Having over 6 years of postsecondary education is an impressive
thing. That is not meant to toot my own horn; it is meant to do the
opposite. I would think that by now, even if I am unfamiliar with
something, whether it be a pharmaceutical or an herbal supplement,
I would have heard of it by now with my background in sports,
exercise science, nutrition and biology. Even if I hadn't come
across something in undergrad or in my own research, maybe I would
have heard it sometime in my two plus years in graduate school.
It just so happens there are still a plethora of botanicals and
nutritional supplements (with research backing up its efficacy)
that I have never heard of. This week in botanical medicine, my
Brett Martin, went through some botanicals that neither my
classmates nor I had ever heard of.
The first one I want to mention is Yerba Santa. It is
an herb used for respiratory problems. It is an expectorant and an
anti-inflammatory agent. When I first heard it, I thought there is
no way there are mainstream sources with this herb. Much to my
surprise,Yerba Santa is on websites like WebMD. I was
Another botanical I had never heard of is Goldenseal.
The active constituent in goldenseal is Berberine, a
highly studied compound. Berberine can be used to treat
hyperlipidemia and NIDDM. It has been found in meta-analyses to be
as effective as pharmaceuticals at lowering blood lipids. Both LDL
and total cholesterol were significantly reduced in said study.
Berberine is also a potent antimicrobial agent. It is
known as "nature's antibiotic." I continue to learn of new herbs
and supplements that I may utilize one day to help treat my
Each week in Advanced Diagnosis, we have case studies. Though I
cannot talk about the cases outside of the class, I can talk about
the experiences I am having. The cases that have been presented are
challenging our clinical reasoning. The histories are vague but our
exams allow us to pinpoint the problems.
Some of the standardized patients in these case studies, truly
present with these conditions. I am ecstatic that I have been able
to diagnose these tricky presentations and it says a lot about the
education we have received here at NUHS. We truly are trained as
primary care physicians.
We are able to differentiate between muscular, vascular, neural,
and ligamentous generated issues. We know a surplus of orthopedic
tests we can use to paint a clearer picture of the diagnosis. We
are one trimester away from clinic and I can't think of a better
way to prepare us. My only criticism is that we don't do more
cases, but it could be overwhelming with all our other classes.
Over the weekend, I celebrated my 25th birthday! My
girlfriend surprised me by taking me to the Big Cat Rescue in
Tampa, Florida. Big Cat Rescue is a sanctuary for big cats like
lions, tigers, bobcats, cougars, servals, ocelots, lynx, panthers
and others. This sanctuary provides care and a safe place to live
for many abandoned, orphaned and abused animals. I was overwhelmed
by the good work they do. All the money from admission goes to
supporting the animals.
I saw so many beautiful animals. My favorites were the tigers. I
also learned how white tigers are homozygous recessive therefore
extraordinarily rare. Breeders had to inbreed them in order to
produce a litter of white tigers. The problem is inbreeding causes
many birth defects in these animals. Thankfully there are places
for these animals to go like the Big Cat Rescue. We went out to
lunch afterwards and finished up the evening by going bowling with
my friends. It was a great birthday and I hope to visit the big cat
rescue again in the near future.
If you have any questions, please email me at ChristopherKotwicki@student.NUHS.edu
This week was monumental for me and my fellow classmates. We
practiced spine boarding and applying a cervical collar on a
mannequin and on each other in Ambulatory Trauma class.
We had to practice surveying the area, assessing if the patient
is conscious, and check if the patient is breathing. We practiced
stabilizing the spine, screening the spine for abnormalities, and
rolling the patient onto the spine board.
Once on the spine board, we secured the patient and made sure
the straps were tight. We then practiced lifting and carrying the
patient. This is very useful for someone like myself who has
ambitions to work with athletes. When athletes have trauma to the
neck or spine, the medics will spine board the athlete to prevent
damage to the spinal cord.
This season one of the players on my favorite football team, the
Jets, was put on a spine board after sustaining an injury. For
me, this was a review because I went over this in undergrad as a
kinesiology major, but I hadn't done it in years.
This week in my advanced problem solving class, I had my first
patient encounter. We are required to dress professionally for the
meeting, and approach it as if it is a real patient. The patient
encounter is with a standardized patient whom we have never met
before. My colleagues and I have to take a comprehensive history,
perform a problem-focused exam, perform the indicated orthopedic
exams, and come up with a diagnosis and treatment plan.
It really was a milestone in our academic careers. We needed to
take a picture to commemorate it and of course we took a selfie! We
were all very nervous for this experience but a quick photo shoot
was just what the doctor ordered to relieve our stress. We had to
remind ourselves to relax because, "We got this!"
We nailed it! Our first patient encounters were stressful but we
had to laugh because we were more prepared than we thought. We
filled in our history of chief complaints form, our SOAP notes, our
exam sheets, our problem management sheets, and turned them in for
We will have a patient encounter each week for the next 10
weeks, so by the time we get to clinic, it will be second
That is all for this week! If you have any questions please
email me at ChristopherKotwicki@student.NUHS.edu
This week we had our first Sports Council meeting of the
Guadagno, the American Chiropractic Association's
Sports Chiropractor of the Year, showed us the basics of
applying kinesiology tape.
There was a huge turnout for the meeting as it was filled with
students from every trimester! In addition to an introduction to
kinesiology taping, we went over stability taping and strapping by
Mike, one of the NUHS students who is a certified athletic trainer.
We watched Dr. G and Mike demonstrate on a couple students. Dr. G
taped a shoulder and Mike taped an ankle. Afterwards, we broke up
into groups and practiced the techniques we just learned.
In addition to Sports Council, I attended the first Student
American Chiropractic Association (SACA) meeting of the
trimester. I am required to be there because I am on the elected
board for the chapter at our school. We discussed our plans for our
trip to Washington, D.C. in March. We also discussed our plans for
fundraisers and community outreach. We usually volunteer at the
local Veterans Affairs Hospital in St. Petersburg.
I have been trying to improve my skills in manipulation this
trimester because next trimester I will be in clinic and therefore
treating patients. To improve my skills in manipulation, I have
attended every open adjusting lab this trimester. The open
adjusting labs have had great turnouts! Not only was I able to work
on my adjusting, I have been helping others with their manipulation
Next week is our first patient encounter of the trimester!
Thank you for reading my blog, if you have any questions email
me at ChristopherKotwicki@student.nuhs.edu
Every trimester has been a new and exciting experience. This
trimester doesn't seem like that. Thus far this trimester feels
reminiscent of senior year in high school or college. I am at the
end of classes and I am sharing the knowledge I now have with the
incoming and lower trimester students. I plan to attend every open
adjusting lab this trimester, take multiple certification classes,
attend Motion Palpation Club meetings, and go to the Sports Council
events. Of course, this is in addition to performing well in my
To reiterate the familiarity I am feeling, this is the
6th trimester I am in the Student Council, last week was my
7th Club Lunch Day, this is my 5th trimester as an
instructor recommended student tutor, and it will be my second time
going to Washington D.C. for SACA.
I presented at Club Lunch Day and it may have been the largest
turnout for a club lunch since I began at NUHS in January 2015. All
the first trimester students were very engaged and excited to sign
up for the student clubs. I had eight new
students sign up for Chirogames club! I am very excited to finish
up my tenure as president of Chirogames club with the largest group
Even though things are the same, repetition is a nice change of
pace. It seems counterintuitive and contradictory, but the status
quo has been to expect the unexpected. It is nice to know what to
expect. This won't last since next trimester is the start of
clinic. I will enjoy it for now and continue to enjoy the things I
have come to love like beach days in January!
If you have any questions, please email me at ChristopherKotwicki@student.NUHS.edu.
After a long and well-deserved break, I am back in Florida to
start my last trimester of classes before I start clinic. I am
still on the fastest track the school has, meaning I will finish
the clinical sciences phase in four trimesters. I was four-track
for basic sciences, as well, so I am used to the large workload.
This trimester I am taking 11 classes:
This trimester is the largest workload of all the trimesters
with 28.5 credits. Thankfully the classes are not as difficult as
previous trimesters. These classes are like the icing on the cake.
I have learned all about diet and nutrition, how to adjust, how to
practice in an evidence-based healthcare system, and I have a good
understanding of diagnosis and treatment. These classes are putting
those previously learned skills to the test and helping us refine
While I was home in New Jersey, I shadowed at Thompson
Healthcare and Causeway Chiropractic. I previously shadowed at both
of these practices but now that I am further in the program, I know
more and was able to better comprehend what the doctors were
Healthcare is a multidisciplinary practice with physical
therapy, pain management, massage therapy, acupuncture, and
chiropractic. It was nice to see how all the employees worked
cohesively to treat their patients. Causeway Chiropractic is on the other side of
the spectrum. It is a small family practice with a doctor of
chiropractic and three employees. Both benefitted their patients,
and I was able to see what I like from both and what I dislike from
both. I am starting to picture exactly how I want to
I try and do something productive each break. Shadowing is
perfect because it revitalizes my passion and motivates me to want
to continue school. For those of you who are interested in the
chiropractic profession, I suggest you shadow different
chiropractors and see if it is for you.
I returned to Florida after three weeks in New Jersey. Upon
returning, we went out to lunch for my colleague and friend
Michael's birthday. It was nice to socialize with everyone outside
of school. Now it is time to begin my last full trimester of
If you have any questions please email me at ChristopherKotwicki@student.nuhs.edu
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