Before starting his degree in chiropractic medicine, Michael Ward, DC, LAc, (NUHS ‘18) was well into a successful career as a yoga instructor and massage therapist.
“I recognized an aptitude for helping people with the same debilitating migraines I used to suffer in my 20s,” he said. “Manual medicine was the only treatment that worked for me and continues to keep my headaches at bay.”
As a massage therapist and yoga expert, he often performed neuromuscular therapy integrated with yoga-therapy. Soon, he became interested in expanding his skillset into a physician’s scope of practice.
After Dr. Ward earned his doctor chiropractic (DC) degree from the NUHS Florida-site, he opened The Wellness Ward, a clinic in Raleigh, North Carolina where his work continues to be heavily influenced by his expertise in yoga. About 95 percent of the rehab and active phase activities/exercises he prescribes to patients are based on principles of Hatha yoga postures including joint alignment, balanced muscular action, breath control, and mental awareness.
Beyond just manual therapy, becoming a chiropractic physician helped Dr. Ward expand his scope of practice in many other ways too.
“My introduction to gut health research and clinical practice was an unexpected benefit of my DC degree. Not only was I able to cure my own GI issues and GERD, but I now help patients who never expected gut health treatment by a chiropractor,” he said.
Recently, the in-depth diagnostic and broad scope training he received at NUHS helped him identify the root cause of hearing loss experienced by a 50-year-old male patient.
After performing adjustments to no avail, Dr. Ward was able to connect the dots and associated the issue neurologically with the corde tympani nerve that communicates between the teeth and the inner ear. Dr. Ward referred the patient to a dentist, who discovered an upper molar root infection that necrotized the nerve to the tooth. The patient was treated with antibiotics and he was hearing normally again within days. The dentist informed the patient that he would have died from this infection within months if not for Dr. Ward’s intervention..
“He remains a routine adjusting patient to this day, but now knows to share his medical history with his DC,” Dr. Ward said.
In addition to operating a practice, Dr. Ward continues to teach yoga classes, which have also benefited from his DC degree.
“I can now tailor a class for students with physical needs, while at the same time providing a well-rounded class for those without limitations,” he said. “Most importantly, I now have the expertise to teach teachers how to explain these principles with confidence and the credentials to back it up.”