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

A seminar weekend

This weekend I had an exciting opportunity to attend a free seminar with doctors in the field from Omaha, Nebraska! I went with a fellow Campus Guide friend who is from Fremont, Nebraska, Stacia Kampschnieder. The seminar was very unique because it was held in a small office with many chairs, mimicking how BJ Palmer used to set up talks in his own office. If you have ever toured the mansion, you may remember the room he used to have lots of people come and discuss chiropractic with him in. The place we visited was bought and fixed up by a successful doctor in Omaha and it’s nicknamed “The Source”. He wanted it to be a place of philosophy just like the founders of our profession! It had BJ and DD painted on the walls inside, along with many of BJ’s epigrams that you see around the school!

We got to join the doctors who had been in practice anywhere from 3 to 30 years and listen to their discussions on topics ranging from Caljam, green books, Chestnut wellness, insurance practices, goals in practice, how to explain chiropractic, universal and innate intelligence, success stories and what they do for fun! The list goes on! They even included us in the conversations and asked us questions. It was a really neat experience and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to join Stacia!

That being said, I am happy there are so many learning opportunities, seminars, clubs, and speakers once you arrive here on campus. These are all great ways to supplement our classroom education! We can never be done learning, right?? Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City and Des Moines are all popular seminar locations as well, and are an easy weekend’s drive away. There are often many events right on campus or in Davenport as well because of the amount of eager Palmer beavers that want to learn! It truly is what you make of it and it is about how much time and effort you can devote to becoming a great chiropractor while you are here. Sleep lots, but spend your waking hours wisely, my friends! I’m trying! Ha, ha!

Kaileigh Strath, 4th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus

44 credit hours…yikes!

One of the most common questions I get asked by prospective students when I’m giving my tours is some variation of “What is it like taking 30 credit hours a trimester?  How do you do it?”  My answer is that it’s like being in high school again.  Most people went to high schools where they had 7-8 classes a day, about 50 minutes each, with 5 minutes of passing time in between.  Yep, that’s Palmer too.  With a few differences, of course.  They are usually relieved to hear that there’s a lot less homework and assignments at Palmer, mostly just studying for exams, practicals, and the occasional quizzes.  Not to say that you won’t be busy, but it’s definitely doable.  Lets face it; this is a graduate school program to become a doctor.  You don’t exactly expect or even want it to be easy.  But hundreds of people graduate from Palmer every year, and they got through it—so can you!

That being said, it was a bit of a shock for me when I logged onto the Portal this trimester (our school website where we can view our schedule and grades) and saw that I am registered for 44 credit hours!  That’s definitely a record setter for me.  Don’t worry, 44 credit hours isn’t “normal”, even at Palmer—12 of those hours are elective hours that I voluntarily signed up for.

During the break between trimesters I took the Activator elective, where we learn the basics of Activator adjusting.  The Activator is a handheld instrument that delivers a specific, low force adjustment (often called a “pogo stick”, “thumper” or “clicker” by patients).  It involves protocols where the doctor checks the comparative lengths of the patient’s legs while playing “Simon says” with the patient (not really, but they’ll have the patient do things like “Put your left arm above your head”, “Shrug your shoulders”, and “Push your forehead into the table”, for example).  The actions that the patient performs isolates specific spinal segments and causes a change in leg length if that area is misaligned and needs to be adjusted.  It’s a pretty neat technique and a popular elective for students at Palmer to take.

Every Tuesday and Thursday evening for the first half of the trimester I’m taking the Thompson elective, which is a technique that utilizes the segmental drop table.  Dr. Thompson was a Palmer grad who developed the table and adapted existing adjusting techniques for use with the table.  The drop mechanism increases the speed of the adjustment so you don’t have to use as high of a force.

For four weekends during this trimester, all day Saturday and half of Sunday, I’m taking the NUCCA elective.  NUCCA stands for the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association.  NUCCA practitioners specialize in looking at the atlas, the top cervical vertebra in the spine, by taking a series of films that allows them to analyze the alignment of the atlas and formulate a specific listing for correcting that misalignment.  The adjustment is done with the hands and is very low force.  NUCCA is one of several “upper cervical specific” techniques that believe the atlas is the most important bone in the body to correct.  The atlas surrounds the brainstem, and in the brainstem is the reticular formation, which is the control center that causes muscles in the body to extend.  When the atlas is misaligned by even millimeters, it can put pressure on the brainstem and cause muscles along the spine to contract, and thus other bones to misalign, nerves to be irritated, and symptoms to appear.  Correcting the atlas goes to the source of the problem and relieves the pressure on the brainstem, thus allowing the rest of the spine—and body—to correct itself.  There are some who find it hard to believe that the atlas is the main place in the body that can be the source of so many symptoms, but upper cervical doctors have done a lot of research and get great results with their patients.  If this interests you, I encourage you to read the book “what TIME, tuesday?” by James Tomasi about how a NUCCA adjustment saved his life.

So while Palmer keeps us busy with classes and electives, that’s one of the things that makes it such a great school.  I feel so lucky that we can learn so many adjusting techniques, not only in the curriculum, but also as electives.  In several of the electives I’ve taken, students and graduates from other chiropractic colleges have been in the classes taking them too because they weren’t offered at their colleges.  There’s something for everyone at Palmer, whether you plan to adjust full spine, upper cervical specific, subluxation-based, tonal, hands-only, with an instrument….and if you have no idea what any of those things mean, that’s okay too, because you’ll learn—after 30+ credit hours a trimester, you’d certainly hope so!

Alissa Grover, 7th Trimester Student
Davenport Campus