Doctor praised by patients as "outstanding practitioner of chiropractic"

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2008 Healthcare Hero
Richard Tesoriero
Complementary Medicine

Richard Tesoriero is a doctor of chiropractic and practices from his office at 208 Syracuse Ave. in Oswego. He has been practicing for 28 years.

"Dr. Tesoriero is an excellent chiropractor who not only cares about his patients, but about his community as well," said John DeRousie, who nominated Tesoriero for the award. "He is devoted to healing his patients and strengthening his community."

Tesoriero has sponsored numerous wellness runs and has served as a board member for the United Way, Rotary Club and the Port of Oswego Authority.

Bill Arnold, one of his patients, said Tesoriero simply cares about his patients. "Dr. T. is an outstanding practitioner of chiropractic who over the years has given himself to his patients and community. "He has always been available to me personally, even though oftentimes he had to see me outside of regular office hours," he added.

In 2006, Tesoriero was elected president of the United Way of Oswego County. In 2005, he was elected chairman of the board of the College on Forensic Sciences of the American Chiropractic Association.Tesoriero, 55, was born and raised in Oswego. He and his wife Angela have a daughter, Kristen.

For Dr. T., it's seeing people get healthy every day that serves as his driving force. "It's treating someone with debilitative back pain—whether it's acute or chronic—and getting them on the right road and back to work," he said.

The foremost challenge for Tesoriero, however, involves paperwork and insurance. "Reimbursement rates have not gone up for providers. I'm sure that's (the case) across the board," he said. Related paperwork, meanwhile, "is a nightmare which continues to increase," he said. He noted there has been no increase in Worker's Compensation rates in over 10 years.
"Meanwhile, all expenses and overhead continue to rise." But while reimbursement rates haven's budged, "insurance companies make more and more money," Tesoriero said. He added that Medicare reimbursements have continually gone down over the past few years, with no help in sight.

Tesoriero said he is seeing chiropractic medicine becoming more accepted in conventional medicine circles. "I believe it is more mainstream because I get referrals from most health care providers in Oswego," he said. He said according to recent research, manipulation is the best treatment for uncomplicated back problems. "We're the best and first line of defense to take care of these problems."

He said more of the medical community is seeing the way in which chiropractors work, and that is adhering to an evidence-based type of practice. Chiropractors are encouraged to use the best evidence possible, or the most appropriate information available, to make clinical decisions for individual patients. "If we don't see change in a reasonable period of time, we will change treatment, whether through referrals or additional diagnostic tests," Tesoriero said. "We just don't continue to treat forever."

Tesoriero said the number-one reason patients come to see him is for treatment of back pain, mainly lower back pain. Running a close second is neck pain, while Tesoriero also sees his share of hip, knee, elbow and shoulder problems. "Rehab is a big part of my practice," he said. "Not only do I want to take care of the sprained joint, but I want to rehab so it doesn't strain again."
Tesoriero prescribes a series of stretches and aggressive exercises as part of his rehab regiment.
However, statistics show that only three out of 100 patients actually do the exercises, he said, resulting in a high incidence of repeat business.

"One of the quotes that I try to live by is, ‘There's little difference in people, but it's that little difference that makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude, and the big difference is whether it is positive or negative,'" Tesoriero said. "When patients have grade 3 sciatic pain right down to the toe—on a pain scale of 10 they're up there at a 9 or 10—it's tough for them to keep a positive attitude," he said. "One of the things I try to do is give them a positive attitude. That way, they're able to handle the back pain better. I'm a firm believer that whatever you give, it comes back 10 fold. I've seen it happen over and over again, to myself and people who give," he said. "That's my main motivation. The more people I help, the happier I am," he said.

He said a "dream job" for him would be like the one Ty Pennington has with "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" or Oprah Winfrey has with "The Big Give."
(By Lou Sorendo)