McCarter brings new chiropractic procedures
PARKERSBURG — For over 40 years, Dr. Joseph McCarter of the McCarter Health Center in Parkersburg has continued to bring new procedures to his practice for the benefit of his patients.
The Tucson native had a brief stint in the NFL as a quarterback for the Denver Broncos then he entered Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa in 1973 and graduated in June 1977. When he was with the Broncos, he noticed how in demand the chiropractor was with the players. He ended up being fascinated with what the man was able to do. Once he left professional football he decided to pursue it as his career.
McCarter moved to Parkersburg and opened McCarter Chiropractic on 36th Street in the fall of 1977, not knowing anyone in Parkersburg at the time.
He has evolved his practice to primarily perform Class IV Cold Laser Therapy on injured athletes, auto accident injuries, post surgical/presurgical arthritic conditions and diabetic neuropathy, said Dr. Heather McCarter, his daughter who has practiced with him since 1999.
He works with amputees and diabetics with a passion since he lost his right lower leg in 2014, she added. His son, Justin, joined the practice in 2009.
“We offer a lot of different approaches here to get people well,” he said.
When he first came here, Dr. Joseph McCarter said, he came from a background of many people from the West who did not know much about Virginia, let alone that there was a West Virginia.
“I didn’t have any of those preconceived ‘hillbilly’ notions,” he said. “I was just really impressed with the people here.”
The people who brought him to the state showed him a number of cities in the state of various sizes; however, he kept gravitating back toward Parkersburg.
“There was a need for us here,” he said. “The population of Parkersburg in 1977 was about the same as it is now.
“I was the seventh chiropractor in the area and there were three who were above retirement age. Now, there are over 30 here and I’m the oldest one.”
Since coming here, McCarter has become involved in the community joining the Jaycees and the Rotary Club as well as serving on the Parks and Recreation Board and the Parkersburg Country Club Board of Directors. He also became active in the West Virginia Chiropractic Society. For over 20 years, he held every position on the board at one time or another, including two terms as president.
In 1992, he was appointed to the West Virginia Board of Chiropractic Examiners by Gov. Gaston Caperton, Gov. Cecil Underwood in 1997 and Gov. Bob Wise in 2001.
“I served as chairman from 1996 until 2003 when my terms were exhausted,” McCarter said. “During my second term the Board wrote a new Chiropractic Practices Act which passed in 1999 with only one dissenting vote in both the (West Virginia) House and Senate.
“In 1998 I was appointed by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners to be the chief examiner for their Part IV Examination for the Southeast United States, a position I held until I resigned in 2017.”
The Chiropractic Practices Act required chiropractors to have so many hours of training (over 800) to manipulate as well as other requirements such as increasing continuing education.
The act also addressed personal boundaries and relationships. The law became a model for other states.
McCarter has received awards from the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, including the Primus Inter Pares (“First Among Piers”), the Strength And Courage Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award. He was named Chiropractor of the Year three times by the state Chiropractors Association.
The McCarters moved their practice to 4315 Emerson Ave. in 2003 to expand into the multidisciplinary treatment facility that they envisioned.
“We are the only alternative treatment facility in the region offering chiropractic, physical therapy, cold laser therapy, nutritional counseling and treatment, massage therapy, CBD, and The Cupboard vitamin and supplement store in one place,” McCarter said. “I have experienced many changes in the field of conservative health care over the past 42 years.
“The most dramatic innovation was the introduction of The High Powered Cold Laser about 12 years ago.”
Class IV therapeutic lasers deliver specific red and near-infrared wavelengths of laser light to induce a photochemical reaction and therapeutic effect, he said. Physiological effects include increased circulation, reduced inflammation, pain reduction and enhanced tissue healing, he said.
The process has been widely used in the U.S. since being approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2005.
A painless light therapy that combats any inflammatory process that your body may be experiencing as a result of sports injuries, soft tissue injuries, auto accident injuries, chronic joint pain and diabetic neuropathy, McCarter said.
“Up to 80 percent of patients have reduced pain of these symptoms with the penetrating healing effects of cold laser therapy,” McCarter said. “We have been treating our patients with Class IV cold laser for the past 10 years in order to expedite and promote healing at the cell level.
“I currently specialize in cold laser therapy at McCarter Health Center and enjoy watching patients heal with chronic pain patterns and health conditions. If other treatments have failed, I encourage a cold laser trial. It is an amazing machine.”
He has undergone the procedure himself. He also said many professional sports organizations are using such machines on their players.
“As an amputee, a diabetic, and a spine surgery patient I understand and experience the same benefits as you do when being treated with cold laser,” he said. “It has been an amazing modality for so many people, including me.
“It gives patients their life back with more joint motion, less pain, and improved healing rates by increasing blood supply and reducing inflammation to affected sites. It is amazing what they do in the healing process.”
Heather and Justin have taken over the bulk of his patients in the last few years, but Joseph McCarter still works when he wants, seeing around a dozen patients a day doing the laser therapy. He has been treated for cancer and people thought he had passed away or was retired, he said.
“I probably would go nuts if I ever retired,” he said. “I enjoy working with patients and helping them when all other treatments have failed.
“Chiropractic has provided me a lifetime of giving and providing healing conditions for my patients.”
Brett Dunlap can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org