Getting to Know: Dr. Joseph Horrigan


At DISC Sports & Spine Center, our team of doctors place patient care above all; part of that process is getting to know your physicians on both a medical and personal level. This month, our featured doctor is Dr. Joseph Horrigan.

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Getting to Know Dr. Joseph Horrigan

For Dr. Joseph Horrigan, the most satisfying part of his job is to help patients who have been previously dismissed or overlooked and help them identify what really is the underlying problem causing them pain and discomfort.

“The first and foremost component is we have to drive an accurate diagnosis.  We have to identify the pain generator,” Dr. Horrigan, a chiropractic sports medicine practitioner, said.  “Our specialty is conservative care, so we deal with everything from the shoulder to the neck to the low back, hip, to the knee and ankle.”

Born in San Antonio, Texas, Dr. Horrigan moved to Los Angeles with his family at age two.

“I played the usual sports growing up, football, softball, and basketball—whatever was in season.  If something wasn’t in season, we’d find something else to do.  It was back in a time where we rode our bikes to the park to play and in high school, same thing, usual sports, track and field and football,” he said.

While at college, Dr. Horrigan realized that he was more interested in the sciences than the business and economics courses he was taking.  He decided to change majors to human sciences, with a focus on the sports medicine field.

softtissue1“I changed directions and realized that in the field I’m in now, that I would have the ability to have a conservative approach but also maintain the ability to diagnose and that was very attractive.  From that moment, I decided to go to healthcare and study the human sciences,” Dr. Horrigan said.

Dr. Horrigan is also the founder and director of the Soft Tissue Center at DISC.  The Soft Tissue, which can be a starting point for a patient seeking a diagnosis, is also a rehab center for those who have undergone surgery.  The specialists at the Soft Tissue Center can determine where the source of pain is and if it can be treated with conservative treatment.

“Once they start at the Soft Tissue Center, we determine if we can help them.  If we can’t help them, then we need to refer them to the appropriate specialists,” Dr. Horrigan said.  “If we feel that we can’t help them, we tell them what their options are.”

“It’s everything from soft tissue mobilization, which increases joint motion, decreases pain, and improves function a great deal, to manipulation and mobilization ability.  We also have very high tech rehab, including a very specific spine strengthening machine called MedX,” Dr. Horrigan said.

In addition, the Soft Tissue Center also has a Hall of Fame strength and conditioning coach, Doc Kreis, who helps athletes transition out from the rehab back to their sports.  They also have acupuncture, which not only helps with pain, but also reduces nausea post operatively.

When Dr. Horrigan first started in practice, he saw a lot of athletes from gyms that were very large, muscular people who used a traditional, general practice chiropractic approach.  He realized that the traditional chiropractic approach wasn’t as productive as previously thought, especially regarding areas like the shoulders, knees and hips.

“We would chase the pain around their shoulders or hips or wherever the area we were treating.  The light softtissue2bulb went off that we needed to treat all of the muscles around the joint, since all these muscles work together to form an action around the joint,” Dr. Horrigan said.

Using his knowledge on soft tissue and soft tissue mobilization, he began treating patients with this in mind.  He started treating more of the soft tissue for the patients he saw, and got very good results.

“We found two things happen.  We had better results and we got better results faster—that’s very attractive to athletes.  It takes longer to provide the treatment but we need to see the patient fewer times,” he added.

To schedule an appointment, call (310) 574-0395.