In The News
Chiropractor Celebrates 50 Years
By Bill Stuttig
Dr. Ernest R. Marrone is celebrating 50 years of bringing chiropractic care to his native Allerton community in 2005.
"Even though it has been 50 years for me, it seems like 50 minutes," the renowned Bronx chiropractor said at his office at 2570 Colden Avenue, where he has practiced for more than 42 of those years.
During those five decades, he said he has seen his profession evolve from an often misunderstood and unappreciated science to a highly respected and valued for of care and treatment performed on millions of patients each year throughout the nation.
"Chiropractic 50 years ago was at a pioneering crossroads regarding public acceptance," Dr. Marrone said recalling his early years in the profession. "At the time I had licenses in New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida but I chose to stay in New York, which did not have licensing, because I felt that the people of the Bronx deserved chiropractic care. I was determined to do it even though I faced arrest. I faced arrest (for practicing without a license in New York) for about 10 years."
His first practice was on Radcliff Avenue, just blocks from his current office. He stayed there eight years before moving to Colden Avenue at the intersection of Williamsbridge Road and Allerton Avenue.
"Having grown up in the Bronx, I said to myself this is where I am going to stay. I am going to fight this battle," Dr. Marrone said. "Finally the New York State Legislature in 1964 saw fit to license chiropractic and that was accomplished after more than a million patients wrote letters to then Governor Rockefeller. I was in the first group to be licensed, and then I became an examiner on the state board, administering exams to other practitioners."
Having grown up in the community, Marrone attended P.S. 89 as a boy and then nearby Christopher Columbus High School. After marrying, he and his wife began raising their family in an apartment upstairs from his office.
Recalling those times, Dr. Marrone said, "Going back over the years, there were a lot of firsts. I was the first chiropractor to be accepted as an expert in a court of law. With the licensing, many things came including inclusion in workmen’s compensation cases so many inured workers could be cared for, and inclusion in various heath plans to the point today that now you have managed health care. Quite frankly, more people have access to chiropractic are because it is cost-effective. The insurance industry, like the whole national economy, is concerned about the cost of health care, and chiropractic care is so effective in those cases that are chiropractic cases."
Another big evolution in the profession over the last 50 years is how chiropractic relates with the mainstream medical profession. "I am now able to enjoy a greater rapport and relationship with the medical profession," Dr. Marrone said, "to the point that we now have a neurologist that comes to the office regularly and will consult with patients. This only helps to augment what we do as chiropractors."
"It was Thomas Edison who said "The doctor of the future will concern himself with proper sanitation, good food and nutrition, exercise and care of the human frame, and this is really what has happened. You definitely see today that people are more interested in physical fitness and good nutrition. People want to live longer and have a better quality of life," Dr. Marrone said. "And chiropractic care has really offered a route to that."
"The biggest change of the 50 years is that while the medical and chiropractic professions were once clearly at odds with each other, there is now a much closer working together, and that’s a positive thing that the public is benefiting from," he said.
"Chiropractic with good fitness and good nutrition fits in with the wellness approach that has taken over medicine," Dr. Marrone added. "When I started, there was only about 3 to 5% of the population who had ever accessed chiropractic care, and I believe today that number is up to about 55% of the population."
Marrone said another of the big changes he has seen in the last half century is in the patients themselves. While most patients were skeptical in the early years, today they have a better knowledge of chiropractic care and what it can do for them, he said.
"In the early years, patients came to us long after everything else had been tried and failed, so I would see many more difficult cases requiring extensive care. Now people are accessing chiropractic care earlier and their response is faster," Dr. Marrone explained.
Marrone now slits this time between his practice in the Bronx, which he shares with his son, whom he has been working with more than 15 years, and another practice near his home in Connecticut.
Dr. Ernest Marrone II said of his working relationship with his father, "He has been an inspiration to me, yet he has given me the freedom to decide on my own what I wanted to do with my life. He has been a role model and I have really learned a lot from him. My father is not only an excellent doctor, he’s a healer, and I plan on carrying on that tradition."
Both doctors treat all types of cases, such as headaches, neck and back pain, sciatica and disc problems, but Dr. Marrone Sr. specializes in chiropractic orthopedics while Dr. Marrone II specialized in sports injuries. The younger Dr. Marrone regularly donates his time to work with student athletes at Columbus High School in teaching them how to prevent and care for their injuries.
In addition to chiropractic care, the office helps patients use a holistic approach to wellness, such as assisting patients with exercise, fitness, nutritional counseling and in general, good healthy living habits. Healthy living classes are given at the Colden Avenue office each Wednesday evening.
"It’s been exciting and fun and I look forward to even more," Dr. Marrone Sr. said of the past 50 years. "I’m doing what I love to do and I don’t anticipate changing that."