As anyone who has read my biography or has spoken to me knows, that I have been a chiropractic patient for a very long time. What I don't often share is the story behind my journey in chiropractic. It's a bit of a long story that spans all the way from my childhood until now. It is one of the reasons that I am so passionate about what I do, so I feel like it's high time that I shared it. If you have watched the Facebook video that I posted today, that believe it or not is the Coles notes version of it.
My parents started getting adjusted early on in their marriage. My dad had been diagnosed with a degenerative spinal condition before he and my mom had even met. This disease mostly affects men, about 70% more than women. It is characterized by progressive fusion of the spine, which means that ligaments begin to calcify and the spine ends up having no movement. For anyone who knows someone with Ankylosing spondylitis, there is quite a variety in the severity of the illness. It really goes from someone having very little restriction in motion all the way to someone having a fused rod of bone as a spine. Typically patients are on some kind of anti-rheumatic medication as a way to calm down the inflammatory process that leads to the fusion. This condition comes with quite a bit of associated pain. This was the symptom that my dad experienced the most. When he and my mom were first married, he was sleeping on the couch at night because he was in so much pain constantly. My mother suggested that he go see a chiropractor. Neither of them had previously been exposed to chiropractic, but as many people who are in constant pain know....once you are in pain long enough you will try anything. So, he started chiropractic care and saw almost immediate reduction in his pain. My mother didn't start chiropractic care until she was pregnant with my sister, because as any expectant mother knows....pregnancy hurts. So having the regular aches and pains that comes with being pregnant, she figured why not try it.
My chiropractic journey started when I was very young, our best guess is 3 years old. I can't honestly remember a point in my life where I wasn't getting adjusted. I was a really active kid, playing a ton of sports in my young life. My parents were continuing to get adjusted, so they brought my sister and I along as well. Now we didn't get adjusted as kids because of back pain and neck pain, though that was the main reason why my parents migrated toward it. If we did have any issues with back or neck pain we made sure to get our spines checked more often, but for all intents and purposes we were under 'wellness care'. We got our spines checked fairly regularly based on the recommendation of the doctor. We were pretty healthy as kids, though of course we had times where we needed to go see our family doctor, but for the most part we were able to avoid a lot of issues.
We continued getting chiropractic care all the way through school, we played hockey in high school so we were constantly in need of adjustments. In university, I studied Kinesiology at Laurentian University. As part of my graduation requirements, I needed to complete a thesis as well as two internships in my 4th year. I had arranged a couple of internships based on careers that I was exploring, hoping that shadowing respective professionals would help me figure out what exactly I wanted to go to graduate school for. My fall semester internship was supposed to be shadowing PT and OTs at the Children's Treatment Centre at the hospital. My sister had done a lot of work with them, and I felt like it would be a great environment for me to observe. About a week before the semester was supposed to start I got an email from my program coordinator. She told me that fall internships at the CTC were going to be cancelled. The director of the CTC had recently been diagnosed with a serious illness, and things were in a state of chaos. They couldn't handle another student at that particular time. I understood completely, though I would be lying if I said that I wasn't disappointed. My coordinator suggested that I move my winter internship shadowing at a chiropractic clinic to the fall semester. That seemed to be the easiest option given how late in the game things had happened, and the amount of hours that I needed to complete before December. So I started the next week shadowing at a chiropractic clinic in town. It was simply observational at first, but it didn't take me long before I was in love with what I was experiencing. I loved looking at things more clinically, and frankly couldn't wait to be able to adjust someone myself. I knew fairly quickly that I needed to apply to chiropractic college.
The fact that my internship was pushed ahead several months ended up being a great decision. Had my internship started in January, I would have missed the application deadline for the Canadian schools which would have postponed my education a year, and I would have likely missed the deadline to apply for some of the American schools as well. So I applied to a few schools, and was grated admission into two of them. I moved down to Seneca Falls, New York that fall and started my 3.5 year chiropractic education. I loved it.
Following graduation I moved home and started working at various offices around town before settling into something a little more permanent. I absolutely love what I do.
It's amazing to me that a choice made 25 years ago by my parents to bring my sister and I to a chiropractor has had such an impact on my life. If I hadn't been adjusted as a kid I don't know if I would have migrated toward it as a profession. People would argue that if you are meant to do something that it will find you regardless, but I'm really not sure. In any case, I love what I do, and I love being an advocate of paediatric chiropractic. Parents will ask me all the time why they should be getting their children adjusted, so I tell them my story. I would love it if every child in Sudbury could get adjusted regularly. The adjustment has such an impact on the nervous system, and I know that to me true. So for me, chiropractic is definitely more than just back pain and neck pain, it's a lifestyle.
To anyone who wants to get their kids adjusted, or have their spines checked....take a look at the "Contact Us" page for information on how to get in touch with either of my offices to book your initial visit.