Article by Alan Goforth
Photography by Janie Jones
Originally published in Lee’s Summit City Lifestyle
The beginning of a new year always brings renewal and hope for better days ahead.
Several years ago, Drs. Alex and Lauren Nelson’s world was turned upside down when their young daughter, Harper Mitzi-Lou, was diagnosed with a condition known as a congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Despite receiving the best care available, the prognosis was not what they had hoped for.
“Ultimately, we were told Harper would never walk, talk or swim, and that she would be hooked up to machines throughout her life and be in and out of the hospital,” Lauren said. “We were faced with a decision that no parent wants or should face and had to decide quality or quantity. She passed 51 days after being born.”
Yet out of that tragedy, the Nelsons started a medical practice that has brought hope and healing to others facing medical challenges of their own.
“We named the company HML Chiropractic and Functional Care after her,” Lauren said. “We want to do everything in her honor and lead by example, choosing to move beyond survival mode and show it is possible to grieve and live. Einstein once said, `The most important decision we make is whether we live in a friendly or hostile universe.’ The universe that `took’ Harper is the same universe that gave us her.”
The Nelsons know exactly what patients and their families are feeling.
“We understand what it is like to watch your child struggle and feel helpless,” she said.
“Each family is different, but the core of it is to meet them where they are and improve their quality of life. We are blessed to say that we have many profound success stories with children. Non-verbal children on the spectrum are now talking, and children who were not walking are walking.”
Because of their medical expertise, the Nelsons are able not only to empathize with patients but also help maximize their quality of life.
“At HML, we use not only functional medicine; we use functional neurology as well as chiropractic to help people with chronic health problems,” Alex said. “Chiropractic is the most powerful thing we can do for our patients. We adjust the joints of the spine and body that do not move enough. We do this because the biggest input into the brain is what the joints of the spine and body are doing. If they don’t move well, this stresses out the brain, causes muscle spasms and joint inflammation, and contributes to pain. And increased stress on the brain means increased cortisol (the stress hormone), which is the last thing anyone nowadays needs.”
Lee’s Summit, with its rapid growth and family friendly atmosphere, turned out to be the ideal location for their practice.
“We love Lees Summit,” Lauren said. “We have lived here as a family since 2015. It is the best community in Kansas City in our minds. There are a lot of great practitioners doing great work out there. We all have our specialties, and ours is chronic neurological disorders, especially kids, and we are very blessed to be able to deliver these services that no one else does.”
HML treats a wide range of medical conditions, not simply those traditionally associated with chiropractic care. One of the most important steps in the healing process is listening to patients during the initial, complimentary consultation.
“We sit down, get to know each other, see what has been done, what hasn’t been done, what’s worked and what hasn’t worked,” she said. “What are your goals for yourself or your child? We then send the parents or patients home with a packet of paper work going over the patient’s health and history, 0- to 10 and A to Z. After they turn that in, myself and Dr. Alex go over it to make sure we think we can help them.”
HML even can help patients fulfill New Year’s resolutions about their health that often get discarded by late January.
“If you are striving for a 2022 turnaround, break it up in segments or phases, as we say at HML,” Lauren said. “For example, if someone wants to lose weight and is starting to eat better but can’t move because they are in so much pain, we would fit into their health team very nicely by getting them feeling better to start exercising. Our specialty is making a mold for the patient, not making our patients fit a mold.”
Alex and Lauren realize there is no one-size-fits-all approach to health care. HML treats each patient as an individual and tailors a treatment program to their specific needs, delivered with the empathy that their own experience has taught them.
“We will do anything we can to help you or your loved one if you are wanting answers,” Lauren said. “We are constantly learning, researching and obtaining more knowledge to help more people. If we aren’t the answer, we will find the person who is.“