Robert Renner is 89 years old, but you wouldn’t know that by talking to him. Nor would you know he spent his early years suffering from debilitating epilepsy, causing him to regularly suffer grand mal seizures—the worst kind which typically leave a person unconscious with uncontrollable muscle contractions.
In 1947, Renner's friends noticed a sign for chiropractic services that mentioned help with neurological problems. They spoke with the doctor who referred them to the Palmer Chiropractic Clinic in Davenport, Iowa. Renner’s grandfather paid $1,500 to send him to the clinic from his hometown in the far northern reaches of North Dakota.
He hasn’t had a single seizure since.
“After 11 years of epilepsy, I was at the clinic for four weeks in October of 1947,” said Renner. “I had attacks usually three times a week; I’d chewed my tongue so bad I could only eat cold soup. At the clinic they took x-rays of my back and spine three times a day to see my improvement. When I left, they showed me the first x-ray and where the problem was in my first vertebrae, and how it improved each day. And I haven’t had any signs of epilepsy since.”
Renner credits that initial visit and regular chiropractic visits for his good health. Not only does he live free of the seizures that so affected his youth, he also says he hasn’t had a headache in 40 years. He retired from the insurance business in 1987, and aside from some occasional aches in his legs, Renner says he feels the same as a person half his age.
“Chiropractic work saved my life,” he said. “Over the years as I’ve moved around, I’ve had 13 or 14 different doctors. It’s marvelous what they can do for people.”
Though typically thought of as a procedure to help with back or neck problems, chiropractic care is becoming known for helping people like Renner who suffer from a variety of ailments.
“The nervous system controls 100 percent of our body’s functions, from hair growth to toenails,” said Stephen Gullikson, a chiropractor at the Black Hills Health & Wellness Center in Rapid City. “My job is to remove interference from the nervous system, so when you do that with the adjustments we do through chiropractic care, many types of symptoms that people come in with are helped along the way.”
Gullikson said he sees children for help with things not typically associated with chiropractic care, such as earaches or tonsillitis. For adults, problems like headaches, heartburn, dizziness, and even diabetes are all things he’s seen helped through chiropractic care. He does point out that people are different, and it’s not uncommon to see different results from person to person.
“If the nervous system has interference because of a misalignment of the back compressing a nerve, problems can arise wherever that nerve goes,” he said. “So when I work with patients, I can see many different results on things they might not have even told me about. My goal is really to help people get well without drugs or surgery.”
As for Renner, he happily visits Gullikson every six weeks and has no plans to stop.
“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the doctors that have helped me, and the Lord guiding me,” he said.