Impact Spinal Health 2017

This previous week, I had the pleasure of attending a conference in our nation's capital. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has their national conference in Washington, D.C., every year. It is known as the National Chiropractic Leadership Conference, or NCLC for short. However, this year there were three conferences in one!

The World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) had their biennial conference and the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACA) had their Research Agenda Convention at the conference as well. The three associations combined for what was known as DC 2017 - Impact Spinal Health. As members of the Student American Chiropractic Association (SACA), my colleagues and I came to lobby for the American Chiropractic Association. We presented legislation to the House of Representatives as well as the Senate in order to advance the profession and advocate general health care bills that will also affect chiropractic. It is a great opportunity to network, learn, and advocate.

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The first day in D.C., I lobbied on Capitol Hill with my colleagues from Florida as well as students from New York Chiropractic College (NYCC) part of Pinellas County where NUHS is located so our Dr. Joseph Stiefel, our president, joined us for the meeting. We discussed the issue briefs as well as the political climate in D.C. regarding health care and the upcoming proposed budget.

Congressman Charlie Crist was cordial and empathetic. He told us he would co-sponsor a couple of the bills we presented which made the meeting a huge success. I was delighted to meet him and even happier he decided to co-sponsor our bills. After meeting with him we met with a staff member of Congressman Vern Buchanan and then with Congressman Gus Bilirakis. I went on to lobby with students from NYCC with representatives from my home state of New Jersey. I ended up running from building to building to make the meetings because I wanted to meet with as many representatives as possible. It ended up working out because one of the groups didn't have anyone from New Jersey and it really helps when you have a state resident in the room. 

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Following the lobbying, we had a reception with beer, wine and appetizers. We then went to the ballroom to listen to speeches from the keynote speakers. The keynote speakers were innovators in the chiropractic profession who came from all around the world to present their work. There were other speakers such as U.S. lawmakers and people who were helped by chiropractic telling their story and why it was important for chiropractic to continue to grow in health care.

It was an amazing experience to listen to one of the top researchers in biomechanical medicine from Denmark as well as a researcher in neurophysiology from New Zeeland. Those two were the most profound talks of the conference but listening to U.S. legislators and the aides to the surgeon general talk about chiropractic in the solution to the opioid epidemic was awe-inspiring. The conference was a life changing experience filled with cutting edge information and passionate speeches about the past, present, and future of the chiropractic profession. The conference not only inspired me but also helped educate me on different mechanisms I was unaware of.

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I also enjoyed the city of Washington, D.C. while at the conference. Dr. Guadagno and I woke up early the next day and went for a 6-½ mile run from our hotel around the national mall and back. The ACA Sports Chiropractor of the year not only treats elite athletes, he stays healthy by living an active lifestyle. He is a great example of who to be as a health care practitioner because he practices what he preaches. It was great to be able to run through the beautiful city of D.C. taking pictures at every site with one of my professors and someone I have grown to admire.

Later that day we had the breakout classes - 10 classes offered in each two-hour time slot. I chose to go to one that was given by the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, which discussed marketing and how to relay our profession's message to the public. I then attended a class with Dr. Arland Fuhr, the founder of the Activator technique and had an abbreviated activator seminar. Activator Methods is the second most popular technique behind diversified technique, which is hands on-manipulation. It was a really cool class because Dr. Fuhr was taking people from the class, and I needed an adjustment after my run. I was a bit skeptical of Activator because it is instrument-assisted manipulation, but it worked well. My tight low back was alleviated immediately after the treatment. After the classes, we all went out for some food and drinks before our flights back to Florida.

If you have any questions about student life at NUHS FL please email me at ChristopherKotwicki@student.nuhs.edu

A Lot Going on in Week 10

A lot happened this week both in and out of school. I was introduced to a few more modalities this week in Physiological Therapeutics. I also practiced an old technique from undergraduate. The new modality that was introduced is called Interferential Current also known as IFC. It is a form of electrical stimulation and it is used to control pain and illicit muscle contractions. If a patient has muscular atrophy, there are other electrical stimulation techniques that are more beneficial but IFC could be used as well.

In ambulatory trauma, Dr. Guadagno (ACA Sports Chiropractor of the Year), reviewed ankle bracing with athletic tape. As a former kinesiology major, ankle taping is nothing new but it was good to refresh. We practiced brace taping, which could be used prophylactically to prevent ankle sprains or it could be used to immobilize an injury.

 Christopher

I am wrapping up my second wave of exams for the trimester but I am also staying heavily involved in the community. This week was the Kiwanis Club's Annual Firetruck Pull, as well as the Gulfport Neighbors Beach Cleanup. This was the second firetruck pull I participated in since coming to NUHS. Last year our team won first place and we were looking to defend our title. We pulled the firetruck in 23 seconds flat, beating the second place team by 0.6 seconds. It was a lot of fun and for a great cause.

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I also participated in the monthly Gulfport Beach Cleanup. As the president of the Chiro Games Club, I am responsible for scheduling a community outreach project. Every trimester we do the beach cleanup because I am passionate about the environment and local wildlife. We cleaned up over 50 lbs. of trash. Littering can kill animals and also can be detrimental to the local ecosystem. I am happy be involved with the Gulfport neighbors because they work with "Keep America Beautiful." It was a great way to give back but also walk around the beautiful beaches of the area. After we finished, we ate lunch at a local seafood restaurant with a beautiful view then played some beach volleyball. 

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It was a great way to end the weekend, especially before we head up to the cold weather of Washington, D.C. I will be going to D.C. next week for the National Chiropractic Leadership Conference (NCLC). If you have any questions please email me at ChristopherKotwicki@student.nuhs.edu

 

Functional Soft Tissue Featuring FAKTR

This past weekend, I attended a hands-on certification class for Functional and Kinetic Treatment with Rehabilitation, or FAKTR for short. It is pronounced "factor." The FAKTR technique has been developed by some of the most influential sports doctors in the world including Dr. Greg Doerr, Dr. Tom Hyde, Dr. Warren Hammer, and Dr. Mike Schneider. All of the aforementioned doctors are brilliant and have contributed a lot to the field. If you haven't heard of them definitely check them out.

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I had the pleasure and privilege of shadowing Dr. Greg Doerr back in New Jersey thanks to a recommendation made by a professor at NUHS. After witnessing his hands-on soft tissue treatment, kinesiology taping, functional rehab exercises, and unique application of Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation or IASTM, I knew I had a lot to learn.

We were exposed to IASTM and kinesiology taping in soft tissue class during 5th trimester, but I wanted to take it a step further. Instead of taking Graston, I chose FAKTR because it is the evolution of Graston Technique in my opinion. We also cannot take a Graston class until we are within one year of graduation, but FAKTR does not have said restriction.

The class was held at Elite Strength and Conditioning in Tampa, Florida. The weekend consisted of 14.5 hours of hands-on application of functional soft tissue concepts. Dr. Doerr actually rewrote the class from FAKTR to functional soft tissue because he isn't just teaching IASTM. We learned functional movement assessments, hands-on myofascial release techniques, IASTM, and rehab exercises for many of the most common conditions.

There are five concepts of FAKTR and three types of applications. We went through the different concepts, why they work, and how to clinically apply them. The technique was extremely effective. We were able to correct abnormal movements and muscle firing dysfunctions within minutes by applying the FAKTR concepts.

There were about 18 people in the class, which helped out, because there was always at least one person in the class with the condition we were learning to treat. In the two days, we went through the entire body, and we learned how to progress through our treatments, which will improve our patient outcomes.

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All of us who took the class can also take the exam to become certified FAKTR providers upon graduation. Not only is the knowledge applicable to many of the neuromusculoskeletal conditions that we will be faced with on a daily basis, we will be able to market ourselves to a wider population and show potential employers that we took extra initiative while in school. I just had to purchase a FAKTR tool at the conclusion of the weekend. We were given a 33% discount on tools that weekend and that is an offer I couldn't pass up. The FAKTR tools are made of stainless surgical steel. They are of the highest quality of IASTM tools available.

It was a long weekend but absolutely worth it. I learned so much and I cannot wait to use this new technique to treat my future patients.

That's all for this week, if you have any questions please email me at ChristopherKotwicki@student.nuhs.edu

Physiotherapeutic Modalities

In my modalities class, I have been learning about thermotherapy. There are a few thermotherapeutic modalities we use in our class at NUHS. The first we discussed is application of a hot moist pack, which is abbreviated as HMP. We, as practitioners, use heat when we want increase perfusion to an area. HMP is usually used for sub-acute and chronic problems and should not be used in an acute/inflammatory phase of an injury.

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The second thermotherapeutic modality we went over was paraffin wax. Paraffin wax can be used to coat a specific area such as the hands or feet. Once the wax is applied, it is wrapped in a plastic coating then wrapped in a towel or mitt to insulate the area to maximize the conduction of heat to the body. We tried it out and it felt very good.

In addition to HMP and paraffin, we also went over combination therapy. We combined electrical stimulation with therapeutic ultrasound on the solaris machine. Therapeutic ultrasound is another form of thermotherapy but it has a different mechanism of conduction than an HMP. Rather than the heat from the HMP warming the body via conduction, ultrasound penetrates the body using sound waves at whatever frequency and intensity that the practitioner designates. The solaris can deliver electrical stimulation and ultrasound at the same time from the head of the applicator. I had not seen this type of combination therapy prior to this class and it was very cool to see it, use it, and have it done to me. One could also use the electric stimulation with a HMP instead of the combination therapy with ultrasound and stim. Both accomplish similar things.

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Over the weekend, NUHS-Florida hosted Campus Visit Day. I attended to represent the Chiropractic Games Club, of which I am the president. I also sat on the student panel and answered questions from the prospective students about my experiences as an NUHS student. I felt it went very well, the questions were well thought out and allowed us to elaborate on our experiences at NUHS. I look forward to seeing some of them next trimester and look forward to meeting more prospective students at the next Campus Visit Day.

Following Campus Visit Day, I went to Madeira Beach for some beach volleyball. My friends and I played two-on-two for a few games, grabbed a bite to eat, and laid out in the sunshine. We finished the day by watching the sunset. It was a great week and an even better weekend.

If you have any questions please email me at ChristopherKotwicki@student.NUHS.edu

Cupping, Pedal Pub, and President's Day

This week in Sports Council we went over cupping therapy. Cupping is a modality from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and has been practiced for over 3,000 years. It has gained attention recently because of the Olympics. Michael Phelps was seen with large circular bruises on his back and many people were wondering what happened to him. The bruises are from superficial profusion due to cups that were suctioned to his back.

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According to An Updated Review of the Efficacy of Cupping Therapy, "Meta-analysis showed cupping therapy combined with other TCM treatments was significantly superior to other treatments alone in increasing the number of cured patients with herpes zoster, facial paralysis, acne, and cervical spondylosis. No serious adverse effects were reported in the trials."

It is also an efficacious treatment for neck and shoulder pain according to The Effectiveness of Cupping Therapy on Relieving Chronic Neck and Shoulder Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Though many articles show it is effective, there are still many detractors. I think if it is good enough for the greatest Olympic swimmer to ever live, it is good enough for my future patients. After briefly discussing the different types of applications such as dry vs. wet cupping, we broke off into groups and practiced on one another.

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Over the weekend my soccer team and I went on a Pedal Pub tour in downtown St. Petersburg. We met at Urban Brew and BBQ for lunch then walked to the meeting place for the Pedal Pub. The Pedal Pub is a bar on wheels and is powered by the riders who have to pedal. It is "bring your own beer" for the pub on wheels. We ride around St. Pete taking in the art murals on the way to some of St. Pete's favorite local bars. We started at Three Daughter's Brewery where we played some ping-pong and corn hole. Then we went to Urban Comfort Restaurant and Brewery and played shuffleboard. We finished our tour at Dog Bar, a local hangout with a dog park and bar in one. Four players on my soccer have birthdays in February, including me. This Pedal Pub tour was our way of celebrating as a team and it was a great way to spend a beautiful February afternoon.

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On Presidents' Day, we had the day off from school and I spent it with my friends from NUHS. We met at Madeira Beach for a well-deserved beach day. We bought smoothies and lunch at a nearby restaurant and then set up some beach chairs and soaked in the sun. The water was perfect. It was clear, refreshing, but not too cold. We played beach volleyball with a few people we met at the beach and finished up the day by throwing the Frisbee. The exercise and vitamin D was exactly what the doctor ordered. I had a great Presidents' Day weekend, which is exactly what I needed with midterm exams around the corner.

That is all for this week!

If you have any questions, please email me at christopherkotwicki@student.nuhs.edu.