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Different Strokes For Different Folks with Dr. Brett Long

5 years ago

Dr. Brett Long started getting adjustments during high school when his shoulders would always pop in and out while swimming. He never really understood the whole wellness aspect of it until he experienced back pains after sitting down for long hours during college, and that’s what got him into chiropractic. Traditional methods weren’t really cutting it for him until he discovered a technique in the upper cervical genre. This technique looks at the body in a way where the whole body compensates with each other and a lot of it starts at the neck. QSM3 postural correction technique is an innovative technique in chiropractic where it focuses on restoring balance and symmetry to the patient’s posture from head to toe, putting it in the optimal position for healing and overall function.

Dr. Brett Long is an Upper Cervical Chiropractor out of Lake Forest, California and uses the QSM3 Technique. Dr. Brett is the reason why I got into Upper Cervical Chiropractic. He is an amazing doctor and good friend. Please welcome, Dr. Brett Long.


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Different Strokes For Different Folks with Dr. Brett Long

We have one of my good friends, Brett Long. He is an amazing chiropractor out of Lake Forest, California. Brett is pretty much the main reason I got into upper cervical chiropractic. I’ve told him once this before that you’re one of the big reasons I got my life back and I can never thank you enough for that. It’s an honor to have you on the podcast.

I appreciate it. I love that you’re doing this.

How are you doing?

Pretty good. Things are moving fast and going well. I cannot complain.

It’s been a long time. What are you up to?

A lot of work. Things have happened since I’ve seen you.

You’re two or three years out of school now?

Almost two. I graduated in April of ‘16. I started practice right when I got the license in August of ‘16. Then quickly after that, I took over and practice in June of ’17.

Brett, where are you from originally?

I was born in Thousand Oaks, California. I lived in about seven places before moving to Colorado and then moved back here right before high school.

How come you were moving so much?

A lot of people think military are Gypsies, but it was actually construction. My dad was in construction. We move to wherever the job was. We lived in about three different places in Thousand Oaks where I was born and then Carlsbad, San Maria, Ramona, Parker, Colorado, back right before high school.

Did you go to high school in Colorado?

No, I went to high school in Lake Forest.

What’s your favorite spot you lived in?

Probably Colorado. We had five acres out there. Dirt bike track around the house, horses, the whole deal.

Brett, how did you get into chiropractic originally?

My first visit was during swimming out back in high school. My shoulder’s always popped in and out. I didn’t know why. You backstroke it, it started hurting. When I have to do hours of certain stroke that your shoulders popping in and out, it doesn’t feel the best after. The coach has told me to suck it up, but I didn’t want to do that, because it was definitely ruining my shoulder. I saw a chiropractor and he did some x-rays. He taught me a little bit about that and since then, that was my first doctor’s note to get out of doing back stroke.

Is that your first time seeing a chiropractor?


What was your general overall experience the first time you saw one?

I’m just there to get a doctor’s note.

You didn’t get adjusted? You were just getting the doctor’s note?

I got adjusted but I didn’t understand it yet. I was often on chiropractic when my back hurt or when something hurts, I’d go there. Quick adjustment, see you later. I never understood the whole wellness aspect of it and how much it really offers. From there, I started having back pain in high school for unknown reason. I never broke a bone, but I fell out of a tree. I fell off a balcony at one point. Things that guys do, it happens and even though they’re not life-threatening injuries, there’s still injuries your body holds onto. I started having back pain in high school. I went to college. I stopped playing sports. I always injure myself in the gym. I had to back off on the physical aspect of it. I didn’t really know why.

How old are you at this point?

19, 20, 21 as I go through undergrad. Then it got to be really bad. I had a job where I was driving a lot. I was a manny. It was like a nanny but different. I took care of my cousins’ family and four kids. I drive to the young ones, pick them up from school, take them home, pick up the high-schoolers, take them home, and take this one to dance. Four hours in the car every day. That much sitting started to be painful in my back right when I sat down. It got pretty bad and that’s what got me into chiropractic. I started going more and more and a doctor up in Chico where I went to college suggested I go to The WAVE, if I was thinking about doing chiropractic. It’s a seminar up in the North West. I got my first gist of what chiropractic really is.

You were a Kinesio major, right?

Yeah, exercise physiology.

There are a lot of different avenues you can go down. Were you thinking about medical doctor or anything else because that’s a pretty broad major that opens up a lot of doors for you?

I’d say that 90% of people in the next phase were trying to do PT. Everyone I talked to who is close to me said, “You’re treating a lot of elderly people and telling them they’re going to get better, but they’re not because they’re elderly and you can’t do too much.” It’s a lot of muscle stim and stretching, and you don’t get to use your head that much. That didn’t appeal to me. Me and about three other people that I know of went into chiropractic. I went for my letter of recommendation from one of my teachers I respected up there, Dr. Acevedo, and he tried to talk me out of it for about an hour.

Talk you out of chiropractic? Why?

That’s what I said. He said, “If I like students, I usually try to talk them out of it if. I don’t write the letter.” We talked for about an hour. I’m like, “I can tell you like me and appreciate it, but why are you trying to do this to me? I have a great experience with this. It actually helped. Why are you trying to shut me down?” He said, “The school is taking on other things like acupuncture and PT, which shows it can’t stand alone and it’s going to phase out eventually. Chiropractic is a dying profession.” I believe it was the eleventh top paid profession or fastest growing profession. The guy’s definitely wrong. I said, “Okay.” I went to someone else and got a letter of recommendation from them, Dr. Marcy Pope. She’s awesome. I wrote him an email and he never responded. I said, “I’m so glad I didn’t listen to you, to talk me out of this is the best choice I ever made.” I didn’t get a response.

QSM3 Postural Correction Technique: You are getting learned on, people are learning from me. I stopped letting people touch me.

You went into chiropractic school and the back kept getting worse. You are getting learned on, people are learning from me. I stopped letting people touch me. Got red flagged. Started getting gnarly migraines and constant back pain, having to pace in the back of class. Everyone’s asking me if I’m okay. I was like, “No, but okay. I’m fine.” I just stopped wanting to go places because I couldn’t sit in the car. I stopped being active. I couldn’t play soccer with the intramural leagues and all that. I didn’t do anything. That has an effect on you. You have a lot of time to reflect and trying to figure myself out. That’s what lead me into different aspects of chiropractic that most people don’t even know about because the traditional methods weren’t cutting it for me. I had an x-ray at the very beginning of chiropractic colleges and I downplayed it, a little too much experience.

They’re like, “It’s a little decreased right here in L5-S1, but that’s normal. It’s usually a little smaller and there’s a little slip forward, but that’s not too bad. You’re okay. It’s a little degeneration, but that’s okay.” This is now when I’m 24 or 25. Had they known what they know now, is that normal for me though? A 24-year-old guy with no injuries? That happened. I didn’t get an MRI. I kept getting adjusted. I kept feeling worse. Then one day, I’m there doing homework. I had school on a Friday. Someone offered me to go to a free lunch and I checked it out and it was QSM3.

What is QSM?

QSM3, similar to your technique, which is just Blair. They are both in the upper cervical genre. This is a different way of looking at the body instead of looking at it as physical restriction of the joint. A lot of people are familiar with it, “My C3 is out and my T5 is supposed to hurt.” I understand what you’re saying, but meeting up the body where the whole body compensates with each other and a lot of it starts at the neck. If your brain can’t talk to the rest of your body, the message isn’t getting through. He corrected the neck and it had the domino effect. Blair has a lot of different X-ray analysis, different technique where I’m sure you can explain a lot better, but you’re trying to fix C1, which is right under the skull which is the gateway. QSM takes a step back and looks at the full posture as one takes in the hips and it can see where the whole body, your shoulders are twisted, where the distribution is and all that. It’s just basically trying to correct the structure as a whole to produce the best effect.

You look at tensegrity and all that and fascia aspect of it. Why is fascia so important and what is tensegrity?

Fascia, the Anatomy Trains book by Thomas Myers, he’s a rolfer and a therapist. He did dissections of the body more like within the last ten or so years where the hamstrings are directly connected to the sacrotuberous ligament straight into the paraspinals and down to the calf. It’s all one big fascial sling. Fascia is like the sock around the muscle in between the muscle cells and the muscle fibers. It’s in between every organ.

It’s like the casing of a sausage, like another analogy.

You can’t picture that global because it goes out, it goes in between it’s around everything. It’s not like, “My traps are tight.” I was like, “No, your whole entire shoulder region is tight.” It all plays a part. The tensegrity is basically the body compensates for each other. If you stub your toe, you’re going to shift your hips a little different to not put as much pressure. Maybe your back’s going to hurt if you keep walking like that. Is it a toe problem or a back problem? It’s all combined and it’s all always compensating for each other. That’s the thing about tensegrity is you can’t affect one part of the system without affecting everything else.

QSM3 Postural Correction Technique: Tensegrity is you can’t affect one part of the system without affecting everything else.

You went to that free lunch and QSM3 and what happened?

I was sitting there probably pacing in the back like I had to and he told a story that was similar to mine. I was on the edge of my seat and I’m like, “What happened? What is his adjustment?” He totally left me hanging with it. We didn’t get to see the adjustment.

This is the doc up in Sacramento?

Dr. Bryce Crowley, I believe out in Utah. He was talking. He had severe migraines, he had severe back pain. He was in chiropractic school, he couldn’t sit in the chairs wondering why he’s doing it here if it doesn’t work, that sort of thing. That’s honestly where I was. I was like, “That sucks. I’m doing this profession and I can’t help people if I can’t help myself.” It’s tough to do and it’s difficult when you’re in the clinic and you’re pacing back and forth, and your patients are like, “Are you okay?” I was like, “No.” Either way, I talked to him after and he had severe migraines, back pain and the whole bit and he’s like, “They did this weird techniques. They barely touch my neck.” I said, “That’s it?” I went home, slept like a baby, woke up in that pain I’ve had for ten years was like a two instead of a ten. I was like, “I needed that. Where do I go?” I went to a Blair doctor first. I went to Dr. Hall, President of Blair. I went there, I got the Blair adjustment, and only the base of the neck, they did not touch your back. They took specific X-ray analysis and delivered a specific adjustment to the spine. I felt good. I was sold. Years of back pain gone with one adjustment after a year of continuous treatment with access to all these different techniques.

It’s a shame too, because they don’t preach anything in the school. You talked about upper cervical in at least our school and they almost laugh at you.

After I became Upper Cervical Club President after Nicole, I handed it down to you, and it’s like, “Here’s the upper cervical guy who thinks he can fix everything with that.” I remember I was in a lot of pain, so I was decked. I was like, “This thing worked for me and I want to share it with my friends because I’m a student. Why are you trying to shut me down for that?” I would call out Dr. Morgan for that. I was learning. It’s a shame and there’s something that powerful that’s not shared. That’s probably where my passion the most about chiropractic and with QSM3 so I have to thank for that was Blair upper cervical chiropractic. It is such a powerful under-estimated, under-used technique. I went to Blair. I got that adjustment. I went back to him and I started getting migraines after I did the Blair adjustment. I felt better, but now I got migraines. Something wasn’t right. Then I was like, “I want to go to the QSM thing that I heard about originally. I went to QSM3 with a Dr. Shannon Connor at Newport and I got that adjustment. I stood up. I almost had to sit back down. It’s almost like blood rushing to my head, my face was red, and I was like, “What did you do?” Very gentle, only delivered at the neck. I don’t even think I told her about my back pain. I was there for my migraines and that’s what was cool to me.

I was in school for like almost two years at this point and still to me it was like, “How does it help my back if it’s only touching my neck?” I guess that’s a different way of looking at the body. You have to understand that you can access different points in the body is a lot more complicated than you think. It’s all connected. I got that adjustment. I didn’t have a migraine for about a year after I started QSM. I only had one after that after a long night, not a lot of water and when I was out of line. What they found at the X-ray that I got Dr. Connor’s office was this extra bone connected to my head. If you go to the, my website, I have a picture about that on one of my blogs, Why it’s Important to Take Images. A lot of people are like, “You’re just trying to radiate me, you’re just trying to up the price.” It’s like, “No. I want to see if he has some weird thing I can’t see.” Basically, there’s a short tooth-looking thing that goes on the left side of my occiput a little bit up into my cerebellum and comes down past my C1. That’s a good one, two inches long. That’s right where my migraines were. It’s like, “That’s why.” Let’s reevaluate. That’s a paracondylar process. Basically, the QSM technique doesn’t do any firm thrusting. That set me off because I had this extra bone there that a lot of people back in school, I remember trying to adjust it.

That hurts, and I live with my eyes closed. That’s going to be a migraine tomorrow. There’s a different strokes for different folks. That’s what I always say. In school, we tested and all we learn is that traditional, I want to say crack pot technique but that’s what everyone knows. The traditional high velocity longitude adjustment. That’s one of many, but there are actually a lot of different techniques they use that same type of thrust. It’s a different analysis. It makes it a different technique. There are so many different techniques. There are so many different symptoms for so many different people that there are different strokes for different folks. Different techniques work better for certain symptoms, for certain people, for certain body types. I think knowing the most of those is the best. That’s what I tell people. I say, “I know a handful of techniques and I try to figure it out and I’m going to hit you with what I think will work best for you.

A lot of the times, I like to start with QSM because when you’re that tight and your system’s twisted like that, you can unwind it and some people go from 40 pounds to 10 pounds off center. They get 40 pounds on the right side and ten minutes later, after one adjustment, they’re ten pounds center. You’re going to be feeling a little better. Maybe not immediately, but that’s the huge, in term goal that you can get in one adjustment. You’re like these big leaps in treatment. People has a lot less tension, they feel better and then you go clean it up, any of those hard restrictions with the diversified. That’s where I differ from a lot of other upper cervical chiropractors. I’m a mixer.

I’m a mixer, too. I do some SOT blocking and diversified thoracic. You got to look at the whole system.

Then just trial and error. Some people get headaches like I did with Blair. I have nothing against Blair. I just had a weird thing in my head that Blair doesn’t work for this.

You sent me to QSM, I tried that. I liked it. I went back to Blair. Like you said, “Different strokes for different folks.”

Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Whereas like some people I started on QSM are like, “I get headaches,” and I’m like, “Let’s not do that.” You figure out what works and sometimes you go back to it and just having those options is awesome. That’s the special stress-less part of chiropractic that’s cool. I liked that, but if you know how to do it, do it.

You jumped out of the gate pretty quick after a chiropractic school and opened up your own practice. What was that like for you? It’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of stress. How did you handle all that?

I wanted to start straight out of school because I had this QSM3 technique and the avenue and that’s what gave me the confidence in that I have something that only like four or five other people.

Specializing in a very unique field.

Not just another regular traditional chiropractic. Going there, I had to do a project about a year before graduation where we had to do a full business plan. We had to find out what area would you want to practice in, how much is the building, how much are you going to rent. I’m on Craigslist and I hit up this room that is room for rent. There was no price on there, though. I wouldn’t write down the price and moved on with the project, but there was no price. I got the guy up, I said, “I’m curious. I’m still in school doing this project. I live about two blocks from your building. I’m curious how much?” He is like, “It’s this much but I’ll give you a deal because you’re new and I’m trying to retire in the next couple of years. You may buy my practice.” I was put off and a little scared.

**That’s a huge door that opened.

I was like, “I’m just trying to project.” It was a Dr. Jeffrey Paulsen, a great man. He’s in practice for 34 years down in Lake Forest. He is the owner of the building that I’m currently in with two other chiropractors. Now, we have a medical doctor as well.

What kind of MD you got in there? Primary care?

Cash practice with corticosteroid injections and PRP injections. It’s great. It’s like the step between us and surgery. Without pushing surgery option and knowing they’re in a safe place.

That’s an awesome option to have right in your building.

He offered it on Craigslist. I hit them up a month later and he’s like, “I almost forgot about you.” I was like, “Sorry, I was just in finals, I was trying to set you up, but I’d love to come see the place and check it out.” I went there about once a week for the next year, just on my own time. Then eventually that last trimester, I set him up with the private rotations for interning. I was still working almost fulltime, not fulltime but two, three days a week with Dr. Jason Rosano. I credit him for teaching me the majority of the business, the personally injury part of chiropractic and patient flow and all that. I really contribute to him. A great mentor.

QSM3 Postural Correction Technique: You should always start with natural care and that’s a huge thing that people don’t understand.

You should always start with natural care and that’s a huge thing that people don’t understand. “My neck hurt and I went to the doctor and he just gave me pain pills and muscle relaxers.” You went to a medical doctor for medicine, like what did you think he was going to do? Put out lotion and start doing a massage. Then with the surgery and it’s like, “He said I have to have surgery.” I was like, “The surgeon said that you have to have surgery?” This is the surgery that you could do because that’s what he meant and they always try everything else twice care. Try a whole trial of care just like medicine. You want to take the whole prescription not just one and be like, “I’m still sick.” That’s how the body works. The natural process, it takes time if it’s real.

Whatever technique you’re doing a fair shot because sometimes it doesn’t happen after the first adjustment. It takes a couple of weeks, even a couple months for the body to start coming around because you’ve been like that for so long.

You know the Chiari malformation. I had this patient came in, she gave me an MRI. She’s filling out the paperwork. I’m looking at the MRI and I was like, “Oh, crap. She’s a Chiari.”

Which when the cerebellar tonsils and the brain sit lower to get sucked down.

Big red flag, do not adjust with the high-velocity longitude because you’re going to cut that thing off. I didn’t know is she knew that. She comes in. I had it pulled up and I have a picture of Chiari on Google I’d pulled up explaining it. I was about to tell her like breaking news. She’s like, “I have Chiari.” I got her paperwork and I’m like, “You know about it.” She’s like, “That’s why I’m here because I heard that you do a different technique.” She read my website. She looked at that stuff and just how it’s gentle. Definitely it’s great for migraines, vertigo. She has severe migraines and vertigo almost two to three times a week. She has to go out, she can’t work. She’s disabled because of it. I’ve adjusted her once. She came back and she’s like, “I don’t feel anything.” I’m like, “You’re 20 pounds less on the right than you were. You’re going to feel a little better. Just give it some time.” I do some educating, talking to her a little bit and then she came back the third time. I was like, “How many migraines this week?” She is like, “None.” I was like, “Okay. When was the last time you didn’t have a migraine in a week?” She like, “Three or four years now.” I’m like, “Just like that.” I’m just like, “Why are you not excited about it?”

I’ve been seeing a lot of people like that. They come in with all these symptoms and I’m like, “How are you feeling?” I was like, “How many headaches you had now?” “None.” Like it’s just like, “What?”

There’s no gimmick here. It’s like, “You just feel better.” These people where she had seen multiple neurologists over three years and all these pills and all this stuff and now it seemed like, “You got to tell your doctor that you’re doing well. I guess that’s to bring it back home to the message, you have to try everything. You should be talking to some people. Shoot us an email. We’re not a very modern mainstream. We’re thinking outside the box while you were trying to sell you on something, we’ll be like, “You have this. This is what you need to do. I’m not trying to sell you on something, we’re going to try to steer you to the right direction. We know how to fix it.

QSM3 Postural Correction Technique: I’m not trying to sell you on something, we’re going to try to steer you to the right direction. We know how to fix it.

On top of that, to go along with your story, don’t let other people shut you down. You could’ve went to your professor and he could have, “No. You’re not doing this and you’ve been like, “Okay.” and that would have put you on a completely different path, but you knew what you wanted to do and that’s an amazing thing. Where are you located, Brett? Where can people find your website, social media platforms?

I am in Lake Forest, California where the 5 and the 405 meet right off of Altura Road. It’s in Orange County. Website is You can find me on there. We have an Instagram. We have Facebook. Our Instagram looks great. We’re starting to do a little video and we started in the last month or two. We started to get all that out there because we’re trying to cut insurances. If I’m not talking all the insurances, less people just call in from the insurance. I figured it out. Gives us a call, (949)-472-400. We’ve got your back.

Dr. Brett, thank you so much for coming on. It’s always a pleasure catching up with you and I’ll talk to you soon.

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