As a disclaimer, please understand that this is not my disapproval of surgical interventions, as we see a number of different musculoskeletal cases that do require surgery. These procedures are extremely effective, provide the relief and outcomes they were designed to provide, and they are life changing for the patients’ quality of life. The point I make with my story is that my father was given no education on what the problem was and what self-care management strategies he could have undertaken. The conservative therapy options, although relatively limited at that time compared to now, were not offered to him. Lastly, a rather extreme procedure was suggested to him as a relative first line of defence. I remember asking my father after he told me all about his struggles during this time if he would have gone through the surgical procedure if he had to do it all over again. His answer was a stern ‘hell no’.
Going back to when I was 12 years old and struggling with an injury that I thought was going to prevent me from playing sports, my father decided to bring me to his chiropractor who had been helping him with his low-back almost since he realized that surgery had not helped his problem. This chiropractor owned a clinic in the basement of a home in our neighbourhood, and my dad credited him as being the only person to have ever helped him with his low back pain. In fact, it was only after a few months of seeing him that my father was actually able to return to playing competitive soccer, and did so for the rest of his life.
My initial impression of this chiropractor was not what I had expected. We sat together with my father and went through a complete history of the pain, my previous injuries, thorough details about the sports I was playing and what I was expected to be able to physically perform with those sports. The chiropractor specialized in sports injuries and quickly diagnosed my injury, explained what treatment could be provided, and what my strategy was to manage the injury at home and what sports I could play. He incorporated pain relieving machines, manual techniques that resembled massage, and thoroughly taught me about what I should do and what I should avoid while I was recovering from this injury. The best part of it all as an avid 12 year-old athlete, was that he reassured me that I didn’t have to give up sports!
As I grew older, continuing to play competitive sports and suffering my share of various injuries, I visited this chiropractor for treatment and he was always able to diagnose the problem, provide a treatment plan and prognosis for recovery, and keep me as actively involved in sports to the limits that the injury could sustain. Even as a young boy, I had always been fascinated in healthcare and medicine, thinking that I would eventually become a medical doctor. Then quickly realizing I had a phobia of blood and needles from past personal experiences, I turned my attention on conservative therapy options, such as physiotherapy. It wasn’t until I met this chiropractor that my educational pathway completely shifted.
Almost 30 years later and 13 years into clinical practice as a chiropractor and multi-disciplinary clinic owner, I look back at how and when I truly developed my true passion as a healthcare provider. Without a doubt, it was first sparked witnessing the level of care, attentiveness, and therapeutic results my father’s chiropractor had provided over the years as a young athlete. Then, as my knowledge in health sciences grew through my Kinesiology undergraduate education at Western University, I gained a true fascination with the human body, particularly in biomechanics, physiology, and human performance. I then spent four years at chiropractic college in Toronto and also worked at my previous chiropractor’s clinic, which was the key that unlocked the door to how to take your clinical education and put it into real-life practice. And do so as a successful, ethical, and respected practitioner!