Birmingham Chiropractic Clinic makes the proper adjustments toward a healthy lifestyle.
By Matthew Totsky
Photography by Brett Mountain
It took a life-changing event for Dr. David Kirsch to find his career path.
“I was an undergrad at Wayne State,” Kirsch recalls. “I was working at a supermarket and broke my back. I had two compression fractures, but I didn’t want surgery or to have my back fused. I opted for a more conservative approach.”
Kirsch ended up seeing a chiropractor, a decision that altered the course of his life. “I really responded to the treatment,” he says. “I started swimming and used various forms of exercise as part of my rehabilitation. After seeing how chiropractic care benefited me, I knew I wanted to share this with others.”
Kirsch earned his doctor of chiropractic degree at Life University in Marietta, Ga. “I learned that chiropractic care helps improve your quality of life,” he says. “Chiropractic drives the form so the function is enhanced. It’s a lifestyle and gives you a lot more options to stay healthy.
“My family had always been active and passionate about sports,” Kirsch continues. “I work hard and play hard. I play a lot of tennis. Chiropractic has been integral to allowing me to do everything I want to do. Because of my injury, I’ve had a lot of physical challenges. Those experiences gave me a greater appreciation of my patients and their suffering. I am compassionate about what they’re going through because I went through similar experiences myself.”
In 1980, Kirsch started working at a chiropractic clinic in Lathrup Village. Three years later, he partnered with Dr. James Dankovich and opened Birmingham Chiropractic Clinic. The pair worked together for 28 years until Dankovich’s retirement in 2008.
“James and I strived to build our name and gain the trust of our patients,” Kirsch says. “He was a great partner, but the proudest moment of my career came when my son started working with me.”
Dr. Joel Kirsch came to Birmingham Chiropractic Clinic in 2007 and worked alongside his father and Dankovich during his last year at the practice.
“My father was a big influence for me to pursue a career in chiropractic,” Joel Kirsch says. “Like him, I wanted to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. Chiropractic care is a way to have an immediate impact on someone’s well-being without medication and surgery.”
Joel completed his undergraduate work at Indiana University and earned his doctorate of chiropractic at National University of Health Sciences in Chicago.
“I’m passionate about finding the underlying source of a problem,” he says. “By identifying the cause, we are able to make the appropriate corrections to eliminate painful symptoms and reduce the likelihood of a problem returning. This may sound strange, but it’s our goal to keep our patients out of our office. We don’t want them to keep coming back with the same problems, so we try to limit their pain and dysfunction by recommending exercises and postural tips to improve their lifestyle and strengthen their spine.”
Like his father, Joel maintains an active lifestyle. “I play tennis and work out at the gym three to four times a week,” he says. “I was lucky to not injure myself like my father did, but I’ve been adjusted by him my whole life. I grew up with chiropractic techniques and know that little things like good posture, diet and proper exercise are important to my health.”
Dr. Sean Totten is an associate at the practice and the most recent addition to the team at Birmingham Chiropractic. “I met David and Joel through a chiropractic association,” he says. “I’d worked as a chiropractor for eight years, and this situation seemed like a perfect fit for me.”
Like his colleague, a back injury played a significant role in his choice to become a chiropractor. “I served as a Marine from 1993 to 1997,” he says. “After I got out of the service, I was lifting weights and injured my back and couldn’t walk or stand up straight for a couple of weeks. I saw a chiropractor and was back on track in two weeks. I was very impressed with the experience and my wife encouraged me to look into it as a career. Soon thereafter, I was enrolled at David’s alma mater, Life University.
“I like working with David and Joel because we have similar philosophies,” Totten says. “We thrive on finding the cause of a problem and working to correct it. Our thought processes are very similar so it was a smooth transition into the practice and integrating my techniques with theirs. It’s not three people doing the same thing. We all have our strengths and bring something different to the table — literally.”
After nearly 36 years as a practicing chiropractor, David Kirsch sees no signs of slowing down. “As long as I feel I have purpose and am able to give 110 percent to my patients, I will continue working,” he says. “This is my passion, and I’ve had some great opportunities because of it.
“For example, I worked as the chiropractor for the Beach Boys from 1984 to 1998. I met them through a friend who was the head of the drama department at Cranbrook. When they were in town for a concert, I brought my table to their hotel for a couple of adjustments. We hit it off and the next thing I knew, I was traveling all over the United States and Canada with them.
“It was a lot of fun, but the most important thing to me was that I got to work with them because of a referral. Most of our patients come to us after being referred by a friend or family member. I think that speaks volumes about the quality of care we provide.” NS
Birmingham Chiropractic Clinic
1173 S. Adams, Birmingham