My journey to chiropractic school essentially started in high school. While I was in high school, I took a lot of science classes and exceled in those sciences classes. Out of those sciences classes, my favorite was Anatomy and Physiology. During that class, I developed a thirst for knowledge about the human body that led me into declaring for the pre-medicine program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
The College Years
Skipping ahead to the summer going into my sophomore year in college. Along with working at the golf course in my hometown (Hiawatha Golf Club), I job shadowed all sorts of doctors at our local hospital. The specialties of those doctors included family practice, cardiology, oncology, gastroenterology, and a few more -ologies that I can’t quite remember. After several job shadows, I wasn’t thrilled with what I saw.
I couldn’t see myself doing those specialties for the remainder of my life as a career. I was talking to some patrons at the golf course about college and future career plans. Telling them I was thinking going into medicine, however, I wasn’t passionate about the things I saw. I wanted to do something I loved doing every day for a career. One of those patrons just so happened to be Dr. Bridget Owens D.C., and she told me that I could job shadow her anytime I wanted. I’ve always thought of myself of being open-minded about most things, and decided to go to her clinic the following Thursday after I talked to her.
Getting a Feel for the Occupation
I have never been to a chiropractor prior to this point, so I walked into her clinic not knowing what to expect. When I walked into her clinic, it was very welcoming and any sort of nervousness I felt fled immediately. I became comfortable and was excited to see what Dr. Bridget (as well as chiropractic) had to offer.
It didn’t take long for me to fall in love to what she was doing to her patients to make them feel better, and it was that instant gratification and feedback from the patients that was the main component that made me fall in love with chiropractic. There was an elderly lady that stood out to me because she limped into her office, and after working on the front part of her left leg (looking back at it, it was probably a femoral nerve entrapment) she left the clinic feeling over 80% better. I just never saw that sort of improvement with the previous job shadows.
Acquainting Myself with the Material
Seeing how impressed I was with what I saw, Dr. Bridget “assigned” me to read the book “Chiropractic First” by Dr. Terry A. Rondberg, D.C. and I had to tell her three things I learned from that book. The three things I learned that day, which I still believe to this day is:
1. The nervous system is the system that controls all other systems, and if the nervous system is off then other bodily systems are off.
2. Chiropractic should be the avenue of pursuit first when dealing with most non-emergency conditions. Compared to medications and surgery, chiropractic is less invasive and usually less expensive.
3. People don’t have to be in pain to go to a chiropractor. Proper adjustments, done correctly, positively affect the nervous system. This allows the body to communicate more effectively, allowing the body to be more efficient and allowing that person to optimize their performance.
The Rewards of Hard Work
After returning the book, I pursued chiropractic more and job shadowed other chiropractors in the Tomah area. I went back to school to start my sophomore year at UW-La Crosse, which I then switched from pre-medicine to pre-chiropractic. The course load and prerequisites are the exact same, the only thing that changed was my advisor for my classes. I ended up graduating in May 2013 with a Biology Major with a biomedical concentration and a Chemistry minor before starting chiropractic school that following September at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington, Minnesota.
About the Author
Dr. Eric Johnson, Doctor of Chiropractic and Diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition as well as owner of Functional Wellness and Chiropractic Center in Madison, WI, is a functional medicine doctor that identifies root causes of pain and/or dysfunction. His systems-based, not symptoms-based, approach is a comprehensive, holistic approach that helps identify mental, chemical, and physical stressors that are underlying numerous health conditions. If you are in the Madison, Middleton, Verona, Waunakee area and looking to not only feel better, but live better, contact Dr. Eric at (608) 203-9272.