Drs. Max and Lou Jacobs Make a Point of Healing
Brothers and board-certified doctors of chiropractic Max (left) and Lou Jacobs share a common treatment philosophy.
“The whole idea of efficiency with patients—just moving them along—is a strange concept to me,” says Max, who majored in psychology at UMF. “If you miss spending time with patients, then you miss the most rewarding part of healing.”
Lou, who majored in Chinese studies and political science at UMF, says, “We don’t push people. We give them the time they need to tell us what their needs are.”
The brothers say patients who visit their thriving St. John Street practice in Portland’s West End are of two kinds: the healthy who seek to be healthier (without pharmaceuticals and invasive procedures) and the long-suffering, for whom traditional medicine has provided no relief. The latter, Lou says, are the “most fun” to treat.
“Stress is not an objective, quantifiable medical diagnosis, but some of the most common manifestations are lower-back pain in men, and headaches and shoulder and neck pain in women,” Lou explains. “Patients who have been told there’s nothing more that Western medicine can do for them come to us and say, ‘You are my last hope.’ It’s gratifying to see them get relief, sometimes after only one treatment.”
The brothers trace their interest in chiropractic medicine to their father, Bert Jacobs, a professor of psychology at UMF. You see, a while back, Bert suffered a serious neck injury from a fall. He was, Lou recalls, in a lot of pain, “very skeptical, even anti-chiropractic” and resigned to neck-vertebrae surgery. “With great reservation, he went to see a chiropractor,” says Lou. “After one appointment, he was virtually pain free.” Their father became a convert, and Lou found a new calling.
Thus, Lou boned up on all the prerequisites (year-long, two-course sequences of biology, chemistry and physics as well as anatomy, physiology and organic chemistry) and entered Cleveland Chiropractic College of Kansas City. Max, seven years younger, later attended New York Chiropractic College.
“I had the same textbooks as my friends in medical school. We even studied together,” says Lou, recalling a year studying gross anatomy with cadaver dissection and courses in microbiology, spinal anatomy, embryology and pathophysiology in chiropractic school.
Setting aside a day a week for volunteer work, the brothers don’t see patients at their clinic on Fridays. Lou enjoys cooking meals for cancer survivors and their families at the Cancer Community Center in South Portland and Mercy Hospital’s Gary’s House, while Max spends Fridays at the Portland YMCA, providing free chiropractic and acupuncture treatments to active-duty soldiers and veterans.
“My work at the Y is really just the first step,” Max says. “I want to open it up to the underinsured and people who don’t have insurance. I think health care should be free. Everyone should have as much as they need.”
-- By Marc Glass, managing editor of the UMF alumni magazine.