Advice for chiropractic students from chiropractors

Palmer alumni offer their advice to chiropractic students on how to achieve success. Do you have advice you’d like to share with current Palmer students or new graduates? Email minda.powers@palmer.edu.

“My advice is to find successful people you respect and would like to be like AND listen to what they have to say. Also, don’t ever take advice from anyone who is failing or struggling. Learn how to be awesome from awesome people.”

– Brad Meylor, D.C.

An Epidemic Spine Problem In Our Society, Forward Head Posture

By Gregory E. Johnson, D.C. (Davenport campus ’81)

Forward Head Posture & Its Damaging Effects On Our Health

One of the most common problems we see at our office, Advanced Chiropractic Relief , that causes neck and/or low back pain is Forward Head Posture (FHP), which increases the gravitational weight-bearing forces and creates abnormal compressive stresses on the muscles, ligaments, disc and joints of the spine.

Dr. Gregory Johnson

Dr. Gregory Johnson

This aberrant compression stress on disc, muscles, ligaments and joints of the spine can cause three to four times the amount of stress on the muscles, disc and ligaments. If left uncorrected, it will cause the nerves that exit the spine to function abnormally (known as a pinched nerve), causing a variety of different health problems. These may include headaches, simple tension in the neck, upper back, shoulders mid back and all the way down to the lower back and pelvis. It can also cause more serious spinal conditions like bulged and/or herniated disc, as well as degenerative disc.

Gravity is always pulling us down towards the earth 24/7, whether you’re sitting, standing, sleeping, walking or doing any other activity a human being might do during their everyday activities of living, both at work and at home. We have become a sedentary society for the most part, sitting most of the day as we work on a computer or at a desk with our heads leaning or bent forward from our shoulders. This means FHP is very prevalent in our society. Not only does it cause serious postural problems, it can also cause compression of the upper cavity and lower cavity, which includes the lungs, heart and vasculature out of the upper chest cavity and above the diaphragm (which can lead to hiatal hernia conditions or other gastrointestinal conditions.

Our children are already showing signs of having FHP in their lives with school work, computers, handhelds, cell phones and other high tech devices (i.e. gaming controllers like X-Box, Playstation, Nintendo and others as well). You will see that this younger generation will have more spinal problems than any other generation to date because of their aberrant posture on a daily basis.

Posture is a mirror of spinal bio-mechanics, and if your posture is bad, so is your spinal alignment (bio-mechanics). One must remain vigilant when performing any activity of daily living, such as sitting, standing, sleeping, bending, twisting and rotating to make sure we are doing it in a manner consistent with normal upright posture.

If you look at pictures taken of you earlier in life from the side view, you would be able to see if you have had FHP for a while or not. Professional analysis of your posture is the best way to know for sure. Chiropractors are experts at evaluating posture and spinal alignment.

Your Houston Chiropractor,
Dr. Gregory Johnson

This post was originally published on Dr. Johnson’s blog, Your Houston Chiropractor Dr. Gregory Johnson. The above edited  was content posted here with permission. Visit Dr. Johnson’s YouTube channel to see his videos about chiropractic.

 

 

Chiropractic miracles: Hope for the hopeless

We have seen incredible changes in individuals since our office opened in 1986. Specific chiropractic has had a rich history in seeing sick people get well and in seeing seemingly hopeless cases turn around. I’ve compiled a number of examples on our website of people who have greatly benefited from chiropractic care. Visit the Results page to read more.

In health,

Joseph A. La Barbera (Davenport ’85)

My chiropractic miracle: One month to live

I grew up in the South Bay area of Los Angeles. I chose chiropractic as a life career because, once when I was very young and again when I was in high school, something happened to me that changed my life forever.

As an infant, I suffered with severe asthma. I was in and out of hospitals and medical offices, and was constantly on medication. I had to sleep in an inclined position, and someone had to stay up with me so that, when I couldn’t breath, they could turn on steam or rush me to the hospital.

At one point, at about the age of one, my parents were told that there was nothing more that anyone could do and that I had about one month to live. It was at this point that they decided to take me to a chiropractor. Dr. Charles Jones, a Palmer-trained chiropractor in Torrance, discovered that my top vertebra–the atlas–was jammed up against my skull from a birth trauma. This was causing interference with the delicate nerves that, among other things, control the lungs and entire respiratory system, causing them to dysfunction.

Dr. Jones gave me my first adjustment and, shortly afterwards, I began to cough up large amounts of phlegm and mucus. Within a week, and after a few more adjustments, I was breathing normally with no signs of asthma. I grew up with regular chiropractic care and enjoyed a very healthy, asthma-free life, thanks to chiropractic.

Now for the second part of the story. In high school, with no signs of any respiratory problems, I focused my life on competitive athletics. While playing football, I was injured and developed a serious condition known as a disc herniation. I had constant pain in my lower back and right leg. Over time, I couldn’t run and walking became difficult. After considering surgery (the only option, according to the surgeon), I again turned to chiropractic. It worked so well for me, and I was so impressed with the other miracles I saw in the doctor’s office, that I eventually went to chiropractic college myself. I now dedicate myself to helping others find the cause of their ailments and seek out natural, holistic solutions to health problems.

Donald J. Baune, D.C. (Davenport ’79)

Hard work, cigarette butts and the value of chiropractic

Dr. Joe and an infant patient

My dad, Jack, passed away last month, and not a day goes by I don’t think about him and the role he played in helping me become the person I am today. He worked as a landscaper, but that only begins to describe the range of jobs he took on to provide for me and my five brothers and sisters. And despite all the early mornings and long hours, often it wasn’t enough. But he never became discouraged–that just meant it was time to get creative.

There was one chiropractor in our hometown, and although I’ll never know the specifics, he and my father had an arrangement where my dad would do all the landscaping outside his business, and in exchange the doctor would provide free chiropractic for our family. I can remember once, after a huge snowstorm, my father grabbing the shovel and walked two miles uphill, through the unpaved streets, to shovel this man’s parking lot. That’s how important he thought it was for us to receive chiropractic care.

Now that doesn’t mean my dad did all the work himself; sometimes he would have me and my brother, Jon, help him. My job always was to pick the cigarette butts out of the lava rocks in front of the office. I HATED this job. I couldn’t kneel down on them because they hurt my knees, and stooping over for too long hurt my back. I hated cigarette butts, I hated smokers, I hated the stupid lava rocks and whoever put them there in the first place. But my dad was not one to negotiate. I can still hear his voice to this day: “Make sure you don’t miss any of those butts.”

Thankfully, I never associated any of that dislike with chiropractic. I went on to study chiropractic at Palmer, graduating twenty-five years ago, in 1988. Today, Grice Chiropractic has two offices in Pittsburgh, staffed by four Palmer grads. I love my work with our patients, and I love my work with the State Board of Chiropractic, where I get to work with great chiropractic professionals and oversee the integrity of chiropractic practice across the Commonwealth.

I like to think none of this would have happened were it not for my dad. He valued chiropractic so much that he was willing to do work extra, without pay, to ensure his children received the best care. If there is any advice I can provide to those considering a career in chiropractic, it is the same that my dad shared with me so many years ago: the value of chiropractic is something to be held in the highest esteem.

Dr. Joseph T. Grice (Davenport ’88)

http://www.gricechiropractic.com

http://www.facebook.com/gricechiropractic

How our office is celebrating Founder’s Day 2013

Happy birthday, Chiropractic!

Founder’s Day, on Sept. 18, 1895, is acknowledged as “birth date” of chiropractic. Chiropractors around the world recognize it in a number of ways. – Editor

At our office, we are celebrating chiropractic’s birthday by having a birthday party with a birthday cake with “Happy Birthday Chiropractic 128 years young and growing” on the icing.

We’re offering office visits at the same cost as when I first started practice in 1970. An office visit in Leon, Iowa, was $3.50 at that time. So on Wednesday, office visits will be $3.50 for everybody for the entire day. They office will be decorated with birthday banners and the story of how Chiropractic started will be relayed to the patients. Also the story of how I got started as a chiropractor will be shared. It ought to be a fun day.

Harvey J Feenstra, D.C.

Why I became a chiropractor

Dr. David Palmer

I was born in 1935 and grew up with a father who was a 1923 Palmer School of Chiropractic graduate. All my young life I received chiropractic care from Dad. My first experience with a medical doctor was when I ran a nail into my knee. Then at the ripe old age of 14, I learned what an aspirin was. I developed a bad toothache, and Dad went and bought a bottle of aspirin and made an ice pack to kill the pain until we could get to my uncle who was a dentist.

Over the years I observed the multitude of patients coming to the home office to see my father. After college, I took a teaching job in Cincinnati where my wife Marilyn and I settled. Then I went to the University of Cincinnati for a graduate degree. While working part time for the University, I was offered a full-time position and became the director of Financial Aid. I worked for the University from 1960 to 1965 and decided to visit the Palmer College of Chiropractic with my wife in the fall of l964. In the winter of l965, I decided to quit the rat race of college administration and the working 60 to 70 hours a week and become a Chiropractor. I enrolled in the spring of 1965.

However, as good luck could happen, Dr. Dave Palmer decided to open the Palmer Junior College at that time and asked me to work in the junior college. It was a late-afternoon and evening program and would work well with my studies at Palmer College of Chiropractic.

I will always thank Palmer and Dr. Dave for my education and for the many years since 1968 when I graduated. I try to be generous and in the l980s was instrumental in forming the Indiana Palmer College of Chiropractic International Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship Program, which today offers two $1,200 scholarships a year. Then, after seeing that off the ground and doing well, I have sponsored a scholarship for a student that is an Eagle Scout. To this day I continue contributing to this Eagle Scout fund.

God bless Chiropractic and God bless Palmer,

Ronald W. Woods, D.C., PCC ’68, son of Dr. Ralph Cook Woods, D.C., PSC ’23

Chiropractic changed my life

Chiropractic changed and saved my life. I remember I was in 6th grade. I was rough-housing with my sister and fell off the couch. I hit my head on the coffee table and subluxated my upper thoracic vertebra. It had been a couple of months when I started developing severe asthma, and I had never had asthma before my entire life.

Dr. Greg Johnson adjusting one of his patients.

I went to every allergy and asthma specialist in the tri-state area. All they did was give me pills and allergy shots for the next two years. My asthma got so bad that I was taken to the hospital and put in an oxygen tent, shot me up with epinephrine, and I had to quit playing all my sports activities.

Finally a friend of my mom’s referred her to a chiropractor who was a Palmer graduate that had helped another child with their asthma. She took me to him, and within three months of being treated by this Palmer graduate, I had no more asthma.

I knew in the 8th grade I was going to be a chiropractor. Traditional medicine failed me miserably. I knew I wanted to go to Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa because I wanted to go to the best school for chiropractic in the world. Palmer has always been The Fountainhead of chiropractic, and I graduated from Palmer in Davenport in 1981.

I have treated tens of thousands of patients in my 32 years of practice. I am as passionate about chiropractic now as I was then. I see chiropractic changing people’s lives every day and have had several patients go to Palmer themselves after being treated by me. I believe strongly that Palmer College chiropractic teaches their students how to adjust the spine better than any chiropractic college in the United States. I am now sharing what chiropractic benefits are for people on YouTube.

I encourage every Palmer graduate to continue to educate the world about the benefits of chiropractic care. Continuing education is also very important for your continued development and skills. Becoming a chiropractor and going to Palmer College was the best thing that could’ve ever happened to me. I believe every chiropractor should visit Palmer  in Davenport  just to see where chiropractic actually came from.

If I could pass any tips along to Palmer students, it would be to study hard and really learn about the spine and the nervous system. Chiropractic is about so much more than just “cracking” necks and backs. Chiropractic philosophy is exactly the way B.J. Palmer taught it in his day. The vertebral subluxation complex does exist, and correction of this disorder will save many lives. Chiropractic is the most rewarding profession anyone could ever be in. Don’t forget to keep getting adjusted yourselves throughout your professional career. Keep changing lives through chiropractic care.

Sincerely,

Your Houston Chiropractor

Dr. Gregory E. Johnson D.C.

Davenport Campus, Class of 1981

 

What I’ve learned after 30 years in practice

I graduated from Palmer in Davenport in December 1982. After graduation, I associated in an established practice for 2 years and then struck off on my own. I began my practice with a typewriter and a copier.

Most of our bills were done by hand on paper. Mountains and mountains of paper. Faxes had not been invented yet. There was no email. The social media was called a telephone. Most people wouldn’t have modern “off-the-shelf” desktop computers for another 5 to 10 years or so. And when computers began to emerge for the public, their operating system (on “modern” TRS-80 computers from Radio Shack) used CMOS. Instead of colors and icons, you were greeted with a black screen and this: C:\.

Photo from hoolawhoop.blogspot.com

There were no clicking on icons or “copy and paste” shortcuts. There wasn’t even Solitaire or Mine-Sweeper. There were some naissant black and white T.V. video games (Pong and Tanks). Pac-man would soon arrive and add color! Video arcades were on the horizon. Bill Gates would start marketing Windows in late 1985, and I bought my first “real” computer in 1987. It was a little more powerful than a calculator today, with memory measured in kilobytes, not gigabytes.

Prior to then you made duplicates of things with carbon paper and typed on a manual typewriter. Word processing would come later. In that era, “white-out” was as close as it came to word processing. Billing was time consuming. Paper work was a chore that consumed most of your clinic time. It was a very different business environment. New graduates can probably not imagine a world without DVD or Blu-ray, but this was actually even before VHS! Family memories were preserved on super-8 cameras and usually without sound. Cars had cassette players or an 8-track player.

Palmer was also a different place. Lectures were illustrated by the professor writing on a rolling sheet of acetate while the overhead projector shone it’s weak light up on the wall.

My biggest clinical observation therefore is that the modern practice is as different in day-to-day operations in 2013, as airplanes have made the world since the horse and buggy days. Information is almost instantaneous. Phone books are arcane today. Even snail-mail is on its way out. Sending out the clinic billing now goes through a clearinghouse where it’s checked, corrected, sorted and instantly delivered via the Internet with a turn-around from billing to resolution of days, not months. Patient record keeping still usually involves some paperwork, but that also is being phased out for EHR and verbiage-generating software. (Not always a good thing, BTW.) We design our own forms on our own word processors. We print them on our own color printer. We fax records. Our phones are cordless. We digitize X-rays. We back up on carbonite. We email newsletters to all our patients with the click of a button, and we track our billing through the Internet. And sweetest of all, the computer re-paginates my typing automatically, letting me add, delete and spell check my work with a simple mouse click.

As with all invention-based revolutions, from gunpowder, to the steam engine, to the Wright brothers, to the repeating rifle, to the silicon chip, the world is not the same place that it was even just 30 years ago. Everything has changed. We can do twice as much in half as much time! Our modern world is amazing, and we can only presume that our grandchildren will look back on our “modern” era as quaint and archaic, as new inventions come along.

“Grandpa, you actually watched movies on a plain big-screen television instead of in the 3-D hologram portal chamber?” But the one thing that hasn’t changed, and hopefully will never change, is the need for ethics, morality, honesty, integrity and altruism that chiropractors must generate with their patients. No amount of technology can compensate for sham treatments, unethical care or short-cuts when it comes to patient care.

Patients are also more sophisticated now. They expect to know the “how” and the “why,” not just the “what” of the care you’re giving them. Sadly, with modernization has also come some short-cuts in patient care among some chiropractors. Junk science is sadly still too alive and well within our profession. Treatment plans that plan out a year in advance on the first visit are not ethical. Ignoring X-ray guidelines to generate a revenue stream into your clinic when films are not needed is dishonest and immoral.

We have been slow as a profession to modernize our thinking. We still fear guidelines and fight to find our own true identity as a profession. While we want to embrace the modern world, this does not mean we want to embrace a less ethical world. We cannot claim to be equal partners at the health care table when we still cling to outdated and implausible case-management habits. Differential diagnosis and critical thought has been slow in making a foundation for the chiropractic profession, which still relies on health models from the 1800s. We struggle to modernize ourselves, though we long ago accepted the modern world. We struggle with defining ourselves as a profession. We struggle with money, which risks compromises that can poison the chiropractic well for future generations.

To new graduates, I would urge you to be cautious on accepting every scam wind that blows through the chiropractic profession. If you want to be successful, above all else, be grounded in ethics, science and evidence-based care. The best way to make the most money is to make yourself the best doctor you can be. The rest will follow when the core is abundantly constructed. Practice gurus, bogus techniques and eternal treatment plans are also inventions of this modern world. But though we embrace shortcuts in our time-requirements, we need to also be wise enough to reject any shortcuts in our ethics. Ethics have never changed. Loving your patients more than yourself has never changed. And hopefully, they never will.

– Garth Aamodt D.C.

PCC-12/82

www.aamodtchiro.com

 

Everyone needs a mentor … or two

I think some students may not realize the importance of a mentor. While in school, of course we had our favorite teachers and clinicians that we connected with and sought their opinions. But for me, I never really had a specific mentor. I was content with the fact that after graduation I would have numerous doctors I could call for help.

When I moved back home, I received mixed responses from the other Chiropractors. Some were barely friendly, while others were glad to offer their ear if needed.

One doctor in particular was welcoming and, indeed, this was refreshing for me. I had no other option but to start my own practice; there were no doctors hiring associates and none willing to let me join them even as an exam doctor. (I live on an island and commuting wasn’t an option for me).

So I went for it. I had to. Luckily I became friends with another doctor and ended up working for him part time. As a new business owner and new doctor in a seasonal location, I had to find a part-time job. So I started working for him, simply running his office. This is hardly the ideal situation for a new Chiropractor, but I had to work somewhere, and I thought this was acceptable since I was still in a Chiropractor’s office.

Months later, this doctor has become my mentor, and I’ve realized that this relationship is invaluable for a new doctor and new business owner. Although I graduated with full confidence of my ability to diagnose and treat spinal complaints, I quickly realized that there was a huge gap in my education. Not that I blame Palmer at all, it’s just that much of it is learned by trial and error. Although I am glad that I started my own business right out of school, I highly recommend to whomever chooses to go this route to have a mentor. Right now I am still running my mentor’s office part-time, which is another invaluable experience. Even though I’ve worked in customer service before, working in a doctor’s office is completely different. I have a whole new respect for the person who runs the front desk.

Luckily, I also have my mentor’s team as a resource as well. Not only have they been in business for 20 years, but their insurance knowledge is vast. Even if we covered more on insurances in school, it probably would not be enough.

Much of what I’ve learned for insurance has been trial and error, so having another resource is essential. Although both the ACA and my state organization provide doctors with insurance resources, it’s not enough.

A mentor is an important resource, and they can be valuable for your practice growth. Not only am I able to discuss patient cases and get a second opinion if needed, I can easily access a successful business model, remove some of the stress of the insurance maze (that is often overwhelming) and improve my own personal and business skills. But perhaps most importantly, I have a network of people who want to see me be successful and are willing to help me get there. This alone is the most valuable of all.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Burke, D.C. (Florida Campus, Class 113, 2011)

Oak Bluffs, MA

www.islandspinecenter.com