The Benningfields: Generations of Care

by Michelle Lefebvre

Though changes come and go, the natural approach to chiropractic care at Benningfield & Associates remains the same.

“My children think that all grown-ups work with their families,” says Stephanie Walker, daughter of Dr. Bob Benningfield. Seeing their mom serving as office manager to their grandfather’s chiropractic practice, Stephanie’s son and two daughters assume that’s just how the rest of the world functions.

It seems logical. Especially since their dad [Chad Walker, DC], Aunt Rachel [Benningfield] and Uncle Jay [Benningfield, DC] also work at the practice. Even their Uncle Rob [Benningfield, DC], who lives in North Carolina, is a chiropractor—and so is his wife.

Handing Down Inspiration
The story began 36 years ago when Dr. Bob began his chiropractic career by joining his brother, Frank. Frank retired ten years ago, but his legacy lives on with the rest of the Benningfield family. “My brother made me a better doctor,” Dr. Bob says. “A great work ethic and striving for excellence are traits that I learned from him.”

Now Dr. Bob is passing on that inspiration to his children in their own pursuits. “I’ve always expected my children to be the best they can,” he explains. You can quickly see that he also wants the best for his employees and his patients. “Most of our staff has been here a long time,” Dr. Bob says, “One employee has been here 27 years.”

Part of that “best” for his patients includes helping them feel better without side effects. For this reason, the practice was among the first to institute a multidisciplinary approach that specifically included exercise in the rehab department as part of a treatment plan. The staff also works closely with other medical professionals in order to achieve the best results for patients.

“We work hand-in-hand with spine and pain physicians so we can refer patients to them when it’s needed,” says Dr. Bob. “We don’t treat something we shouldn’t treat, but there are many things for which we can provide relief—chronic headaches, acute or chronic back pain, including disc herniations, and other pain. Fortunately for many of our patients, their insurance covers the treatment.”

A Way of Life
For this close-knit family, a career isn’t just a job, it’s the way they live every day. “From the time our kids were little, we raised our family with natural approaches, healthy diet and regular exercise,” explains Dr. Bob. “I’ve truly been blessed and am thankful for my family.”

Taking a holistic, natural approach to healthcare, each of the professionals has migrated to different areas of specialization. Always intrigued by the intricate workings of the body, Dr. Chad focused on nutritional counseling. His passion for addressing diet-related health concerns extends to his son, who was born with severe autoimmune allergies.

“Not only are we seeing a large number of food allergies and sensitivities among children, we are also seeing many adults with chronic digestive problems,” he says. “Obviously we refer patients to GI specialists when needed, but quite often, improvements can be seen with lifestyle changes. We’re finding that patients are hungry for knowledge about wellness and their health.”

So, how does Dr. Chad feel about working with his father-in-law? “It’s been a joy. He’s a good role model.”

The smile on Dr. Bob’s face conveys the mutual respect.

Release & Motion
While Dr. Chad has a special interest in nutrition, Dr. Jay’s primary focus is on sports. In addition to seeing patients in the office, Dr. Jay is Bradley University’s team chiropractor, seeing 20 to 30 athletes a week.

Dr. Jay has treated Olympic, Division I and high school athletes using chiropractic care and tools such as Active Release Technique (ART®) and muscle rehabilitation. He also sponsors a running clinic for top runners in the Peoria area and volunteers his time working with the boy’s basketball team at Manual Academy.

Beyond the sports and nutrition elements of the practice, this comprehensive chiropractic rehabilitation center also offers physiotherapy, athletic training, AIS (Active Isolated Stretching), acupuncture, and of course, traditional chiropractic services. They are also the only local provider incorporating ART® into their practice.

In line with their overall philosophy, Active Release Technique uses motion to fix the problem. Once the injury has been assessed, the doctor uses hands-on treatment and patient motion to “free up” the problem areas. The doctors at Benningfield have been trained to palpate and treat over 300 muscle injuries and 100 entrapments which are often the cause of numbness and tingling.

Leading the Way
Beyond his children’s well-honed skills, Dr. Bob praises them for their work ethic. Not surprisingly, his kids say they learned it from him. Stephanie says that her dad is passionate about being a business owner. “He wakes up excited to go to work every day,” she explains. “It’s really fun to work with him.”

Stephanie attributes her dad’s drive, passion and integrity to his strong faith. Working with him during the past 12 years, she says, “I get to see him put his faith into action every day, even in difficult situations.” His other daughter, Rachel, also benefits from this interaction in her role as receptionist. Although she has only been working at Benningfield for one year, she “really enjoys” being a part of the family business.

In addition to his solid faith and values, Dr. Bob is a lifelong learner. His extensive postgraduate studies resulted in becoming a Diplomat of the American Chiropractic Board of Rehabilitation, a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician, receiving Chiropractic Certification in Spinal Trauma, and a member of the Council of Chiropractic Physiological Therapeutics and Rehabilitation.

While Dr. Bob is clearly an intelligent, strong leader, he doesn’t convey a single ounce of self-centered ego. He is a generous man who leads by example, and this goes far beyond the walls of Benningfield & Associates.

At least once a year (and sometimes twice), Dr. Bob (and sometimes Dr. Chad, Stephanie and Rachel) take their healthcare skills to serve others in the Dominican Republic. “These trips always remind me of how incredibly blessed we are in America,” says Dr. Bob. “These people have so little, but they’re very happy. Here in America, we have so much and yet we complain—we are a nation of discontent.” In many ways, it’s this abundance that has created some of the health problems of Americans. According to Dr. Chad, diets have changed to include a high amount of processed foods and grains, with few fruits and vegetables. “These processed foods and grains lead to inflammatory changes in the body.”

More Than Meets the Eye
As you drive by the Benningfield & Associates office on Glen Avenue, you’ll notice what appears to be a single-story doctor’s office. But it’s much more than that. To accommodate the wide range of services offered, the walk-out basement level contains a 2,000-square-foot exercise and training facility. This clean, fresh environment provides their clients with a quiet and peaceful area in which to heal—and maintain—their bodies.

Benningfield & Associates is not just a building. It’s a team. It’s a family. And it’s a place where better health begins. iBi

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Comments

I know this is a strange question.  Was anyone in your family born June 24, 1952 at St Francis and lived on Bigalow Ave.?  I have the news clipping of my own birth and the name beneath mine was Son, born to Mr. and Mrs Frank Benningfield Tuesday night on that date.  Anyway since I'm just silly I had to ask.  lol.  Forgive me for my silliness. lol 

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