Dr. Charlie Ginsburg began clinical practice in Rockville 18 years ago. He treats neck, back, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, hip, knee, ankle and foot pain and problems. He also sees people for headaches, dizziness and TMJ problems. He commonly sees people for sports, auto and work injuries, treating new injuries as well as chronic problems including arthritic and disc pain.
He is licensed in Maryland as a chiropractor with physical therapy privileges, and commonly uses a wide range of techniques, including classic chiropractic adjusting, deep tissue work, mobilization and manipulation, flexion distraction, mechanical cervical and lumbar traction (decompression), facilitated stretching, kinesiotape, and other physical therapy modalities. He has a special interest in ergonomics and home exercise programs as well.
He is a graduate of the National College of Chiropractic as well as having a biology degree from Vassar College. Prior to his clinical work, he worked for eight years in research on biochemistry of connective tissue, spending six years working towards a PhD in biochemistry at the Boston University School of Medicine. He completed the course work and years of research before deciding he wanted to spend his life directly helping people with pain. He enjoys cooking, science, hiking and martial arts.
So, why did you become a chiropractor?
I'm often asked, "How did you become a chiropractor?". There's a short answer: I think chiropractic combined with physical therapy offers a variety of non-invasive, effective and safe ways to help people have less pain and problems in life. But there's a bit of a story to how I got here. People often ask me in the middle of treating them, and while I like to answer questions honestly and completely, if I do so then, I'm taking up their time with my story, which feels self-indulgent. Time with a patient should be all about their story. So I thought I'd put it here, on my site, if people were interested.
When I was five or so, "Story-teller" was my first answer to the question of what occupation I'd have in life. I liked listening to stories, was obsessed with books, and wanted to be a part of the process. I also had a strong interest in nature, in how the natural world worked, and that brought me into science. Graduated with an undergraduate degree in biology, and after graduation, first worked as a lab technician, then entered a PhD program in biochemistry. Going into it, I felt being part of the process of helping humanity understand the basic building blocks of people's bodies would be a worthwhile way to spend one's life, in that it would be both interesting and helpful.
Graduate school in biochemistry is hard. I enjoyed understanding the complicated processes, and I don't regret learning what I did. It was a lot of time, and long hours focused on a single gene, one of 20,000 that codes for a person. How they work, how they differ, how they can turn on and off, how they can be effected by environment, or medicine can be an incredibly involved story, and a scientist can spend their entire career on a single gene. Understanding each part of that story is important, and may make life better and easier for the species, but, as it turns out, my heart wasn't in becoming that kind of story teller. I have respect, affection and sympathy for anyone working in science, but it wasn't something I could spend my whole life doing.
I had a kind advisor, and while she expected a fair amount of work from us, as all advisors do, she also cared about us as humans. One piece of her advice that I took to heart was to keep up with exercise, even when it felt like there was no time. Graduate school culture prioritized getting work done above all else, but she emphasized that we'd be more effective and happier in life if we invested some time in moving. I don't know if she said this based on clinical research, or personal experience (she was a runner), but the research literature supports her view. I'd started doing martial arts in college, and had really enjoyed it. There was a class in my style nearby, with good teachers, and it was enormously helpful in becoming a healthier active person. Through a friend in that class, I found out about a women's self-defense class that needed teachers. It's a class that's team taught by men and women, the woman is the primary teacher/coach, the men spend part of the time as coach, but also put on about fifty pounds of padded armor so that the women learning to fight back can hit someone without worrying about hurting them. Many of the women taking the class were survivors, of assault, sexual assault, or childhood abuse. The program was led by a psychotherapist, and while we emphasized that it wasn't "therapy", it was therapeutic for many people. It was revealing to me, as I'd really had no understanding of how much pain and trauma many folks are dealing with on a daily basis. Many people who went through the course told me it was tremendously helpful in their process of healing.
Being a padded assailant was essentially a part-time job, and it's not typically something that one can do for years and years. But I felt it was important to be a sympathetic ear and to help people get past part of their hardship.
In doing years of rigorous martial arts, I developed a knee injury. I'd tried resting it until it healed, but the pain kept recurring. I went to the campus clinic, and the advice I received was to take ibuprofen and rest, or even give up martial arts. One doctor told me to do tennis instead of martial arts. In general, I was talked down to. At some point, they would ask what I was going to school for. I'd tell them I was a PhD candidate in biochemistry at the medical school, and they would get very quiet and be more careful in how they answered. After a few visits, with little improvement, I went to a chiropractor recommended by friends in the self-defense program. When I went to him, he spent a good deal of time explaining the anatomy of the structures involved, what was the likely problem, and treatment was directed specifically on those structures. He didn't know me well, but he listened to me and sized me up well enough to say "Well, if I told you to give up martial arts, you won't, so here's what I'd recommend doing to get back into it and not hurt yourself." I did what he said, did stretches/exercises specific for that area, and recovered. I still, 25 years later, do that style of martial arts.
I decided to change my path in life. Helping people as my chiropractor had helped me became my life's goal. I left graduate school, and spent the next three and half years at the National College of Chiropractic, getting my degree. I've been in practice for 18 years now, and really enjoy what I do. I get to meet a lot of interesting people with interesting problems, and I get to help make their lives better, with less pain and more joy. I realized recently that five year old me had it completely backwards. My day job is not to tell stories, but to listen to them. Now that you've indulged me by reading to the end of my story, I'd very much like for you to come by some time and tell me yours, and I'll see if I can help.
Dr. Charlie Ginsburg, Chiropractor with physical therapy privileges
12401 Middlebrook Road