Know Your Neighbor: Andrea Whyte Griffin


It's not unusual for a doctor of chiropractic to favor the colors blue and green. Blue signifies healing, and green represents love and healing in the color scheme. Andrea Whyte Griffin of Colonias Chiropractic listed these colors - any shade - as her favorites during a recent interview.

However, Griffin said, "People in my profession aren't healers; we remove interference in the body so that it can heal itself. In essence, people are their own healers."

An example was one of her patients who came to see her suffering from respiratory problems and a chronic cough. The patient complained of feeling paralyzed in the chest area during more severe coughing attacks. Griffin discovered that the patient suffered from a locked diaphragm. The chiropractic associate worked on the problem, and even though the cough continued, the treatment helped relieve the feeling of paralysis and created a productive cough, allowing a release of mucus. The process created some relief for the patient.

"The body has an innate way to heal, and this is quite beneficial to the patient," Griffin said.

Although Griffin's mother Lucy Whyte Ferguson is a leading chiropractor by reputation at Colonias Chiropractic and spent 25 years building up the practice, that's not why she entered the field.

"I grew up with chiropractic. (But) Mom never pressured me about career interests," Griffin said. "In fact, my undergraduate degree is in a totally unrelated field."

Griffin attended Taos High School until her senior year when she completed her high school studies at Verde Valley School in Sedona, Arizona.

She earned a liberal arts degree in theater from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Griffin said it amounted to a "passion" as opposed to a career path. She moved to Flagstaff, Arizona and enjoyed her work in children's theater there.

In Flagstaff, Griffin decided to pursue her interest in bodywork and attended the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. This eventually led to a move to Port Orange, Florida for study at Palmer College of Chiropractic.

The chiropractic college existed on three different campuses in various parts of the United States. The year-round course of study included an internship in a chiropractic practice. In the fall of 2015, Griffin began her affiliation with Colonias Chiropractic, working alongside her mother and other staff members. After completing her internship and subsequent degree, Griffin decided to remain at the practice.

At Colonias Chiropractic, Ferguson (a graduate of the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic), heads a staff comprised of Griffin, new associate Brendan Casey (a graduate of the Palmer College of Chiropractic branch in California) and several other employees. The group works at Venado Plaza, 98 State Highway 150, Suite 7. Clinic hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and occasional Saturdays. Colonias Chiropractic specializes in helping people with pain.

The evaluation process includes asking and answering two key questions: Is this really a muscular or a joint problem? Is this beyond our scope of practice? The biggest source of stress for Colonias Chiropractic practitioners involves the inability to help the conditions of all patients, some of whom have conditions such as a fever that can't be helped by chiropractic therapy. If and when the members of the practice can't help, chiropractors will assist the patient find a therapist who's able to do so.

Griffin cited the challenge of a current case as an example of where chiropractic techniques can help. A spinal meningitis patient lived through a coma and "a close call with life on the other side," according to Griffin. "Six months later, problems with hearing, vision and fatigue still remained. We're making much headway, and even if healing occurs slowly, we know that we can help make the patient more comfortable," she added.

Besides her mother with whom she works, Griffin's other family members include her father Allen Ferguson, who is a retired attorney, and two brothers in Texas - Jason Russo (Teresa Garcia) who works for Dell in Austin, Texas and Blake (Marla) Ferguson and their children who live in San Angelo, Texas where he serves in Air Force intelligence. Griffin's husband, Jamie Griffin, travels for his job as regional sales manager for Hengst Auto Parts Company, a German firm. The couple raises their two children: 5-year-old Isadora and 9-month-old Collin. Both attend pre-school and infant care (respectively) at Inspire. "The arrangement for my children allows me to care for other people," the chiropractor explained.

At home, the family enjoys walking, swimming, yoga and skiing. Movie time at home remains especially popular as an indoor spare time activity. Along with the children, Griffin and her husband enjoy cinema favorites such as the Harry Potter series, Star Wars, fantasy, science fiction and adventure. Jamie Griffin prepares his wife's favorite food - smoked chicken - a process that requires four hours of cooking time.

Recently, members of Colonias Chiropractic Center presented at a University of New Mexico-School of Medicine workshop in Jan. 26-28. This year's topic focused on myofascial pain syndrome and trigger point diagnosis and treatment. The workshop included continuing education credit for members of the medical field. "I'm sincerely grateful doing what I do, helping others to heal themselves and sharing information," said Andrea Griffin.