Standard Process Tour

It is a both a privilege and a requirement that all students in the chiropractic and naturopathic programs take a one-day field-trip to the Standard Process factory and farm in Palmyra, Wisconsin. What is Standard Process, you may ask? It is a whole-food-based supplement company that is committed to providing quality products for distribution through health care professionals. Standard Process has one of the largest organic farms in the state of Wisconsin, and they are continually improving their agriculture methods to ensure the highest quality organic crops to utilize in their hundreds of different whole-food dietary supplements.

On Wednesday, we embarked for our trip to Palmyra and were greeted with such kindness from the executives and employees at the factory. We were walked through the various different processes of production: from the biochemistry labs that test for quality of the crops, to the state-of-the-art tablet-cutting and capsule-filling machines, to the assembly line where the products are all packaged and shipped at 2,000 orders per day. It was truly an incredible display of innovative technology meeting the core fundamentals of whole foods and quality nutrition.

Our afternoon consisted of a series of breakout sessions with various different speakers and educators from the Standard Process company. We learned about a handful of clinical findings that correlate with nutritional deficiencies. For example, did you know that those little white marks that can occur on your fingernails may be indicative of a zinc deficiency in your diet?! We were also educated about some of the core supplements that Standard Process has to offer and when to prescribe them to certain patients. It was a very informative and exciting day for our interns!

In other news, I actually am one of the finalists for a scholarship being awarded by Standard Process! The four top-rated videos on YouTube will be awarded scholarships this week at the NCLC (National Chiropractic Leadership Conference) in Washington, DC. The video topic is: "The most important thing I want to teach my patients," and I hope you enjoy my thoughts on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle! :) Voting is open until Wednesday by clicking the "thumbs up" under my video.

I look forward to writing all about NCLC next week! DC, here I come!

Webster Technique

In an effort to continue to expand my skills and techniques, I traveled to Columbus, Ohio, this past weekend to take the Perinatal Care: Webster Certification course of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association's diplomate program. This first module offers the opportunity to learn and become certified in Webster Technique, a method of diagnosis and treatment for correcting dysfunction in the pelvis of pregnant women.

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Good morning from the beautiful city of Chicago!

The Webster Technique has been taught by Dr. Jeanne Ohm for over 30 years, and she has truly changed the lives of so many women with whom she has worked. The concept of Webster is to optimize pelvic function, alignment, and movement, in order to potentially decrease the difficulties associated with pregnancy and labor. The protocol consists of analyzing the direction in which the sacrum may be fixated, increasing motion in the pelvic joints, and affecting the correlated soft tissue structures such as muscles and ligaments. The technique has tremendous success with easing pain and challenges associated with pregnancy, so women are always searching the online database for local Webster providers. It is exciting to have earned my certification and be able to work with this population of patients! :)

The entire seminar was so inspiring. We discussed the changes in obstetric care over the decades and how chiropractic care can offer tremendous relief for women seeking alternative options during their pregnancy. It was so empowering, realizing that I am going to make these important changes in women's lives, and in the lives of their future children.

National has always been a very science-based chiropractic program, aiming to train its students as primary care physicians. Although we don't focus too much on the traditional philosophy of our profession, this weekend taught me how important it is to keep an open mind about this topic. Some chiropractic schools really focus on the concepts of innate intelligence and subluxation, and although National does not, Jeanne Ohm truly made a valid argument: Despite what each of us believes, she kept emphasizing that "Life is intelligent," and there is no reason to argue with that.

Two cells can come together and develop into a fully functioning human being. Pregnancy and birth have been occurring in our species since the beginning of time, and it is important to realize that the body truly does know what it is doing. Life IS intelligent, in that even before the development of modern medicine, miracles have been occurring naturally and without all of the interventions we use today. Maybe it's time that we take a different approach to the way we bring infants into this world, and the way in which we support a woman's natural ability to carry and care for a child.

Radiology May Be the Death of Me

It's a pretty fulfilling experience to get to 8th Trimester, be an intern in clinic (finally!), and know you've made it through the majority of the curriculum in the chiropractic program. What they forget to tell you is how much time you'll be spending outside of the classroom studying radiology!

Now that I have passed courses evaluating imaging of arthritides, trauma, congenital deformities, tumors, and chest and abdominal pathology, they roll it all up into a big ball and say, "Here! Apply everything you've ever learned and read this black and white picture to tell me exactly what is wrong with this person." Here I am thinking, "Wait, you expect me to actually remember 2 years of radiology courses?" The answer is definitely "Yes," and I am conquering this challenge every day in 8thtrimester!

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I am currently enrolled in two very important radiology classes: Positioning and Report Writing, as we like to call them. In one course, we spend hours in the X-ray lab, setting up the machines, calculating the numbers, and developing the films in the dark room. In the other course, we also spend hours in the X-ray lab, but instead reading the images in front of us, identifying the pathologies present, and writing reports that summarize our findings and possible diagnoses. It's quite a lot of responsibility, developing the skills to take the X-rays accurately so that we may see all the pertinent anatomy, and then to identify the patient's underlying pathologies so that we can take the proper measurements to resolve or manage their condition.

I will admit, I spend a lot of time with my nose buried in Yochum [Terry R., a 1972 NUHS grad] and Rowe, the bible of skeletal radiology textbooks. I'm excited to use my laterality markers (with my initials on them!) when shooting X-rays, and the Supertech is the coolest sliding, calculating toy for goofs like me. All of this studying will pay off soon, especially for Parts 2, 3, and 4 of National Chiropractic Boards that I will be taking over the course of 2015! Wish me luck! :)

Snowy Days in Chicago

Well, we knew winter was going to sneak up on us at some point. It seemed that a January without snowfall was too good to be true. According to the records, this weekend's blizzard was the 5th largest snowfall Chicago has ever seen. We're a lot tougher than we look in the Midwest! It was great to see people coming together to help salt sidewalks, shovel cars out of the snow, and share rides around the city. I never thought I'd see the day when I had to walk down the street to purchase a shovel that I needed just to be able to drive my car! Oh, the challenges of living in the city of Chicago!

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When we have snow days at school, you have to take full advantage of the extra time away from class. I spent the past few days catching up with close friends, exploring new places in the city, and enjoying great food. For my Type A personality, it feels great to have a break from the normal routine of class and clinic!

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Coming up this week, I'm looking forward to getting together with The Ohio Club members at National to gear up for events in 2015. It's exciting to share a common connection with fellow students interested in practicing in the same state and area, especially to support each other when making tough decisions about our futures! I hope that over the next few years, other state clubs are formed at National and can offer a sense of community for other students from different areas.

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On another positive note, congratulations to the Clinic team (Trimesters 8, 9, 10) who won the dodgeball tournament at Tri-Games on Friday night! Although I was not in attendance, I heard the Clinic team rocked the court!

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I'm looking forward to seeing the sunshine again this week and hopefully no more snow here at NUHS! :)

McKenzie Method and Tri Mixer

McKenzie Method

Recently at NUHS, I attended a weekend course taught by The McKenzie Institute USA. This educational foundation has developed a method to diagnose and treat patients suffering with musculoskeletal pain originating from the spine and extremities. Robin McKenzie was the founder of this institution, which began researching disorders of the musculoskeletal system in 1982. Since its beginning, McKenzie Method was utilized primarily by physical therapists, but it has in recent years become more accessible to chiropractic physicians.

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(Photo courtesy of The McKenzie Institute, New Zealand)

One of the most unique features of McKenzie Method is the concept that patients have the power and responsibility to help treat themselves through exercises and lifestyle modifications. This also adds a component of compliance to each patient's treatment plan, assuming that they will actively work to help correct and maintain proper posture and movement patterns. McKenzie treatment involves the patient in actively caring for their symptoms, which has an empowering effect that is able to eliminate pain for each person in the end.

I was enrolled in the Part A course, the first of the series toward certification that is geared toward focusing on the lumbar spine. With our class size of about 20 people, an even mix of both students and practicing doctors, we were able to work hands-on with two patients who were coming in complaining of low back pain. We practiced running through a McKenzie-based physical examination, taking a thorough history with the patient, and going through the diagnostic protocol that are used to help identify the classification of different pain presentations.

Once we were able to identify the type of mechanical back pain we were dealing with, we proceeded to work on exercises with each patient to help reduce and relieve their pain in different regions. The most rewarding aspect of the weekend was to see both of the patients leave the seminar with a reduction in their low back pain as well as in their radiating pain.

Getting to work with current DCs throughout the seminar was such a tremendous experience, and there was much clinical knowledge to be gained from these doctors! I even had the opportunity to meet Dr. Anthony Hamm, the current president of the American Chiropractic Association! In a couple weeks, we will be returning to complete Part A of the seminar.

Now that I am an intern in clinic, I'm beginning to hone in on what seminars I hope to take in the next year and what types of additional skills I want to obtain for practice. At National and in the Chicago area, there are so many tremendous seminars and certifications available for us as students. With all of the developments in the field of medicine, it will be valuable to have other skill sets such as McKenzie to offer to my future patients when I am in practice.

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Tri-Mixer

Last Friday night was our tri-mixer where all of the students were invited to come out and meet each other. As an officer for Student Council who helped plan the event, it's always fulfilling to see tons of students come and participate in social events! The cold and the snow can't hold us back from enjoying a weekend night out with friends (like my friend KC and I)! :)