NorthShore Health Centers continues to expand their healthcare options while adding new team members to ensure patients get prompt, quality care for whatever treatment they need. One of the newest additions to the team is chiropractor Dr. Matthew Monaco, who turned a passion for athletics into a career in healthcare.
Monaco is a lifelong athlete and had experienced a couple of injuries that left him out of the action for extended periods. He attended an agility camp that hosted an in-house chiropractor, who treated him, his dad, and his older brother to great results. That meeting wound up being the spark that launched his journey to NorthShore.
“I just thought 'wow, that was really cool' – I’d always been interested in science and wanted to stay involved with sports when I grew up,” he said. “Plus, I’d also been interested in helping people, so the more I learned about it and the more time I spent with that chiropractor I just knew that this is what I wanted to do.”
Monaco pursued a comprehensive education, with a focus on sports medicine, earning a bachelor's in exercise science as well as a master's in sports science and rehab before completing a doctorate in chiropractic.
“I see chiropractic as the first line of defense in preventative care,” he said. “It’s a conservative approach that I think should be given a try before moving on to more serious interventions, because at the end of the day the human body is a pretty magnificent thing. When it’s pointed in the right direction and given the opportunity, its healing potential is through the roof.”
The goal of a chiropractor, according to Monaco, is fairly straightforward as a result.
“The main philosophy is to give your body the ability to heal and progress on its own,” he said. “We move the needle with a little bit of conservative care.”
Monaco encounters a wide variety of patients throughout the day at the office, but a common theme among many of them is chronic pain. Sometimes the result of an old injury, illness, or any manner of causes, the pain often upends a patient’s daily life and prevents them from doing activities they used to love.
“A lot of patients, when they come to you, have the thought that their pain or ailment is something they’re going to have for the rest of their lives,” Monaco said. “When you give a patient their first, second, or however many treatments and they come back in with a completely different demeanor, it’s something special. They’ve realized they don’t have to live with that pain forever. I want to do my best to let them live the lifestyle they want to live, let them do the things they want to enjoy.”
The first step Monaco takes with every patient is to start building a real relationship – it’s not his goal to lecture a patient, but to work with them as a team through the healing process.
“I don’t see patient care as a one-way street,” he said. “They’ve got just as much say in their treatment as I do. There needs to be trust, a relationship, it’s not about me just talking to a patient the whole visit. I think that helps the patient get better if they can actually feel that connection.”
Since he joined the NorthShore team in early May, Monaco’s come to love their mission-driven philosophy: to provide quality care to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.
“When I was going through college, I’d always kind of seen my goal being to work with athletes,” he said. “When I first started here, it was kind of an eye-opener. It’s cool to work with athletes, and I still do, but there’s a whole community of people that can use our help and deserve that same help as well. It’s awesome that NorthShore is a place people can go to get that high level of care, regardless of their circumstances.”
To learn more about NorthShore Health Centers, visit northshorehealth.org