years! Ever think of retiring?
A: What’s that saying: “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in you life”? I fell in love with this work ever since I discovered it, and have looked forward to going to the office right from the very start. I’ve maybe slowed down a bit, cut back my days and can take more vacations to travel... but actually retire... no way!
Q: This might be a delicate question, but... You must be in your 80’s... do you still have the physical strength to move bones around?
A: Well, actually, that’s a common misunderstanding: it doesn’t require much physical strength to do an adjustment. What really matters is analyzing what’s wrong, then knowing how to gently guide the body into the correct position. I think we’ve all had that experience where we might have moved the wrong way while getting up and suddenly felt a little twinge in the back, or leg, or hip. Doesn’t take much physical impact to create a chiropractic problem, and it doesn’t take much force to fix that problem.
Q: Actually, I remember a time when my daughter was small, she was holding my hand about to cross the street and she stopped walking and I didn’t, so I gave her a little tug and she suddenly started screaming that her arm hurt. She couldn’t even bend it!
A: A radial head subluxation... very common, often called “nursemaid’s elbow.”
Q: I felt terrible! I didn’t pull her arm with any energy, it just sort of barely twisted. I took her, screaming and crying, to the doctor. He popped it back in place like it was nothing.
A: Doesn’t take much force to dislocate a child’s elbow. Probably a good example of how little force it takes to adjust someone, too.
Q: How do your patients find you?
A: A lot come from word of mouth, from friends or family of existing patients. In the old days, some people would find us in the yellow pages, now everything is through the web. The internet has a downside too; sometimes people go online to health sites and then try to diagnose themselves. They don’t realize that the symptom and the actual cause may be two different things. When you correct the cause, the symptoms get better too.
Q: So you treat the cause, not the symptom.
A: Handle the cause, my patients don’t have to keep coming back for the same issues, week after week.
Q: Are you teaching now, sharing what you’ve learned?
A: If someone asks. My first love is helping people. I expect I’ll be able to practice through my 90s! Maybe after I hit 100, I’ll cut back my hours to just one day a week. I figure I’ll decide then.
Miranda Culp is a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter who also teaches trauma-informed yoga. She lives in Sacramento, California and conducted her interview with Dr. Delman via video chat. It was edited for length and clarity.