Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Chiropractor opens office on Main Street


Chris Thorgesen says he’s interested in tailoring his chiropractic business to community needs.

Thorgesen operated a chiropractic day spa salon in Salida, Colo., for 12 years before moving his family here and opening an office at Third Avenue and Main Street in mid-December. He recently hired a local massage therapist to broaden his offerings.

“We’ll keep adding things as we go, and we’ll see what the people of Haines need or what they want,” Thorgesen said this week.

He says he has heard the history of the chiropractors who’ve come and gone over the years. “People filled us in on all the other chiropractors. I knew all their names before I knew anyone else’s.”

Thorgesen made multiple trips to Alaska on a “demographic search” in the past two years and considered Valdez, Kodiak, Bethel and Delta Junction before deciding to relocate here. Besides the fact that the town didn’t have a practicing chiropractor, a family atmosphere and the town’s coastal mountains attracted him, he said.

“It didn’t feel like home until we got here. I called my wife and said, ‘I already bought a house,’” he said. He said he wanted to come to Alaska to “get out of the Lower 48 craziness.”

Thorgesen was drawn into chiropractic work when he was a college biology student and his wife Amy was seeing a chiropractor for scoliosis. “Instead of sending her to the chiropractor all the time I figured I’d treat her myself and I started on this path.”

Thorgesen holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Southern Colorado and a doctorate from Cleveland Chiropractic College in Kansas City, Mo. He describes his style of chiropractic care as “diversified,” involving a lot of physio-therapy and physical therapies, including electronic muscle stimulation and vibrio therapy.

“The typical thing people think of is chiropractors treat back and neck pain. It’s really any muscular-skeletal issues,” including maladies like tension headaches, joint pains, and injuries from falls and accidents, he said. This time of year he’s seeing injuries related to snow shoveling and falls on ice.

“We use massage therapists to loosen muscles. If required, we adjust a person’s spine to get joints moving again and give them exercises and therapy to take home,” Thorgesen said. “We work to people’s tolerance levels. Everybody’s different. Some people want a lot of force. Some want just a little. We don’t have to adjust everybody who comes in. Sometimes, physio-therapy or massage is enough, or we refer them to somebody else.”

Thorgesen and wife Amy grew up in Salida, a ranching and mining town transitioning to an arts and tourism community. His customers there included artists who spent a lot of time sitting. “People have different aches and pains. We try to work with people individually to help them create a happier and healthier lifestyle.”

Thorgesen’s office is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and closed daily from noon to 2 p.m.