Faces of the Boom: Rehabilitation on wheels; Chiropractor follows patients to the Oil Patch
TIOGA -- After Las Vegas chiropractor Stephen Alexander had 65 patients relocate to North Dakota, it wasn't long before his phone started ringing. The men who moved to northwest North Dakota to work in the Oil Patch struggled to find chiropractor...
TIOGA -- After Las Vegas chiropractor Stephen Alexander had 65 patients relocate to North Dakota, it wasn't long before his phone started ringing.
The men who moved to northwest North Dakota to work in the Oil Patch struggled to find chiropractors available and called "Dr. Steve" for help.
"The area's been so overrun with so many men, there's not enough practitioners up here to serve those needs," Alexander said.
Alexander, 43, who practiced for 12 years as a chiropractic physician in Las Vegas, decided to develop a chiropractic rehab clinic on wheels. He invested $200,000 in a 57-foot RV that is customized with a digital X-ray machine, examination room and other technology.
Alexander has been working in North Dakota full time since last October, primarily serving residents of the Target Logistics crew camps in Tioga, Williston, Watford City and Dickinson.
He parks his MaxHealth Mobile unit in the camp parking lots and takes appointments as early as 6:30 a.m. and as late as 11:30 p.m. to accommodate the workers' long hours and different work shifts.
Alexander also provides on-site care for employees of energy service companies. He estimates he's seen more than 2,000 patients from more than 40 states since October.
Many men have told Alexander that they would postpone seeking treatment because it was too difficult for them to take time off from work to drive to the closest town for an appointment.
"I've come across quite a few men living off a bottle of aspirin a week. That's just not a lifestyle," he said. "That's a chronic, chemical Band-Aid, and I'm here to help."
Alexander said he's seen a significant number of men who have had surgeries before or who have herniated discs or other complex conditions.
"There's a lot of men with bolts and rods and they're out here working 13 hours a day," Alexander said. "Some of these men, I'm in awe of because I can't believe they get up every morning."
In addition to chiropractic evaluation and treatment, Alexander performs drug testing, offers massage rehab and provides health exams for truck drivers who need to renew their commercial driver's licenses.
Alexander plans to bring additional doctors to North Dakota and eventually expects to have four or five mobile clinics to serve the workers.
"This is a very satisfying professional pursuit to be at the right place at the right time and be needed," Alexander said.
Alexander doesn't have a website up yet but can be reached at (702) 630-1055 or firstname.lastname@example.org .