Fun times at the West Campus

Fourth quarter is well on its way, and midterms always seem to pop up out of nowhere. They say that if there is an “easy quarter” then this one is it. Relatively speaking. I’m thankful this happens to coincide with summer because I feel like I’m just getting started with exploring the ins and outs of the California outdoors! We don’t have this stuff in Ohio!

We just wrapped up our big prospective student event here, and I must say it was a great time meeting so many potential West Campus students. You don’t realize how much you’ve grown to learn about the chiropractic profession, the West Campus, the surrounding California area, or your own personal “chiropractic vision” until you start communicating with others who are new to it all. It’s refreshing and motivating to see so many enthusiastic people considering to join us here.

We also just had our annual school-wide Play Day at a local park. It was a particularly welcome day off. My classmate Mikey and I almost broke our ankles making fools of ourselves in the 3-legged race but it was well worth it!

Tomilyn Thornberry
4th quarter student, West Campus

My first Bix!

Last month, I was able to experience one of the most anticipated events of the summer in the Quad-Cities area—the Bix7 race. Being from the East Coast, I was a newcomer to the Bix.

Each year people from all around the Quad-City area and beyond—even Africa!—gather to run a 7-mile course that is mapped out on the streets of Davenport. From professional runners to people with a passion for running and those who ran or walked just for the experience, around 18,000 people participated in this year’s race.

I was lucky enough to have a friend whose house sits along the middle portion of the course, so I was able to have an up close look at the proceedings. I enjoyed seeing friends run the race and watching all of the different costumes of those who chose to dress up.

In the evening, I also attended the street festival and visited several vendors, all while getting to spend some time with great friends from Palmer. It was a great time, and of course, a nice break from school work!

Jaclyn Andrews
Third trimester student, Davenport Campus

Keeping busy, having fun at the West Campus

We have such a strong community here at Palmer’s West Campus, with so many different events to be a part of. Just the past three weeks have been packed with adventure and fun social events.

The first week back from break, we had the first quarter/second quarter party, where we welcomed the new students and socialized. We were out at the pool grilling and meeting all the new students.

The next day we went water rafting in Sacramento with a big group on a school bus. It was perfect, sunny California weather, and we were surrounded by great friends. It is such a blessing to have schoolmates that become such quality friends. The day was a blast relaxing on the river, splashing around. We even had some fun on a rope swing.

On the way back, everyone crashed on the bus after the long, fun, exhausting day.

The next day, a group of us got up early to head to San Francisco for the AIDS walk. Our school got together to support and donate towards the AIDS research nationwide.

Phew! Seems like so much already, and I’ve only just begun.

The next weekend, a large group of us went to Scottsdale, Ariz. and spent the entire weekend at the American Chiropractic Association Sports Council Symposium. There we were able to network with many sports chiropractors and hear well-known speakers present on newest research in the sports field. The seminars throughout school have been amazing and so important. All of them keep me motivated in school and show me even more of what is out there to explore in our field.

Since the seminar, there have been even more events. There is always something fun to do here—always a game to see, a speaker to listen to, and a sporting event to play in.

Of course in the midst of all this fun, there is the classroom component. I always make sure to find time to get lots of studying in, but I maintain a healthy amount of fun to keep me motivated through this busy and challenging degree. I love every moment!

Nichelle Francavilla
8th quarter student, West Campus

My power has been turned back on!

The past few weeks have been weird for me because for the first time in my life, I experienced low back pain. It started at yoga one day. I am used to doing hot yoga, and I decided to do more in room temperature. I am not sure if that contributed to it, if it was bound to happen anyway, if it was the changing of the biomechanics of the posture, or something else. I tweaked the way I did one of the postures and felt a sharp twinge in my L5—a vertebrae in my lower back—when I stood up. I have found some postures that make it feel better and have been doing them throughout the day.

On Monday this week, I was not really in pain anymore but went for my biweekly chiro appointment and told my doc what happened. It turned out, when he scoped me, that I had a break at L4/L5. Then he did the arm fossa tests (because he is SOT certified) and a couple other functional tests with me. He found that my right hamstring was weaker than my left and showed me that these tests were the neurological component of my subluxation.

I could see it and feel it. He motion palpated my spine and found that my L5 was PL. I was placed in side posture in a Gonstead set up and my segment moved before he even thrusted! That’s how much I needed it, or it “wanted” to go, I say. After that, he blocked my pelvis with SOT blocks and re-checked my arm fossa test afterward. I was showing better reflexes instantly!

When I stood up, I felt like a new person. My pelvis felt so good! Remember, I didn’t even know, by how I felt, if I was subluxated because I was not experiencing any symptoms anymore. After my adjustment I knew I felt instantly better. This is just another example of why we can get chiropractic care for wellness and not just when we are in pain. Even I didn’t even realize the potential I had for feeling fantastic!

This lit me on fire again because I realized and experienced again for myself how chiropractic care works. I want to be a great chiropractor and share with my patients this amazing new level of wellness and function beyond what they will ever imagine, that they all have the potential to experience.

Kaileigh Strath
6th trimester student, Davenport Campus

Q&A with a prospective student

Recently, a prospective student asked me several questions. Because I know that I had several of these same questions when I was looking at chiropractic schools, I will blog about my answers in the weeks to come.

Prospective student question: Do you feel that you get enough nutrition classes to enable you can give excellent nutritional advice to patients? Or is this something I would have to learn more about outside of class?

Answer: I feel that we learn enough of the foundation for making sound nutritional advice.

The biochem classes are taught specifically geared toward nutrition and give you a good understanding of how the body uses what we put into it, including variables such as what it needs after exercise and in what quantities. Those classes are followed by a general nutrition class that gives you basic concepts of nutrition, a toxicology class that focuses a lot on supplements (herbs, vitamins, etc.) and how to see if they are beneficial for certain things or just old wives’ tales.

The final class in the series is a clinical nutrition class that was added a few tris ago, so I didn’t take it. From what I have heard, it is supposed to give you guidelines on how to give nutrition advice clinically.

Will you need to learn more outside of school? It depends on the amount of nutritional advice you want to give. If you are working in a team setting with other healthcare professionals, you will have a full-time nutritionist helping with that. If you are practicing by yourself, you might need some more specific training—but Palmer gives you what you need to be able to look at something and determine if it is good or not.

I believe Palmer’s nutrition curriculum is the most extensive in any chiropractic program and is enough for giving advice to the general population. If it is more complex case, most chiropractors refer to a good, natural nutritionist or another chiropractor with advanced training because they have a lot more training than we could get.

Joe O’Tool
9th trimester student, Davenport Campus

Helping others cultivate a personal desire for wellness

“Arouse in the other person an eager want.”

 Walking the epigram-lined hallways on Palmer’s Davenport Campus, absorbing words of experience from professors and conversing with fellow colleagues, one quickly gets the message that we are all here to help the population at large.

This is a great endeavor, and huge strides are already being made with chiropractic patients in infinite ways. We know that there will be multiple chances for us to make a difference in others’ lives.

Most students at Palmer have already evolved enough in their thinking to realize that these changes made will only be as great as our patients want them to be. The real challenge is in learning what individuals want and need to elicit this positive change in their lives.

Fortunately we have several classes that allow us to explore diverse ways of interacting with patients.  Ultimately we all want the best for our patients. As doctors of chiropractic who spend hours learning about the importance of innate intelligence, hopefully we all can put our own wants aside to recognize the individuals’ needs before our own.

Let us be the tool for removing nerve interference, allowing innate to do the rest, thereby arousing in these individuals an “eager want” to self improve.

Jennifer Katzer
4th trimester student, Davenport Campus

Clinic Abroad in India: Part 3

Blogger’s note: This is the last of three entries about my recent travels during a Palmer Clinic Abroad trip to India, abridged from my journal.

Our first day of clinic at Al-Arif Hospital had been advertised as a “free chiropractic medical camp,” and anyone could register. We saw a huge variety of people, from old to young, and rich to poor. It was a lot different seeing adults than it was seeing children.  As efficient as I tried to be, people had so many complex issues that it was impossible to move quickly.

I saw many bilateral, radiating pain cases that I referred to the medical doctor. I don’t think he did anything for these patients other than prescribe pain meds, though. I only ended up seeing 13 patients this day. We were instructed to hand out our clinic cards to lots of patients, and to encourage them to come back. I was hopeful of seeing some of them again.

Day two of the hospital clinic went a lot better than day one. I adjusted 32 patients. Some were repeat patients, and I was pleased to see that many of them were holding their adjustments.

Some of them were getting relief, but some of them were not. That was frustrating.  A lot of the people had chronic problems that one or two adjustments probably wouldn’t help much.  I gave them home exercises they could do and told them which activities to avoid.

Day three was supposed to be all repeat patients, although we had some new ones, too.  I continued to see improvement in some of my patients.  We were able to get some boys from a local Islamic school, and they were a lot of fun to adjust.

Now that I have spent a couple of days doing adults, I realize how quickly you can get through the kids. I wish we had saved the school for last, because we could have cruised!

I think a lot of the boys thought I was pretty because they would giggle and blush around me. One brave little boy of about six looked up at me and said, “You’re beautiful!” It was pretty cute.  I’m definitely not anything special, but they think anyone with white skin is beautiful. It was a good boost to my self-esteem. I adjusted 31 people that day, for a total of 134 for the trip.

When I went on clinic abroad, I had hopes of changing lives with my adjustments. We all hear the miracle stories of children being carried in and walking out, or patients with a lifetime of pain that is reduced in one adjustment. Of course, while those things do happen occasionally, they are rare cases. I was able to help some people, but many I was not. And the majority of the people I adjusted, well, I will never know whether my services helped because I won’t have a chance to follow up with them.

What I didn’t expect was that the person I would help the most would be my interpreter. She had confided in me that her family abuses her. I reported it to one of our trip coordinators, who looked into the situation more. I found out she has a mild mental disability, and that she had made some choices that her father and grandmother don’t approve of. These choices re big “no-no’s” in their culture.

I hope she is able to regain their confidence in her and have a better future. Based on her progress while I was with her, I think she may be able to do so. She ended up being such a good assistant. She matured so much during the week we were together. She went from being shy and nervous about doing a patient history or exam, to being able to do pretty much everything on her own, except the adjustment. She also improved her English immensely and was much more outgoing. She was so helpful, always willing to assist when I needed her (“Yes, ma’am!”), taking initiative, and never complaining. I realized how important this experience was for all of the interpreters, and how much more prepared they will be for being nurses.  It was very hard to say goodbye to them.

The day after our last clinic day we left for home, a trip that took over 32 hours from the hotel in India to Palmer in Davenport. Coming back to the United States made us realize how many blessings we have here. Even the dirtiest places of Davenport seem very clean now, compared to the nicest places of India.

I am so glad I had the opportunity to experience another culture in such a personal way, by getting to know the people there and contributing to their health.  It was an experience that has helped me to become not only a better chiropractor, but also a better person. I will never forget it.

Alissa Grover
9th trimester student, Davenport Campus

Proud to wear the clinic jacket, and proud to say I chose Palmer

As of this entry, I am about 2 weeks into 7th trimester, and I am seeing why I have been told that it will be a very busy trimester.

On top of a full class load, I am starting into clinic in the Campus Health Center. I am very, very excited about this and can’t believe it’s really here.

For the past six trimesters I have watched students walk around campus in their white clinic jackets and looked forward to the day when I would have my own white clinic jacket. Well, it is finally here, and it is awesome!

I am so excited to start the process of putting what I have been learning into practice and start helping others. For me that is what it is truly all about.

As I look forward to the remainder of this trimester and the rest of my time at Palmer, I would truly be ungrateful if I didn’t thank the amazing faculty of Palmer who have given me so much.

There are too many to name them all but I want to sincerely thank each of them here. They have changed my life. In turn, I promise to take what I have learned and dedicate it to helping all my future patients to the best of my ability.

If you are a prospective student reading this today and have any question if Palmer is the right school for your chiropractic education, I encourage you to come visit and take a tour.

I love Palmer, and coming here for my chiropractic education was the best decision I could have made.

I hope to see you on campus sometime soon. If I can answer any questions you may have or be of help in any way, please get in touch with me. You can send an e-mail to

Matt Sharples
7th trimester student, Davenport Campus

Clinic Abroad in India: Part 2

 Blogger’s note: Following is the second of three entries about my recent travels during a Palmer Clinic Abroad trip to India. It is an abridged version from my journal. Enjoy!

After a few days of sightseeing in New Delhi, we flew to Hyderabad, which is a large city located in central India.  We stayed at a hotel called the Taj Krishna, which is a beautiful, old-fashioned style hotel. We got to meet our interpreters, who are all female nursing students, and give them instructions on how they can help us.  Some of the interpreters had done this in the past, but mine had not.  She was a sweet, but shy, girl and I hoped that she would open up to me more as the week went on.

The next day, Thursday, was our first day of clinic! We went to St. Anne’s Christian School, which is an all girls school. When we got there, students were all lined up in the courtyard: several thousand of them. They had a really nice opening ceremony for us. Some girls sang, other girls danced, their band played, and they gave us all flower leis. It made me cry! Then we got to work.

We were in a very simple classroom with an open window to the busy outside, and Clint (my husband) commented whenever he came in that the exhaust fumes were bad. I must have gotten used to it. I felt that I was moving pretty quickly that day, although I only ended up adjusting 23 girls. We didn’t have a whole lot of clinic time. We went from about 10-3 with a break for lunch.

Day two of clinic was much more efficient. I started to move faster and was able to adjust 36 girls. The fun thing about working with kids is that they don’t usually have any pain, so they are considered “wellness” patients. You pretty much just adjust what you find without having to worry about any complex conditions.

I did have one girl with ankle pain that I got a really good talus adjustment on. It went “pop!” which startled her, and she said it felt much better after.  I also had a girl with low back pain, and she had a pretty bad thoraco-lumbar junction subluxation that also adjusted very easily, and she also felt improved. It was sad to pack up and leave at the end of the day. It was hard to get from the school to the bus. We were all attacked by swarms of “paparazzi”—the girls all asking for our autographs before we left!

On Saturday we had a free day, and a group of us went to Charminar, which is a large shopping bazaar in Hyderabad.  We ended up spending the majority of the day there, and I purchased a tailor-made sari and kurtha (a type of women’s dress suit) for myself and my sister. We also purchased an ethnic Indian outfit for my husband.  It will be fun to have those to wear to costume parties or out to Indian restaurants in the states.

I think my favorite part of this day was riding the auto rickshaw. Traffic in India is crazy! The only traffic law is to stop at a red light, and they don’t have many lights. In general they drive on the left side of the road (British style), but lane lines are just a suggestion. They basically use the rules of walking for driving. Crossing at intersections and turning were pretty interesting. They just weave in and out of cross traffic like a game of Frogger.

The rides were also a way to see more of the city. There was a barber by the side of the road, the little stands where rickshaw drivers would buy gas in plastic bottles, and water buffalo wandering by. The worst part was the exhaust and polluted air rushing into your face.

The next three days we had a clinic in a hospital called Al-Arif.  Stay tuned for the third (and last) part of my tale.

Alissa Grover
9the trimester student, Davenport Campus

It’s a small, healthy world

Within the chiropractic profession, it doesn’t take long to figure out that a lot of us know each other in this network of health-oriented individuals. A lot of us are at school because our lives were personally impacted by a chiropractor we know from home or somewhere else. We all have our stories of how we were introduced to chiropractic, as well as how we discovered it would be the right job for us to pursue.

Along this journey, I quickly realized that a lot of us Palmer students and alumni are interconnected based on where we’re from, whom we’ve met in classes, who we’ve met at clubs, who we’ve met at seminars and in other learning experiences.

In my case, my dad is a 1982 Palmer graduate, so this web goes back a little further in time. Currently at Palmer, I know of at least six students who are children of my dad’s Palmer rugby teammates. It’s cool to see these students in the hall now that we are here and following in our fathers’ footsteps.  It’s neat to think that all of our dads enjoy their profession so much that their passion for chiropractic and the lifestyle that accompanies the paradigm has influenced all of us to choose the same path.

I have had conversations with these six students as well as other “chiro kids,” and it has been great to say, “Yes! I was never vaccinated, either,” and “Yes, I was adjusted since the day I was born. I’m so lucky and I love it!” And “Yes, I was one of the weirdos whose lunch box contained grapes and carrot sticks instead of Dunkaroos and Doritos.”

Coming here and becoming a part of the “chiropractic bubble” has been an amazing experience because instead of being the oddball for trying to eat well, work out often and get adjusted, we are all encouraged to do so since these are part of the “norm.”

A recent Friday also reminded me of how it is a small world within the chiropractic realm. My friend from New Jersey came to Palmer for a Friday visit with his father since he is positive he will attend chiropractic school and is highly considering Palmer. It was awesome to hear that the reason he is so interested in the profession is that my very own dad has been his chiropractor since he was three years old.

It was a great weekend for my friend and his dad to visit since it was the Bix weekend, and there was a lot going on. I explained that every weekend in Davenport doesn’t involve 14,000 people running a race here and live music in the streets, so they picked a great one to be here! It was a great opportunity for my friend to meet my fellow classmates and get a feel for some of the summertime activities in the Quad Cities. Now if he decides to come to Palmer in Davenport, this network of interconnected chiropractors and chiropractic students will grow a little more!

Kelly Serra
7th trimester student, Davenport Campus