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A veteran’s healing journey to a career in chiropractic medicine

Friday, April 7, 2017

Anya Hughes, a second trimester student in National University’s Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine Program, shared the experiences that led to her career change to chiropractic medicine at the Florida Chiropractic Association (FCA) convention last week. As an athlete, military veteran and former medical device sales representative, her story is unique.

Anya Hughes, student, sharing her story“What everyone can relate to is the challenge of overcoming obstacles,” Hughes said.  “I wanted to share how I was able to go beyond what everyone told me was not possible.”

Hughes was first introduced to chiropractic medicine after she got into a car accident while serving in the Coast Guard in the Bahamas. To deal with the cervical pain that resulted, Hughes was referred to a chiropractic physician. “In the Bahamas, seeing a chiropractic physician was standard procedure for my kind of injury,” she said.

When she got into another car accident while stationed in San Francisco, Hughes first went to conventional medicine doctors, but she soon decided to seek chiropractic treatment again. “I didn’t want to take pain medicines and muscle relaxers because the pain would just came back,” she said. “It was a vicious cycle.

After her second accident, an allopathic doctor told Hughes, a short distance runner, that she would never be able to run again. But after treatment with the chiropractic physician, Hughes experienced a full recovery. In addition to returning to short distance running, Hughes was able to branch out into endurance sports, including full marathons, 50-mile races and two Ironman Triathlons.

After six years of service, Hughes eventually exited the military to become a medical device sales representative frequenting hospitals and other health care facilities. In her new position, she began to see the need for natural medicine. “I knew that natural treatments like chiropractic medicine had worked for me and I wanted a career that promoted that,” she said.

Living in Florida at the time, Hughes discovered that National University of Health Sciences’ Florida site was right in her backyard. Because of her military service, she was able to take advantage of National University’s Yellow Ribbon Program. The tuition matching support program helps veterans on the GI Bill pay college tuition and fee costs. Under the NUHS Yellow Ribbon Program, any tuition costs not covered by the GI Bill will be split equally between National University and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. For eligible veterans that means 100 percent tuition coverage.

“National University is proud to support student veterans like Anya Hughes,” said Daniel Strauss, DC, dean of the College of Professional Studies. “Her story illustrates how chiropractic medicine can overcome many challenging disorders and help patients become active again.”

When she finishes her DC degree, Hughes hopes to help other athletes and veterans like her. “I’m motivated by my passion to help others, like the chiropractic physicians who have helped me so much in my life,” Hughes said.

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