When Dr. Yong Kim, owner of Performance Chiropractic and Sports Care, was at San Jose State University, his course of study was far afield from becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic — it was aeronautical engineering. But because of an experience during a gym work out as a teenager, Dr. Kim’s professional career took him from designing wings, fuselages and landing gears of Boeing’s latest airliner to healing peoples arms, legs and bodies from pain and other ailments.
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Since the age of 16, Kim has regularly worked out at a gym for both strength and to reduce pain. Kim, as a young man was athletic, playing baseball and other sports. As a result of his sports activities and several vehicle accidents, he suffered from sciatica, poor posture and plenty of aches and pains and it was a fellow gym member who was also a chiropractor who recognized from form of Kim’s workouts that he was in pain. That chiropractor took Kim to his clinic and after several weeks of chiropractic treatments, he felt 100 percent better.
After completing his junior year at San Jose State, he decided aeronautical engineering wasn’t for him and switched his course of study. But to gain admission to Life Chiropractic College West in Hayward, he first had to continue with undergraduate courses.
“I had to take courses similar to premed and had to finish 24 units in the humanities,” said Dr. Kim. Kim has been practicing chiropractic since 1996.
One of the newer areas in treating soft tissue pain is Active Release Technique (ART), a patented therapeutic treatment, practiced by very few chiropractors.
“Generally, 80 percent of those treated for soft tissue injuries receive some relief, but 20 percent don’t. With ART, I have been able to achieve an improvement success rate of 98 percent of those 20 percent who otherwise didn’t benefit or improve,” said Dr. Kim.
Dr. Kim has been a privileged instructor for ART in the last three years. There are approximately 150 instructors worldwide and as an ART instructor you become quite distinguished. Through Active Release Techniques, he has assisted at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii six times and plans to continue his yearly trip. He also leads the ART treatment team for Ironman Lake Tahoe.
“Dr. Michael Leahy, the founder of ART therapy and who travels with the Denver Broncos football team, is one of my teachers and mentors. Interestingly, Leahy’s background before going into chiropractic, was an aeronautical engineer and Air Force fighter pilot,” said Dr. Kim. Kim’s patient lists also include professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, MLB and even the UFC and as far away as Redding and Gardnerville, Nev. But many of his patients are young athletes and weekend warriors as well as those who suffer from accidents, carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff syndrome and other injuries which cause scar tissue to develop. He has treated the young as low as two week old infants to the experienced in their late 90’s.
When you injure soft tissue, a person develops scar tissue which becomes adhesions, which cause the tissue to stick together. “It’s like spaghetti that becomes sticky where the strands are no longer separate and don’t move freely,” said Dr. Kim. “As in muscles, the tissue becomes fibrotic and non-qualitative. In other words, the scar tissue loses flexibility, elasticity and is weaker and those impairments cause pain.”
What ART does is to first identify the problem structure (tissue), its texture and contour to determine the severity and kind of injury. Dr. Kim also has to determine where the adhesion is and how to treat it. The idea is to “isolate” the tissue by the positioning of that tissue to relieve tension on it and then apply manipulative pressures of whatever depth and tension are necessary to breakdown the adhesion or scar tissue.
“It’s like breaking down the spaghetti that is stuck together,” said Dr. Kim. “This effectively works out the scar tissue and restores tissue quality, strength and freedom of movement.”
Dr. Kim said because of the positioning of the injured tissue and pressures applied, the treatment can have some discomfort, but the relief and improvement in quality of life it creates is a much larger reward. Dr. Kim is also certified as a Chiropractic Sports Practitioner by the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians.
Dr. Kim still works out on a regular basis at what he calls functional training. He uses a combination of free weights, cables and bands, not so much to build muscle, which it will do to some degree, but to improve strength, endurance and fitness. For many of his patients he has designed such programs and sometimes in doing so corrects other problems that cause pain and restrict freedom of movement.
“It’s like your knee hurts but the problem isn’t in your knee but likely a restricted hip,” said Dr. Kim.
Good nutrition is also stressed by Dr. Kim, which doesn’t necessarily mean lots of supplements, but a good balanced diet, keeping your ph balanced and good food values.
Besides weight training, Dr. Kim also bicycles, spending time with family and friends, and tries to keep up with his two dogs.
Performance Chiropractic and Sports Care is located at 2555 Greenwood Lane, Cameron Park. His phone number is 530-677-7333. Dr. Kim also has a satellite office in Sacramento.