For those of you that are new to "Weekly Well-Being," we've been following a student going through the doctoral program necessary to become an Upper Cervical Practitioner.  Josh and I began chatting when someone sent him one of these newsletters, sparking an interest in Upper Cervical Care.  He was already heading to chiropractic school after years of general care, but the Upper Cervical approach made a lot of sense to him and got him to the next level with his health much the same way it had done for me.  Since before he even started the program, he's been telling us his story, in hopes that it will educate you all as to the rigors of what an Upper Cervical doctor must go through.  TV shows dramatize law school and medical school, but so few know of what chiropractic school is like.  Please take the time to read his thoughts.

Pre-9th quarter blog

Not only is it summer time, but somehow it’s already halfway over. I just got back from a very relaxing and rewarding three week summer break. During that time, I made sure to get away from school as fast as possible and tend to the more important things in life such as friends and family. I spent a lot of time the first week at home. The next week, I went and visited my older brother in Florida for the week. With him being in graduate school and me in chiropractic school, our breaks are NEVER on the same weeks with our crazy schedules. Therefore, this was the first time I have seen him since Christmas. That just seemed way too long to be away from somebody you spend the majority of your life growing up with. So, I made it a priority to get down there and enjoy some time with him. It was really fun catching up and just being together again. Once I got back to NC, my fiancé and I went and visited some good friends from college down in Wilmington and had a really fun weekend at the beach :-).

Those vacations were much needed after a hectic quarter. My classmates and I completed 10 courses (largest course load to date for us). Below is a quick summary of all ten classes we took so you have an idea what we have been studying the past three months.

1)      Clinical Reasoning - This 36-hour lecture/laboratory course is designed to develop the student’s critical thinking skills in the development of working diagnoses and the chiropractic management of the patient. Students apply their knowledge from previous courses and demonstrate the ability to identify and integrate clinically relevant information from case information (history, exam, diagnostic studies,) to formulate accurate diagnoses and appropriate case management.

2)      Pre-Clinic - This course prepares the student for the clinic internship.  The student receives instruction in correlating and integrating information from the case history, patient examination and x-ray examination into the clinical impression.  Health Center policies and procedures and record keeping requirements are covered in detail. Basically, a 10 week course on paperwork, so very boring.   

3)      Entrance Exam – This course is what is supposed to make sure we are ready and “competent” to handle patient cases in the health center. We took a total of 10 tests (1 per week), and had to pass all 10 of them in order to move on to the next quarter. It was a large summary of everything we have learned from first quarter to this day. Although it was a tad bit stressful, all my classmates and I managed to knock them out fairly easy and we all got to move on to Student Clinic!

4)      Clinical Case and Diagnosis Management II - This 48 hour course focuses on assessment, diagnosis, and appropriate management of patient cases that include multiple conditions, risk factors and/or psychosocial disorders.  All elements of doctor-patient interaction are reviewed and discussed including history taking, physical examination, diagnostic studies, development of a diagnosis and determination and implementation of an appropriate management plan. 

5)      Patient Education - This 36-hour lecture/participation course is designed to study and apply verbal and non-verbal communication techniques. Student oral presentations with instructor and peer critique are utilized to provide students with practical experience in educating the public about the benefits of chiropractic care.  Students are expected to prepare a chiropractic health presentation to be delivered to Health Center patients. The experience with Dr. Chad this past March made this class seem like a breeze. While many of my peers seemed to wait for the last minute and was sweating our three presentations throughout the quarter… I was done WEEKS before due to the advice and wisdom Dr. Chad has given me over the past two years. Plus, the weekly well-beings he sends out are always very powerful stuff. The concept of Upper Cervical Care is simple. People don’t get it for many reasons. The three main reasons I believe is 1) It’s too simple they can’t believe it, an 2) They’re brainwashed thinking that they need to take something or put a foreign substance in their body to obtain “health” and “wellness.” I was one of these people for the longest time, until I finally learned WHAT health is and WHERE it comes from. 3) They simply have not heard of it. We have to get the word out!

6)      X-ray Analysis II - This 48-hour lecture/laboratory (12/36) course is designed to instruct the student in visual and line analysis studies utilizing radiographs of the lower cervical, thoracic and lumbo-pelvic spine. Spinal biomechanics and malformations are discussed and correlated, enabling the student to develop accurate listings of vertebral misalignments in the lower cervical, thoracic and lumbo-pelvic spine.

7)      Soft Tissue Pathology - This 48-hour lecture/laboratory (24/24) course deals with the diagnostic interpretation of radiographs of the various systems and organs of the body. Soft tissue pathology is studied using x-ray and contrast media studies.

8)      Thoraco-lumbar X-ray positioning - This 36 hour x-ray positioning course teaches the student practical procedures necessary to obtain analytical quality chiropractic x-rays of the thoracic and lumbar spine.

9)      Spinal Exam Review – This class was a comprehensive course that put all our exam skills learned from the previous quarters and rolled them into a fluent process to help prepare us for seeing patients in a professional and efficient manner.

10)   Applications of Clinical Radiology – This elective lecture/laboratory course is designed to instruct the student in the integration and application of comprehensive radiology information in a practical setting. This course will provide the student with the opportunity to gain advanced knowledge, skills and practical experience in x-ray procedures.

Phew. Good news is: it gets a little easier the next few quarters. Next quarter, the schedule gets knocked down a class for a total of 9, and then it substantially starts dropping. After Christmas, I won’t be taking more than 3 or 4 classes at a time until I graduate. I can’t express the excitement to be done with managing and studying for so many classes and getting to focus on getting people well by letting their bodies express themselves the way they are intended to.

So, at the end of my last blog, I had just completed my first board exam out of five in order to get my license in North Carolina. I was one of the last ones to check my scores in my class. Everyone had checked his/her score first thing in the morning once school started. I wanted to wait until I got home so I can share it with my loved ones back home who have supported me and encouraged me so much through this entire process. I am very pleased and proud of my classmates when I say that all 8 of us passed all six sections of the first national board exam. We have been one of the few classes lately to have a 100% pass rate on the first attempt. We were all very excited about the great news knowing that all our hard work for the past 21 months paid off. All the Friday nights studying instead of having fun, the spending all day Sundays wanting to watch football but have to study because of the multiple exams waiting in the upcoming week, the late nights in the library, the constant sacrifice of balancing studying and time with loved ones…. It all led to us passing the exam and moving on to our next chapter in our careers in chiropractic school!

So, here comes 9th quarter. This is the quarter where we are allowed to start seeing student patients in the health center and start completing our clinic requirements towards graduation. I am very excited to actually apply what I have been training to do for the past two years. My experience at Sherman has gone at an incredibly fast rate, yet at the same time, kind of slow. I feel I have been in school for so long that I don’t know anything else. On my breaks, it takes me two or three days off of school until I realize I am on break. Those first few days, I feel like I have to be studying or preparing for a project or exam. It is crazy how we get on such a routine; we can sometimes get overwhelmed in it. A lesson I learned this summer is taking a vacation is EXTREMELY important for one’s health. Yes, the same term which we associate upper cervical care, proper nutrition, and educated decisions. Letting the body just chill is vital. Look at the world’s strongest men. Bodybuilders who can pull 18-wheeler trucks behind them take complete shutdown weeks every two or three months. Can you imagine being the world’s strongest man or woman and taking an entire week off up to FIVE to SIX times a year? Sounds impossible, right? No. They will be the first ones to tell you that the body needs rest; physically, mentally, emotionally.

So, my advice heading into the quarter? Take a vacation. Throw a dart at a map and go there. Don’t go to the gym for seven consecutive days (for the gym rats only). Take some time to go see some family or long lost friends. Recharge the batteries. The body is a fine-tuned machine. But, we do the most healing and growing when we are resting. We were created that way. God Himself took a day off after creating the ENTIRE universe for six consecutive days. We’re wired to rest, sometimes our society doesn’t allow it, so…….. go against society. Listen to your body.

In closing, this is one of my favorite verses that I have read recently. I want to somehow incorporate this verse into the name of my practice once I graduate. Just have to get creative. It comes from the book of 3 John, verse 2. Note, sometimes verses can be taken out of context, this is simply the apostle John writing to some fellow named Gaius. Nevertheless, we should say this to everyone we love and care for.

“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” (ESV)

As doc always says, thinking good things for you, as always,