Today's Chiropractic - Profiles in Chiropractic : july august 2004

Profiles in Chiropractic

Walter “Vern” Pierce, D.C.
A Man All About Results

By Pattie Stechschulte

In the early 1950s, a young Walter “Vern” Pierce, D.C., was working as a corpsman in the U.S. Navy at Guantamono Bay, Cuba. Besides performing his standard duties of emergency procedures and caring for his fellow soldiers, he also helped out with autopsies.

“It taught him a lot about the human body,” said his son, Dr. Vernon Pierce Jr. “He wanted to help people but he did not like the medical philosophy. Since his uncle was a chiropractor, he decided to look into it.”

Dr. Pierce graduated from Palmer College in 1955 and returned to his hometown in Dravosburg, Penn., to start a practice. Through the next five decades, he dedicated his life to finding a better way to get results for his patients, leading him to develop new methods, techniques and equipment that changed the way thousands of chiropractors analyzed and adjusted their patients.

Finding a Better Way

“When my dad got out of chiropractic school, he was strictly upper cervical, then he learned Logan Basic at a seminar,” explained Dr. Pierce. “He took care of a little boy who was very sick. My dad adjusted his atlas then he adjusted his axis, but he was still sick. He didn’t know what else to do, so he tried the Logan basic and the kid calmed down.”

“Chiropractic just wasn’t his profession, it was his life. He strived to find better, efficient ways to locate the subluxation and the correction of the subluxation,” Pierce added.

Using his interest in the human body, he continued to evolve his chiropractic technique to help his patients.

Pierce went on to explain that his father realized that when somebody had a total reversal of the curve and he would adjust their C5, he would get fantastic changes almost immediately on some people. On other people he wouldn’t get the fantastic changes.

“He started studying the spine in motion and he discovered that C5 is not always the problem, sometimes it may be C4, C6 or other problems in the cervical spine,” described Pierce. He worked with a company to develop motion X-rays where he would gather a set of 40 views in order to see the patient’s spine in motion—it was known as videoflouroscopy.

“He was adamant that he did not have a technique, he had a system,” said Dr. Robert Keeler, who worked with Pierce for over 10 years. “It was a results system. He incorporated a lot of insight from different chiropractors and difference sources, but his coordinating it all into a system had to do with the reasoning and rationale for his rhyme and reason of knowing when to adjust and when not to adjust. He always knew what he was doing when he would adjust somebody. If there was any doubt, he waited. That is why he always got the results that he did.”

The Humanitarian and Educator

“Dr. Pierce sent me to chiropractic school,” said Keeler. After learning that his own chiropractor had not arranged his admission into Palmer as he promised, Keeler went to see another local chiropractor, Dr. Pierce, who was a stranger, to ask for help. Upon hearing his story, he immediately contacted the admission director at Palmer but could not secure his admission. Instead, he arranged for his enrollment into Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic.

After graduating, Keeler practiced about 45 minutes away from Dr. Pierce’s office, but he spent every Tuesday afternoon to work with him on different projects.

“On a professional level, Dr. Pierce was uncompromising, brilliant and existing on a different intellectual plane,” described Jeffrey Hunt, D.C., another Pennsylvania chiropractor who was greatly influenced by Pierce. “His objective was not centered around himself or the promotion of his system, but rather the greater good of the patient.”

“Other chiropractors use to complain that his technique was always changing. Yes it changed. Because it developed,” said Pierce. “He would always tell me, if you have a rhyme or reason for doing something, you never get yourself in trouble, you have to have a reason for doing it. What drove him was getting sick people well—results.”

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