Why I Became A Chiropractor by Dr. Kale
Do you ever feel like you were created for a specific reason? Like every step of the way, you were being molded and prepared to fulfill a purpose - a purpose that continually reveals itself?
Honestly, I do!
Sometimes I look at my career path and wonder how I arrived where I am. After that, I come up with a much better question, "how couldn't I have ended up here?"
It begins with a name.
In 1986 no one had any idea that the green leafy "Kale" would somehow become one of the trendiest vegetables of the early 21st century. In fact, I didn't realize how popular the vegetable that I shared a name with was until I moved from Kansas to the golden coast of California. After realizing this, the least I could do to fulfill my "occupational destiny," was to choose a health conscience profession.
My dad was and is an extremely high energy individual, a remarkably hard worker and a man that is willing to do anything to help anyone! Through his hard work, I remember him having recurring back pain and tightness due to tinkering on the cars and lawnmowers or any other activity wreaking havoc on the body. He frequented the chiropractor for his back pain and always felt better afterward, but like so many others he continued the very activities that caused the pain and dysfunction in the first place.
I remember countless days when I was barely in the double-digit age range where my dad would try to have me "adjust" his back as his chiropractor did. It wasn't until after eight years of higher education and almost four years training as a chiropractor that I realized how much it truly involves. As a twelve-year-old, I would just bounce off his back, and you could tell it did nothing for his pain, but he was always smiling when I tried. It is quite evident to me now that this was where my training began.
In Junior High and High School I was heavily involved in athletic teams and consistently working during the summer and after school hours. I started to experience more sport related and acute injuries, and this lead me to my first chiropractic treatment.
Now... I had already encountered plenty of injuries as a kid from minor accidents, broken bones and concussions, but they were all medical doctor visits. My first injury that led me to the chiropractor came from getting hit in the low back during a Junior High football game, giving me an unexpected limp and severe low back pain. This time my parents said I was going to the chiropractor. This time I was finally going to see what chiropractic was all about.
After a history and physical examination, the doctor explained to me why I was in so much pain and dealing with dysfunction. He described the treatment process meticulously and explained how at first there might be some slight pain and popping sounds, but this will all go away shortly. As a young teenager, I was a little skeptical but also open-minded. After being arranged in an unusual side-lying position, the chiropractor slightly rotated my body, and then in my low back there was a resounding "pop!"
I heard it, I felt it, and it was astonishing. The chiropractor thoughtfully asked me how it felt and without hesitation, I said "great!" I jumped off the table and walked around without any limp at all. My pain had diminished but was still slightly present, which he had informed me might be the case.
I was amazed by what the chiropractor quickly was able to do with just his hands. I was captivated by his scientific knowledge of the human body. And I wanted to be a sports doc like him. I knew this is what I wanted to do.
A couple of months later after taking a career aptitude test and learning that I might do well with my personality as a doctor servicing the community, I started looking into it. I investigated and shadowed various clinician and doctorate professions looking into family medicine, surgery, and physical therapy, but in the end, I came right back to chiropractic.
My chiropractor was an ex-athlete, financially successful, a prominent member of the community, and had a flexible and fun family life! It seemed like the dream to me. After realizing more about the career of a chiropractor being very hands-on and entrepreneurial, I was sold.
I began taking all the science classes I could and never altered my path even though I had numerous teachers say "don't worry; you will change your mind a thousand times before you decide what you want to be." In fact, with some of my stubbornness, these teachers may have solidified this career choice!
Admittedly, there were some hiccups.
The senior year of my undergraduate degree I suffered a blow to the head that would result in a frontal skull fracture and a few months of short-term memory loss. With a robust final year ahead of me and impairment to my brain function, I needed rest. I took some time, completed an arduous last year at the University of Kansas and then was accepted to Palmer Chiropractic College West.
I had always wanted to go to Palmer Chiropractic College as it was "the name" in chiropractic and the original school where it all started! Combine that with a West campus located in a beautiful and thriving area in California, and I was on my way.
I had no idea what I was in for.
I would come to face many challenges throughout another 3.5 years of education. Sleepless nights over a myriad of exams and national boards testing. Endless memorization and repetition of my craft. And additional doubt from outsiders about my career choice. No one can prepare you for these rigors that a doctorate of chiropractic program entails, but there is a reason for this.
This program was meant to test me and mold me. To push me and challenge me. It did just that. I knew once I finished it was only the beginning, but I also understood that I would be well prepared.
Going through chiropractic college not only changed the way I viewed health but also how I wanted to live. I started eating healthy, exercising daily and embraced an all-around more wholesome lifestyle. I adopted the philosophy that in most cases the body has the astonishing ability to heal itself if we only treat it right and provide it the right tools to do so. I have seen many wondrous things that the medical and technology field have done for medicine, but the human body is one thing that never ceases to amaze me.
I couldn't be happier with the educational and professional path I chose. I knew chiropractic was an alternative and distinct approach to healthcare, but now more than ever we need that. It’s not about just treating the pain, but preventing the problem from happening again. Every day I have the opportunity to make an impact in other’s lives driving healthy change. Each time I hear a patient says my work allowed them to go for walks with their spouse again or that they made it through the day without a prescription medication, I am reminded of the difference chiropractic can make.
Years of “helping” my dad and formal education, along with the resolve to stay the course, have lead me to this point. It’s time to break down more doors and cause further advancements in the profession. I’m excited to see where my career and evolving company leads. I look forward to telling that future story!