The Adventures of Chiropractic School

As I reminisce about my first year at Palmer West, I realize that I have only just begun this chiropractic journey.  Being a student in a chiropractic school you understand that the field is progressing so rapidly that what you PALMERPALOOZA 2013-Z28learned last year could be negated next year. What you tested on to be the “truth” will only be proven incorrect in the next upcoming research and the information provided to you is somewhat negotiable. Isn’t that the fun of the field? Nobody chose chiropractic as a career choice thinking, “ I’d love to sit in an office all day; edit papers, write emails and make phone calls to people that don’t really want to talk to me.” We entered this field knowing that its internal upheaval only leaves room for more progress and more creativity. Think about it…you can be any kind of chiropractor you want once you have that certificate, you can see as many or as little patients a day as you’d like, you can specialize in rehab, weight loss, functionality, chronic pain, endocrine, etc. People in pain need help and we have the potential to have a tool belt overflowing with some of chiropractics greatest tools. So my advice, look at each subject, each club meeting, each certification course and each seminar as a way to add another tool to your growing tool belt. If something disagrees with your philosophy or negates what you were taught last quarter, research it and debate it. The best way to add tools to your belt is to prove that you know how to use them.

Jennifer Drivick
San Jose, Calif. Campus

Stepping out into the real world

Third quarter has turned out to be the quarter of miscellaneous things, and I mean that in a good way!  In addition to our regular classes, in third quarter we take a CPR course (part of Emergency Procedures) and also go to one of Palmer’s Outreach Clinics to do our first “rounds” (part of our Chiropractic Clinical Evaluation I). Rounds turned out to be a pretty interesting experience, and definitely something to look forward to.

I was in the first group from my class to go to Rounds, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect; all I knew was that we were going to a homeless shelter and would be helping out with taking vitals before the patients saw the student interns for a chiropractic adjustment.  It turned out to be a really valuable and interesting experience, as it was one of my first experiences working with real people (instead of my classmates).  I saw four patients and took their blood pressure and temperature, then performed a few general hearing tests and also tested their vision.  I probably spent about 20 minutes with each patient and the questions they asked really validated some of the points I was learning. One patient and I talked about hearing via bone conduction and how that can differ from air conduction, why that matters, and what it means.  In turn, I learned the turning fork I was using to perform the test is the same type that’s used by some musicians, and it’s in the key of C (fun fact!). One patient had blood pressure that was on the higher side, and was really interested to know what all the numbers meant and what he could do to help make them lower.

Although at first, I was a little concerned about how this extra assignment was going to fit into the busy first couple weeks of the new quarter, I’m really glad it was set up as part of the course. All the patients at the clinic were really nice and appreciated the service we were providing.  For some of these folks, it may be the only health screening they have this year, so it was important to be accurate.  For me, it was a great opportunity to talk about what I was learning with patients and also really helped me get my clinical skills in order.

– Jennifer Nolan, West Campus

Those who can, teach

At Palmer, we have some truly amazing faculty. Many of these teachers are chiropractors (who also have their own chiropractic practices on the side) and give of their time so freely. They live and breathe chiropractic to their core and have so much knowledge, passion and philosophy to pass on to us students.

Just in the past week, I heard the “student favorite” Dr. Burns speak in pediatrics club about SIDS and the numerous research studies showing that nearly all babies dying from SIDS had atlanto-occipical subluxations such as an “AS occiput” causing upper cervical cord pressure. I also had numerous 1-on-1 conversations with technique professors regarding clinical situations and adjusting procedures. I couldn’t ask for better faculty-student relationships than I’ve had here at Palmer.

– Lacey

Half-way there and almost in clinic

I am currently in 6th trimester and so excited for what lies ahead in my remaining year and a half at Palmer. I completed my first observations in the Palmer student clinic the other day and got a good taste for what my own clinic experience will be like. I can’t wait to have patients of my own and begin using all of the skills and techniques I’ve accumulated along the way.

I am currently in two technique classes, thoraco-lumbar and pelvic. Therefore, after this trimester, I will have officially learned the entire spine, which is so exciting! So upon entering the clinic in 7th trimester, the only technique class left to take is extremities. The progression of technique classes is very logical, and I love how we now get to start getting hands on in 2nd trimester.

Toggle Recoil … toggle-like?

Another holiday break came around. It is kind of crazy the time that is flying by. I am currently in Toggle Recoil Technique class, and within the next year I will have taken the rest of the technique classes that will be the foundation of my whole future!

Toggle Recoil Technique is viewed by some as an old and outdated technique that we are only taught because of the historical significance not only to our school, but to the whole world! I have had some students from other chiropractic schools ask me if we were taught Toggle Recoil, and I would reply that it is a required class for everyone who passes through our program and graduates from Palmer. Their replies have always been almost apologetic.

From my point of view, I feel apologetic towards them because they are not being taught a technique that is rooted in the history of Chiropractic–one that is backed-up with lengthy research projects that were performed within the same clinic space where we have our first clinic experience during 7th trimester.

It is true that we are not suppose to live in the past or to hold onto events from the past as if they are everything and “it.”  However, we are to revere events of the past and, as we embrace significant moments, we are to build upon them and to improve upon them to better society as a whole.

An interesting experience for me took place in the student clinic the other day (where the B.J. Palmer Clinic was). The Clinic doctor was trying to instruct the students in some hands-on training, and he stated that the thrust should be a “toggle-like” thrust. How often do we actually go through a class or an experience in life that at the moment we feel it is a waste of time, skill, money, etc.? On the flip-side, we need to look into these experiences with more long-term-vision spectacles to see how these can benefit our lives as well as those we will help heal themselves through not only our chiropractic care that we will offer, but also the healing as we take time to hear and communicate with our patients! (And please do not take this as something I have mastered … I am yet a peon in this aspect of enJOYing life.)

-Anton

The Movies Do It. TV Does It. Why Don’t You Do It?

“This is the day of dramatization. Merely stating a truth isn’t enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic. You have to use showmanship. The movies do it. Television does it. And you will have to do it if you want attention.”                      – Dale Carnegie

This statement rings true of the Chiropractic Profession. We are “not” just “back doctors.” As Chiropractors, we have access to more systems in the body than any other practicing physician with the touch of a hand. We focus our attention on hours of extremely rigorous training, research, studying and technique practice to understand the complexities of the human body. Although we may access the the body most often through the spine, we are affecting the human body and all of its entities.

We are at a great time  within our profession. As the population is now leaning towards preventive medicine, we can show the rest of the world how Chiropractic is advantageous to all systems within the body. The efforts in research continue to scientifically support chiropractic as a means to improvement of health and function overall.

It is time to start thinking BIG, as B.J. Palmer once did, and show the world “Awesome” Chiropractic.

– Jennifer Katzer

7th tri, check! Reflections on my first two years

Looking back on the last two years of Chiropractic school, I can see how far my classmates and I have come. At the beginning of 7th trimester when I was entering clinic, I could see how much further I still had to go. However, with 7th trimester now almost behind, I can wipe my brow and say, “I did it.”

Of all of the trimesters 1st and 7th are perhaps the most daunting. In first trimester you are wondering not only if you can do it, but if you can put forth the effort for three years. Then in 7th trimester, as you are asked to go from student to clinician, you ask yourself again, “Can I do this?” It’s a big leap from student to intern, from regurgitating information to critical thinking. At the beginning of 6th trimester if you had asked me if I was ready for clinic I would have said, “No way! I don’t know anything yet.” However, in those short four months I feel like I went through a metamorphosis and changed from just a student to a student doctor.

The same thing happened again during 7th trimester. I entered into it with doubt and excitement. Now that its almost over, I realize that it really wasn’t that big of a deal. I was prepared. I just needed to learn to trust in what I had learned in my classes, apply it and have confidence in myself. After all, the root word of education is educere, which means “to draw forth from within.” For success in the clinic, let go of some of that learned knowledge and let your intuition guide you.

It’s amazing to reflect back on the last two years of school. I came to Palmer without a science background. First trimester was like traveling to a different country. I didn’t speak the language, I didn’t know the people, and finding my way around was somewhat difficult. However, now that I am two years into the program with graduation on the horizon, I can’t believe the progress that I have made towards being a doctor of Chiropractic. So what do I know now that I wish I would’ve known then?

I can still remember 1st tri. It was overwhelming, and it took all I had just to keep up with my class load. Every week I would say, “I’ll go to club this week” or “that seminar sounds like fun.” However, I chose to stay focused on school. Now I wish I would have gone to more clubs and invested more time into trying out different techniques. I shyed away from technique clubs because I wanted to wait to learn a technique in the technique classes within our curriculum. I didn’t want to learn them wrong and then have to unlearn them. However, now that I am an upper tri student, I find it hard to make it to clubs due to other obligations. So now I feel as if I’ve missed a great opportunity to take advantage of the some of the extra things that Palmer offers.

On the other hand, I have taken three of the technique electives. Now I run into the challenge of choosing between techniques in the clinic. I also have the challenge of not only practicing and becoming proficient with Palmer Package, but also with the three other techniques that I have taken. Sometimes I wonder if I have spread myself too thin, but then I remember that education is a lifelong process. Once I leave Palmer I’ll be glad that I took these electives because I’ll have the rest of my life to become proficient at them. Learning does not stop the day you walk across the stage and receive your diploma. It really just begins. As inhabitants of the earth, we are life-long students. There is always something new to learn.

Even though I’m not completely through the program yet (only a year to go!), it’s been fun to reflect back on the last two years. I encourage you to do the same because no matter where you are at in the curriculum, it will surprise you how far you have come along.

– Annie Bernstein (Editor, The Beacon student newspaper)

Taking a closer look

This week I did my clinical observations! Since I am in 6th tri, we follow around the students who are in the student clinic adjusting since my class will be in there next tri starting to adjust—which I am extremely excited for! On my clinical observations I had an interesting experience.  I watched 8 adjustments, and I had an experience I want to share with you.

So the first few adjustments were like typical ones I have been exposed to, where the doctor feels your spine through your shirt and delivers the adjustment through the shirt.  Well, the one student intern I followed did it much different!  This student intern put the patients in a gown, examined the skin, measured the heat difference of the spine from left to right, looked for changes in the texture of the skin, looking for slight changes in the muscle tone, and feeling for joint restriction.  I was absolutely amazed because I had never seen such a thorough exam.  I know there are a TON of different techniques, but this really made sense to me.

As chiropractors we remove subluxations. Well, as a doctor or student intern how do you know if you have found a subluxation? By a restricted joint alone?  Well if we remove subluxations, which cause nerve interference, how is it that that the only finding would be joint fixation?

If a subluxation interferes with the mental impulses from the brain to the body, or body to the brain, isn’t there a way to measure or detect this nervous system interference?  I think so!

If subluxations affect the nervous system and keep it from functioning at 100 percent, then it is our job as chiropractors to solve the mystery of where and how the nervous system has decreased function.  From my clinical observation, I saw how the body can leave subtle clues!

If the physiology is altered, it can causes changes in the skin: such as color change, a skin blemish, patch of greasy or dry skin, swelling, hot or cool patches of skin, muscle tightness or fatigue, and altered motion in the joint.

This makes what we do a bit more challenging, but a whole lot more exciting!  It is neat to see how the highly specific adjustments we deliver to remove a subluxation can alter the human physiology from the outside. Now, just IMAGINE what is going on inside the body!

Chiropractic is an amazing thing. Never doubt the power the body possesses to heal itself if the interference is removed. From this experience in the clinic, I discovered how important it is to be as specific as I can.

I feel that it would be an injustice to my patient if I didn’t take a few extra moments to examine their external physiology.

One of my favorite epigrams on campus that reminds me of this topic is “Chiropractic is specific, or it is nothing!” So my challenge to you is, whatever you choose to do, be specific, and be the best you can be! 

Stacia Kampenschneider, 6th trimester student
Davenport Campus

The power of proof

Finally, from the 5th trimester, we have opportunities to take elective classes as long as we meet the prerequisites.

We get to take specific technique classes that are not the part of the Palmer package, and I had a great opportunity to take an upper-cervical technique class called Atlas Orthogonal. This “AO” technique uses an instrument to adjust, and was created by the founder Dr. Roy Sweat. Dr. Sweat wanted to create an instrument that would give same positive outcomes to every patient, since adjustments can vary for everyone and even within oneself.

One of the foremost things I loved about this class was the amount of research that was done by AO doctors. Many doctors who came over to the Palmer to teach us about AO were involved in many research projects. They wanted to show people that chiropractic works, and in order to prove it, we need scientific proof and written documents.

Also, they wanted to show what they do visually, so they have set up a protocol to take pre- and post-X-ray film. They take post-films immediately after the first adjustment. These post films not only gave them information about the treatment given, but also helped the doctors to set up the treatment plan for each individual. Many patients showed remarkable improvements after single adjustments, regaining their curves back in their cervical immediately. There were cases that required prolonged and numerous treatments, and later on showed improvements. There were cases with patients with Bell’s Palsy and acute torticollis with incredible results.

Also, pictures of patient’s posture and leg lengths pre- and post-treatment were taken to show the patients that there are improvements. It was amazing to see the power of chiropractic, and the power of the upper-cervical system.

This research and actual visual proof of the effects of adjustments are not only necessary for the future of the chiropractic, but to spread the word about chiropractic to many of those who do not know about this profession.

I thought that the classes were amazing, and it would be great if more chiropractic offices would take visual proofs about what they do for both the doctors and the patients. We all know that chiropractic works and about the power of the chiropractic, but if we can show the others who are not familiar with the chiropractic, why not do more research and record proofs about our outcomes and move our professions forward?

Yoon Mi (Lisa) Kim
5th trimester student, Davenport Campus

Athletes turn to Palmer for care

Recently I have been working in the outpatient clinic at the Academic Health Center during my 8th trimester. There have been numerous athletes coming in to get worked on in the clinic, and I have really enjoyed the learning experience I have gotten from it. My staff doctor has made some great connections at the local gym, and, as a result, the word is spreading among the athletic community that chiropractic can help people with their injuries.

I was blown away to see just how much goes in to quality care for a patient, and that the most subtle observations can be the keys to solving the problem the patient is dealing with.

I have seen my doctor take a look at a patients walking gait, and within seconds he can see where the problem originates. Not only  that, but he was able to adequately explain to the patient and I what he was seeing, and why it was important to take care of it.

I suppose, on one hand, it was eye-opening because it showed me just how much better I need to get before I graduate, but it also encouraged me to see that I get to work with staff who really know how to care for patients.

As a student who would love to work with athletes in the future, I am thrilled that I am able to get the experience here at school that will help me know how to treat athletes after I graduate.

Joshua Pattengale
8th trimester, Davenport Campus