By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
The staff at Preferred Choice Chiropractic in Little Falls welcomed Dr. Tawnee Croteau to its group of doctors in May. Recently graduated from Northwestern Chiropractic School in Bloomington, Croteau said she is loving Little Falls.
“It’s a cute town. While it’s bigger than Biwabik where I grew up, it has that hometown feeling,” she said.
Croteau became a chiropractor because of an experience while a teenager.
“I was a long-distance swimmer in 8th grade and was having back pains. The doctor said it was just spasms and gave me medications for the pain,” she said. “But, I didn’t want to take pain medications, so I went to a chiropractor who told me my L-5 vertebra was fused to my sacrum.”
Long story short, the chiropractor helped her out and she was sold on the idea of going to school for just that.
Croteau attended St. Scholastica College in Duluth for her under-graduate studies, then Northwestern. She graduated in November 2013.
With her new patients, she begins with a consultation to learn all she can about them and their individual problems. She wants to know how each one sleeps, their nutritional habits, their digestion woes, what they do for a living and what they do for recreation. This will give her a picture of the whole person.
Then she does an examination. She learns about their muscle and nerve functions, how they move and walk, how they rise from a chair, their pain level and attitude and then find out through orthopedic testing, where the problem is stemming from.
“I then try to education each patient on what I think is wrong and how they should fix the problem,” Croteau said.
Croteau’s specialty is women, children and pain management.
“People don’t know that chiropractors are able to help children,” she said. “Birth is physically stressful on a baby’s spine. I want to ensure the spine is in alignment because if not, the spine won’t properly develop.”
Croteau advocates all children have their spine checked within two months of their birth.
With women, she finds they are more likely to seek care immediately when they feel they are having a problem.
“By educating women on spinal health, they will convince the men in their lives to also seek care,” she said.
Pain management is also a specialty of Croteau’s. Preferred Choice Chiropractic is associated with Phenominal Rehabilitation in Little Falls and the two companies work closely together to educated patients on stretches and exercises for strengthening weakened muscles both before and after physical activity.
“I’m a teacher of sorts, too,” she said. “I help others learn to take care of their bodies.”
Lastly, Croteau is certified in the active release technique.
“I position my patient’s body so the sore muscle is shortened. I then apply pressure and tension to the muscle as they lengthen it, manipulating it to undo the knots that have formed,” she said. “It’s not as painful as digging into a muscle.”
In her spare time, Croteau loves to go 4-wheeling, snowmobiling, walking and swimming.
For more information, or to make an appointment, contact Croteau at (320) 631-1103.