Have you ever left a medical appointment and questioned – What was my diagnosis? What did they say I am supposed to do? As a doctor of chiropractic, I am reminded every day how so many people have questions about their health concerns and often have no idea where to turn. If there’s one thing patients will regularly express their gratitude for, it is the time spent with them explaining everything, which is why patient education and communication is a fundamental component of my clinical approach.
will never forget my school project that I was assigned for my kindergarten graduation. We were asked to create a life-size cutout of ourselves that illustrated what we wanted to be when we grew up. I drew myself wearing a white lab coat with a stethoscope around my neck. At such a young age, I was fascinated with doctors because of how they helped the injured or ill. I knew then that I wanted to be involved in healthcare so that I could one day help others too. Only being six years old at the time, I associated healthcare with medicine and nursing, not realizing that there existed many other professions within the healthcare system.
Growing up I was involved in a variety of activities with a large focus on competitive dance. I started dancing at the age of five and by the time I was twelve I was training five to six days a week. This took an immense toll on my body and when injuries arose, I was advised by my instructors and parents to seek physiotherapy and chiropractic care. I experienced a variety of treatments, some more beneficial than others, but I was always able to return to my activities stronger and faster compared to when I had not received treatment. After experiencing manual therapy, it opened my eyes to other aspects of healthcare outside of mainstream medicine.
When I reached high school, my grandfather’s health started to decline. In a very short period of time, he went from being an active healthy individual, to no longer having the strength to stand up unassisted. I remember questioning what was going on and how his doctors were managing his symptoms. It seemed like every week he was taking a new medication to counteract the side-effects of the previous one. I realize that physical therapy was not going to cure his illness, however, throughout the entire process there was absolutely no mention of any manual therapy to help increase his strength or the inclusion of rehabilitation so that he could maintain some independence. At that time, the only option he was given was to take more medications. He eventually ended up in a nursing home as he was unable to look after himself. As a result of my grandfathers health we lost him at a relatively very young age. It frustrated me that throughout the last few years of his life the only therapeutic interventions provided were to control symptoms, and not address his physical health as a whole. He was never educated on his diagnoses or what other management strategies he could undertake to retain his quality of life.