Archive for tag: tri 10

Final Blog as a Chiropractic Student

Early in the week, the eighth, ninth, and tenth trimester interns had a mandatory presentation to attend in Lombard from NCMIC and an NUHS alumnus, Dr. John DeMatte. NCMIC is a malpractice insurance company that specializes in covering the chiropractic profession, and their motto is, "We Take Care of Our Own." The presentation was beyond helpful.

At the beginning of the session, both the insurance representative and Dr. DeMatte opened by asking what questions and concerns we all had about insurance, business, our future practices, and much more. They then tailored the presentation to try to answer as many of those questions for us as they could. For me, I have a list a mile long of questions about what I need to do before I start, so having a chance to listen in a comfortable setting and get those concerns addressed was so valuable. 

Some great topics or suggestions were (and I am just going to list because they covered so much!):

  • When applying for loans, most large banks deny requests from recent graduates due to their strict requirements. Best to go with smaller local banks to apply for new business loans.
  • Benefits of doing in-house billing -- keeps records and doctor/patient relationship more personal.
  • Are discounts for cash payments allowed?  Still a very grey line on whether or not they are OK. Some insurance companies require that they are the lowest price as per their contract. It is best to talk to other doctors in the area and see what is acceptable per the insurance companies in the area.
  • Problems with independent contractor relationships -- some doctors looking to add an independent contractor to their practice look at it as hiring an employee. In reality, a true independent contractor relationship consists of two separate businesses.
  • Importance of looking into demographics in the area where you are looking to open a practice. If you are set on opening in a specific area and you have a specific specialty you want to focus on, make sure that the area makes the income and will come into the office for those services.
  • NCMIC website also has an "ask an expert" link where you can ask questions about insurance, business, laws, or many other things referring the chiropractic profession.
  • What doctors are looking for when they are hiring a new associate -- new techniques that they don't perform in the practice that will bring in new patients and offer more treatment options for current patients. Other big attributes during an interview -- honesty, confidence, and professionalism!

Overall, the entire presentation was super helpful and somewhat stress relieving.  The fact that you are in a room with 50 other soon-to-be graduates all feeling the same way, made me feel like I am right where I need to be in terms of stress level for what's to come post-graduation.

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The Next Step

This marks my final blog as an NUHS student. I will soon walk across a very important stage and start my career as a chiropractic physician. That moment is going to be filled with so much happiness, pride, excitement, fear, and anticipation. And that moment is only a few short weeks away.

I have to say, when I was first approached to write this blog, my first thought was, "No way, that's way out of my comfort zone." But, when you are pushed outside your comfort zone, you grow as a person. This blog has challenged me, let me express my feelings and experiences, and I am so happy I didn't let my fears stop me from doing it. Thank you for letting me share part of my life with you. Thank you to those who read my blog week after week. Thank you for the emails with questions, I loved to get them! And finally, thank you to Marie Olbrysh and Victoria Sweeney for having the faith in me and approaching me with this awesome opportunity. I am so glad I took it.  

This is me signing off. Good luck prospective and current students! If you have further questions, want to hear about life after chiropractic school, or need treatment for any aches and pains, you can email me at drbradleybackhaus@gmail.com or visit me in my practice at Progressive Chiropractic Wellness Center in Lincoln Park, Chicago.

Countdown to Graduation - 25 Days

Spring has officially come to Chicago, in the sense that we are now past March 20th. The weather may still seem very winter-like, but the giant gray colored piles of snow are consistently melting away day-by-day. And with the spring thaw, we have seen a significant increase in patients returning to the clinic. All businesses, whether a restaurant, retailor, or healthcare, were significantly affected by the unrelenting winter weather this year. But now, as winter washes away and spring sets in, people are returning to a more normal routine. 

As the patient volume has increased at clinic, several of the tenth trimester Chicago clinic interns have now finished with their numbers for graduation. The remaining tenth trimester interns should be finished with the rest of their numbers within the next two weeks. I can't believe that the end is so very near!

I began treating a patient this week with a chief complaint of chronic fatigue, pain, and weakness. The patient had been to several other physicians, none of which were able to help her with her symptoms. The patient did not know what else to try when a friend referred her to the NUHS Whole Health Center -- Chicago.

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After the initial history and physical exam, we came to the conclusion that the patient was suffering from fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic widespread pain and allodynia (heightened response to pain or pressure) syndrome. It is believed to be caused by a combination of physical, psychological, neurobiological, and environmental factors. Fibromyalgia symptoms can also begin after a traumatic or stressful event also known as post-traumatic stress disorder. Other symptoms patients might exhibit are insomnia, depression, anxiety, bowel and bladder abnormalities, and numbness/tingling sensation. Diagnosis is based on history of widespread pain for more than three months and tender points elicited on physical exam.

I have been treating the patient for about a week now, and her symptoms have decreased about 50% since the initial visit. I have been using a combination of chiropractic manipulative therapy, acupuncture, trigger point work, and supplementation to address her pain and fatigue. As the patient continues to progress, I will slowly add in light exercise, which will be designed to boost the patient's energy levels. One of the most interesting parts of this patient's history is when asked what the previous physicians did for treatment the response was a laundry list of pain medications, none of which delivered any relief from symptoms. And now after seeking out help from alternative medicine, she has seen a 50% decrease in symptomatology in the first week alone.

Three Weeks In

The ninth trimester interns have joined us at the NUHS Chicago Whole Health Center. The new interns do not have patients in the beginning of the trimester, so they help out with the tenth trimesters' patients and shadow us. It's a weird feeling knowing that you have people looking up to you. I remember when I started as an intern at this clinic back in September; I was slightly in awe of how much the tenth trimester interns knew and how smoothly they worked with patients. That all comes with time, and now there are new interns that might be feeling the same way.

In my acupuncture course this week, electroacupuncture, cupping, and fire cupping were covered. Electroacupuncture is a form of acupuncture in which a small electrical current is passed between pairs of needles. Electrical currents have stimulating effects, which can influence the cells, tissues and entire systems. It can be looked at as an amped up form of acupuncture and is particularly good for treating pain. I personally have used electroacupuncture on patients with muscle atrophy and certain pain syndromes.

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Cupping therapy before and after

Cupping or fire cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a cup is placed on the skin to produce a local area of suction. The suction is created using mechanical devices or by using heat (fire). Cupping is considered safe, but it can cause areas of bruising and swelling following treatment. This therapy is used for respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, and congestion. It is also used for certain gastrointestinal disorders, muscular disorders, and certain types of pain.

The end is very near for me. I received a reminder email from Student Services to petition for graduation. They needed my size for my graduation gown, how I would like my name on my diploma, how many people I expect at the graduation ceremony, etc. This also begins the process of auditing all my classwork and credentials to ensure graduation eligibility. Very exciting!

Journal Club, Halloween Preparation, and the Chicago Marathon

Journal Club

At the beginning of the clinic week, I presented my Journal Club article. The point of the Journal Club is to have the interns bring articles on treatment options for patients and discuss whether or not we would use them with our patients. 

My article was on the use of acupuncture for patients with migraine headaches. The conclusion of the article was that acupuncture does show a decrease in the number of days with a migraine, and a decrease in the patient's quality of life. After I finished with my presentation, we were all able to discuss our opinions. We also talked about what other treatment options we would use with a patient experiencing migraine headaches. My current treatment plan for patients with migraines, which can be changed per patient, includes acupuncture, chiropractic manipulative therapy, post-isometric relaxation of the sub-occipital muscles, and supplementation of magnesium, riboflavin, and CoQ10.

Halloween

Throughout the rest of the week, I finished my decorating for Halloween, which is quite extensive. If you haven't noticed yet, it's my very favorite time of the year. This included any final touches, putting up the remainder of the decorations, more spider webbing, and hanging my newest decoration. Every year the day after Halloween, I check out the sales on decorations, and I buy one big decoration to add to my collection. The decoration I added last year was a five-foot tall hanging ghoul that I placed on my balcony. It looks great out there, and I can't wait for people to see it next weekend!

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My newest Halloween decoration

Chicago Marathon

On Sunday, Dr. Miller, several ninth and tenth trimester interns, and I volunteered at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. It was the perfect fall day for the race with temperatures in the mid-60s, which was ideal for the runners. Marathon Day in Chicago is always a fun day because so many people come out to watch, support, and cheer on the runners. Talking with some of the experienced marathoners after the race, they said it's almost impossible to get tired during the Chicago Marathon due to the amazing crowds that come out to cheer them along.

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Jeff Jones, Candace Gesicki, and me at the Chicago Marathon on Sunday

We were in the Chicago Diabetes Project tent where we were available for post-race care for the runners. The majority of the runners were in a lot of pain and had very tight muscles, so we helped by stretching and massaging as needed. I have volunteered at the marathon before, but I haven't had as much one-on-one post-race care. It was crazy to see how much pain some people were in, while others looked like they could run the marathon again. I'm sure that has a lot to do with training and experience with running. Overall, it was a great experience, and as always it is so inspiring watching people finish something as impressive as a marathon!