I sell chiropractic care for a living and at True Potential Chiropractic and I want my patients to be not just pain free, but as healthy as possible because as a doctor I feel like that is my responsibility. However, do I believe in and take my own product ("medicine")?
Here is my story...
When I was growing up I didn't dream about becoming a chiropractor even though my father is a chiropractor and I was getting adjusted on a regular basis since birth. I wanted to be a professional hockey player. As crazy as that may sound, I grew up in small Minnesota town that revolved around hockey and had produced many professional hockey players in the past. Hockey was my life, it was all I thought about and something I trained for constantly. I enjoyed it so much that I developed this crystal clear vision in my mind of me playing profession hockey that it seemed like I could just reach out and grab it if I wanted to.
Then, at the age of 16 everything changed.
It started with low back pain (oh big whoop, right?!). I'd get adjusted and it would feel better for a while and then come back so I'd get adjusted again. This process went on for a couple months and not only was it not getting better, it was actually getting worse. Why was it getting worse? Well, during those two months I was playing high school golf; swinging a club hundreds of times a day and carrying a heavy golf bag around for hours every day. Needless to say, I wasn't doing myself any favors. In fact, it was the golf that was making things worse. I went from just low back pain, to pain down the back of my right thigh. Then the pain continued to numbness and weakness in my right foot. I started to feel really constipated and bloated as well. I lost so much flexibility I couldn't touch my knee caps or sit in a chair. I became a very unhappy person and not a lot of fun to be around either.
So here i was, 16 years old and in fantastic physical shape and condition, yet my health is falling apart. Despite all of the things that were going wrong, none of that really mattered to me. What mattered to me, what really scared me, was that vision I had of me playing hockey that seemed so close and so crystal clear began to fade. It was evident that if things didn't change, if I didn't make a change, I wouldn't be doing what I love to do anymore.
How did this happen?
Since I was getting adjusted from birth it was only natural to assume that my spine would grow naturally as I grew. However, when my problem got to be so bad my father decided we needed to take X-rays of my low back and try figure out what was going on. What we found was an anomaly in my sacrum (the bottom bone of the spine), a normal variation in how the sacrum fuses from 5 bones into one during adolescence. Its totally unforeseeable and unstoppable yet it can throw off the bio mechanics of how the spine and pelvis function. This variation was causing extra pressure to a disc in my low back causing it to bulge and put pressure on the sciatic nerve,. causing all of my issues.
Now we knew the problem and my father switched me from pain management chiropractic care to corrective care chiropractic treatment. He devised a care plan that was going to be six months long, it would lead right up to the start of the hockey season. If this was going to work though, it was going to take a lot of effort on my part. I was willing to do whatever it took, just as long as I could play hockey again. As soon as my high school golf season ended (early June) I didn't pick up another golf club until the following spring. I didn't play baseball, I didn't go out on the boat, I didn't wake board and I didn't do any of the fun things a 16 year old is supposed to do in the summer. Instead, I was spending lots of time at my fathers office getting treatment and learning about how the body heals and what it needs to function properly.
After about a month I was starting to feel better and asked my father if I could start doing more activities. He said yes, but they were not the activities I had in mind. He gave me stretches and exercises to do. As I continued through my care plan the digestive issues began to go away, I started to get feeling and strength back in my foot, the pain receded up my leg and my range of motion was improving. This was awesome, but what was even better was my hockey vision was no longer fading but growing clearer and closer again.
By the start of the hockey season I was given a clean bill of health; no restrictions on anything. I played hockey that winter and continued to play through junior hockey, college hockey and I even joined a minor pro team after my college career ended. I never had another serious back injury since and as I'm sure you can guess, have stayed with chiropractic care through it all.
I knew hockey wouldn't last forever, so I needed a back-up plan for once I was ready to be done. Well at this point it was a no-brainer what that would be. If I wasn't going to be a hockey player the only other thing I could see myself doing was being a chiropractor.
Chiropractic gave me my life back and now I get the opportunity each and every day to do the same for my patients. I want to see people live out their dreams and reach their True Potential.
So do i believe in what I do? Wholeheartedly! I treat my patients with the same treatment I use to keep healthy by getting myself adjusted weekly by another chiropractor ( no I can not adjust myself).
How many other health care professionals can say they treat themselves or their loved ones with the same treatments they prescribe to their patients?