How I Became Interested In Helping Others
My interest in the healing arts began as a young boy. I was the kid going around the card table over the holidays giving back and shoulder massages to all of my relatives. As early as the 5th and 6th grade, I found myself reading books on acupuncture, reflexology, herbalism, and anything else I could get me hands on. Not only did I enjoy reading and learning, I then had to try everything out on whatever willing subjects I could find! This interest wove itself throughout my life for years, eventually leading me to chiropractic school. Both my dad and sister are massage therapists as well, so the love of helping others through body work and related practices runs in the family!
I began my studies in biology and chemistry at the University of Wisconsin Barron County and then UW-Eau Claire and went on to complete the final part of my studies at Northwestern Sciences University in Bloomington, Minnesota where I received my Bachelor of Sciences degree in Human Biology. This is also where I attended chiropractic school and received my Doctorate of Chiropractic degree in 2015.
Some of my major current influences include the work of Stuart McGill, Robin Mckezie, Leon Chaitow, Karel Lewit, Michael Shacklock, Phillip Snell, Lorimer Moseley and David Butler.
Their work spans a number of fields of research and clinical practice including: manual therapy, spinal biomechanics and rehabilitation, McKenzie method (MDT), muscle energy technique, neurodynamics and pain science education (PNE).
The Backstory To My Current Clinical Approach
It was both curious and ironic that while in chiropractic school, without any specific triggering injury or incident that I can recall, I began having frequent low back pain. Though never severe, through prolonged periods of sitting - frequently for 12 hours a day or more - my back ache grew more frequent. I noticed that after weightlifting, the deep aching I would experience when studying grew more frequent and intense. Not long after graduating chiropractic school and entering practice, I suffered a lumbar disc herniation one day at the gym while heavy weightlifting (deadlifting). The resulting pain was so intense that I was completely incapacitated for several days and could not move without significant pain another week after that. Naturally, I sought chiropractic care which, to my frustration, did surprisingly little for my back pain. Whatever relief I experienced from it was mild and short-lived.
I began searching my network and online resources of recommended experts both inside and outside the chiropractic profession. To my relief, I discovered Phillip Snell’s work at fixyourownback.com and found it both tremendously insightful and immediately useful in quieting my pain and preventing future aggravation and reinjury.
At the same time I was beginning clinical practice in a busy, high volume clinic where I was fortunate to be exposed to a lot of different cases within a relatively short period of time. The one thing I continued to hear from new patients was that their previous chiropractic experience had helped...for a while...but then their pain came back.
Using the treatment methods and protocols I had learned in school, I found that while I was able to help a broad swath of the population to some degree, when it came to managing cases that were either extremely acute (meaning the patient was in severe pain) or were particularly stubborn and which the patient had had for a long time, the standard chiropractic approach proved to be frustratingly inadequate.
With my desire for improved clinical outcomes, I continued my quest, searching for the who’s-who’s and ‘best-of-the-best’ at ‘fixing’ musculoskeletal disorders. It mattered little me what field or discipline the treatment approaches came from; I was only interested in figuring out who was getting results.
This quest led me to the work of internationally renowned spine researcher and low back expert Stuart McGill, along with the well-know physiotherapist Robin McKenzie’s work out of New Zealand. Some of my other recent influences include the work of Karel Lewit M.D. and the Pain Science Education (PNE) work of Lorimer Moseley and David Butler. It will be a lifelong quest to continually improve my clinical skill set to achieve better, faster, longer lasting results for my patients.
What Makes My Approach Different
Certainly the hybrid approach that I have begun writing about above is one way in which I think my care is unique; another thing that I think makes it different is the strong emphasis it places on patient education, empowerment and autonomy. While the benefit of various kinds of manual therapy is without debate, I place much greater emphasis on active rather than passive care. This means educating patients on simple self-treatment methods and preventative measures they can take to manage their own spinal health. This reduces healthcare cost both for them as well as our healthcare system as a whole.
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