Moving on up—to the AHC

It’s my eighth trimester, and I was just cleared last week to move into the Academic Health Center (AHC), the “big boy clinic,” where we see outpatients, or “real” people, as they are comically referred to.

It’s exciting to share expertise and knowledge with patients who really appreciate the time and advice you have to share. The respect I feel and confidence I have in communicating health advice to them even surprises me sometimes. Hah!

It’s refreshing to turn around and say, “Wow, I guess I really DO know this stuff!” The docs told us in class that “It’ll all come together.” As my chiropractic clinical practice becomes more and more real to me, I find myself appreciating those long hours in lecture, lab and study. It’s all part of the journey! As it is said, “He that would have the fruit must climb the tree.”

Vito Spadafino, 8th trimester student
Davenport Campus

Taking on Toggle-Recoil

At Palmer, fourth trimester is a student’s entry into actual adjusting classes. The first of these classes is Toggle-Recoil. The Toggle-Recoil technique was developed by B.J .Palmer, so it is something that we value at Palmer College of Chiropractic.

B.J. named Toggle-Recoil the “hole-in-one” technique based upon the anatomy of the C1 and C2 vertebrae: The dens of C2 fits perfectly through the bony ring of atlas. B.J. quoted in his green book, “A History in the Making:” The only place there CAN BE cord pressure is where the COMPLETE CORD is . . .” The area of the COMPLETE CORD is at the level of occiput, C1, and C2; basically at the base of the skull. If this area is subluxated, then mental impulse to the rest of the body is hindered. Therefore, Toggle is an upper cervical technique where C1 and C2 are the only segments that get adjusted.

The most important part of a Toggle-Recoil adjustment is the recoil. After thrusting, a quick recoil allows the C1 vertebra to vibrate/oscillate within its normal range until equilibration is reached.

So far, we have learned x-ray analysis, and now we are in the process of learning all the set-ups and patient placement for the adjustment. The instructors seem to have a limitless eye for detail, so it always seems like they find something wrong with my set-up. However, I realize that the success of an adjustment begins with a good set-up, and I am grateful that they are helping me become the best chiropractor I can be.

I’m looking forward to the end of the trimester when we have the “Toggle-Off,” which is a class-wide competition to see who has the best toggle technique. I’m a pretty competitive person, so I’ll be practicing hard in preparation. Stay tuned for future blog postings about the “Toggle-Off!”

Leah Hetebrueg, 4th trimester student
Davenport Campus

What a busy week it was!

Whoa! Last week was a busy one!

I am not sure I was prepared for what last week had in store! I got to bed late last Sunday night because I was studying—not because I had to put in the hours like for Spinal Anatomy, but because I had procrastinated again, which doesn’t help me go into a busy week feeling refreshed. Oops!

I looked at my schedule and wondered when I would fit yoga in this week. Then I started to feel a little bit of a sickness coming on—a sore throat and runny nose.  I know exactly why I got sick. I had eaten well, gotten adjusted and exercised, but did I get enough sleep? Did I plan enough quiet time? or was I go-go-go the previous week and weekend? Yep, you guessed it.

I can’t help but feel like a hypocrite when I get sick at Palmer. I’m supposed to be WELL! I want to be a wellness doctor and a wellness advocate, and I believe the first and best thing to do is lead by example.  I am still learning!

First thing Monday morning was our first physiotherapy exam. I had a really good feeling afterward, so my head started to feel better too. Funny how that works, isn’t it? We had class the rest of the day until 3:45, and I headed to a meeting at 5, then to my 6:30 adjustment because I wanted to allow 100 percent functioning of my nervous system for the rest of my busy week!

After that, I headed home to study radiology. I stayed up fairly late again and ended up talking to a friend from home on the phone late as well. Why did I do that before a test?

The next morning our test was at 8:25 and I studied throughout my 7:30 class, but half listened. Sorry Dr. Rowell, I don’t like it when I do that, either! My radiology test did not go as well as PT the day before. Sad.

I went for a nap to sleep it off and get ready for the rest of the day. Then I woke up and studied for a quiz in physical diagnosis at 12:05. I felt ready. It went well! Phew, back on track. Three more classes: cervicals and NMS and PT lab.

After class I headed to my locker to meet my friend for a birthday surprise! I and 3 others took her out for a nice Italian meal. We scurried home afterward to study Toxicology for Wednesday morning. I figured out the best sleep-to-study ratio for me, given the time I had, and then I followed through.

It was tough to wake up at 5:30, but I did it! I was still feeling sick and couldn’t wait until Thursday at 3:45—when my weekend would begin.  Off to class, waiting for the 9:20 hour when our test began! When it was over, I felt good about it, as well, and felt a sense of accomplishment. “Only one more quiz to go this week, Kaileigh! You can do it!” I told myself.

We continued with the rest of our classes, and after school we had wellness club. Dr. Barber came in and talked about a bunch of wonderful ideas she had been brainstorming with about what to bring to campus. She had a certain PowerPoint slide that sticks in my mind about the six aspects of wellness: emotional, spiritual, physical, intellectual, environmental and social wellness. This club meeting helped me reflect on my week. I needed to step it up in the spiritual wellness and the social wellness, and his meeting helped me make a clear decision.

I cancelled my plans for Easter weekend of going back to Canada and decided to stay in Davenport for four whole days with very little planned to nurse myself back to complete wellness. Wow, did it feel good!  After tutoring and working on my toxicology project with my friend, Devanni, I went out for a drink and karaoke with my roommate and my friends from my tri that night and laughed and had so much fun. (Social wellness!)

Thursday was the last day of school before Easter break. I did awful on my NMS quiz, and I should have studied more. But I couldn’t have felt better at 3:45 Thursday! Time to heal!

As I write this, it is just Saturday, and I have been to yoga twice and slept lots. I already feel like my battery has been recharged. (And I have two more full days stil!! Yay!)

As busy as the weeks can be at Palmer, I freaking love it here! It really is a time for personal growth and figuring out who you really are. I am the type of person who plans lots and wants to do more than I can handle sometimes (as you can probably see) but I am still learning to say “no” and to manage my time. I think it will always be a challenge, but I like challenges. That’s what makes us BETTER, right?!

“Every day in every way I’m getting better and better.” I forget who said that quote, but I encourage you to try saying it to yourself everyday and see what happens!

Here’s to wonderful experiences at Palmer and getting to know amazing people and YOURSELF while you’re here. Don’t forget: YOU are AMAZING! 🙂

Kaleigh Strath, 5th trimester student
Davenport Campus

Boards complete. Brain fried. Enough said!

Well, I’ve officially finished my first round of boards, and I can say that my brain is now fried. I can’t believe how much information we have gone through over the last year and half! Although I don’t remember a lot of the stuff we have covered, it was pretty cool to realize how much I have actually learned.

I know that school can be overwhelming, but it was pretty cool to realize that we are really learning stuff. I think the biggest realization of that is when we talk to people who aren’t in school with us, such as family members. They can’t believe how much we know—and yet we feel like we barely know anything!

I feel very fortunate to be here at Palmer and working toward becoming a doctor of chiropractic. I really want to make an impact on my patients’ lives, and I know that I’m slowly getting there. With the first set of boards down, I’m starting to get close. Now I just have to wait until April 27 to see if I passed!


Ryan Etherton, 5th trimester student
Davenport Campus

It’s all about the technique

I am about one month into my 6th trimester and am loving it. This trimester we have transitioned into even more hands-on learning as opposed to strictly lecture. This tri I have two technique classes, Pelvic and Thoracolumbar. In Pelvic we have learned how to analyze x-rays of the pelvis and determine the listings to be adjusted. Over the last couple days we have started learning some of the side posture set-ups for adjusting the pelvis. This has been my favorite part of the class this far, and I can’t wait to see what else we will learn. In Thoracolumbar we have learned both the Diversified and Gonstead ways of adjusting the thoracic and lumbar regions. These two technique classes have definitely caught my interest, and I can’t wait to learn more in them.

As I mentioned earlier, we have learned both the Gonstead and Diversified ways of adjusting thus far in Thoracolumbar, and we will learn more as the tri continues. I very much enjoy the different techniques that are taught in all technique classes.

 At Palmer we will learn what we call the “Palmer Package,” which includes Palmer Gonstead, Diversified, Toggle Recoil, Thompson, Barge Tortipelvis, and Extremities. I feel that this gives us a very well-rounded education on the different techniques out there—and that it will enable us to provide great patient care in the future!

 Hope everyone has a great Easter!

 Stephanie Tronnes, 6th trimester student
Davenport Campus

A season for everything

This dawn of a new trimester has come with some great changes including my perspective on life. Over the short break in between my first and second trimesters my wife delivered our first baby–Olivia Dumond. The whole experience was one that cannot be put into words. Reflecting upon the duration of the pregnancy and then looking at this little one, of whom we have been very blessed to receive, helps me realize that these short years at Palmer will soon pass by.

It is true that I am only commencing my second trimester, but I try to look at it like this: I have less than three years left to soak in as much as I possibly can through training, opportunities, and learning about the legends who walked the same halls that I do each day.

As I ponder this time in front of me, it gives me the courage and motivation to give back while I am here, hence my early involvement with Palmer Campus Guides.

Within this short involvement, I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet some of the great leaders of this school, both of faculty as well as students. I have also been able to learn more about campus and the B.J. and Mable Palmer Residence (The Palmer Mansion). The history is rich which helps us keep things in perspective that we are truly not alone in this great struggle of gaining our education to benefit mankind as a whole.

I have also had the opportunity to have lunch with a prospective student and her family. This was a choice experience that I hope I remember for all time. During the great discussion we had we got on the topic of what the philosophy of chiropractic is. While smiling and having Dr. Victor Strang’s voice in my head from Philosophy, I replied that chiropractic is about allowing the body to heal itself.  I gave my personal philosophy to help illustrate this.

We are products of Deity.  God never has created nor will ever create anything imperfect.  Thus, our bodies have the needed knowledge of how to get and stay well.  In chiropractic lingo this is called “Innate Intelligence.”  I went on to explain that at times we do need intervention from the pharmaceuticals for when need to keep in mind that “there is a time and season for everything.”  Why else would God grant unto us the opportunity to obtain the knowledge and discover the products we have?

This became all too real for me over this last break as I witnessed my wife going through labor and delivery.  She and I both were exhausted from being up throughout the whole previous night and our strength was gone.  She was not coming along very well in dilation and needed to have some help with the contractions and so Pitocin was administered.  As Pitocin started to have full effect the immense pain started to set in, which commonly comes with the “synthetic Oxytocin.”  My wife started to look at me sternly and let me know that she wanted something to help her.

I recalled how we wanted to proceed through labor and delivery as natural as possible, however I had to take into consideration some of the events that had recently taken place.  She had been administered a synthetic hormone that causes intense contractions. She was also extremely exhausted and I knew that if she was not given anything she would not have the needed strength to deliver the baby, therefore causing more problems and complicating the end goal of the last nine months: a healthy baby. 

Pain medications were administered in degrees which would allow her to rest (fall asleep actually) in between contractions as well as not feel the full effect of the Pitocin.  As I watched her fade into the sleep she desperately needed I felt we had made the correct decision.  Even though my wife did feel some of the contractions, which were getting more frequent and more intense, she was not feeling the full effect.  The interesting event was when it was time to push my wife was immediately “back in the game” and ready to get the baby out.

After only 20 minutes of pushing (which is DARN good for a first baby!) Olivia Dumond was delivered by her dad (yep, that is me!) with a little help, of course, from our midwife. =)

 This whole experience was one that awakened my outlook on medicine.  I will never forget the thought and feelings that I received sitting on my little cot-bed next to my wife while we were deciding on medication or not for the labor.  I had thoughts come to me that explained that we, in this day and age, have been blessed to have this knowledge and ability to help people when the time and season are correct.  This was the right season and the correct time for my wife to receive help.  I am forever grateful for the thought that, yes, we are blessed to have the knowledge and technology!

We cannot dismiss the effectiveness of allopathic medicine when it is used properly.  My recent personal experience has reminded me of its blessing in my life through assisting my wife during that pinnacle time in her life and Olivia’s.

When to properly use holistic or allopathic medicine is a matter of wisdom—knowledge applied at the right time and during the correct season.  It is up to us, as lifetime learners, to receive the needed knowledge through many avenues, gain the experience of applying it correctly, and be open for true intelligence to whisper to each of us when we need that extra help.

Anton L. Keller, 2nd trimester student
Davenport Campus