What You Probably Don't Know about Chiropractors

As some of you might already know, my husband is a chiropractor. And as the wife of a chiropractor I am constantly explaining to people what he does. The questions usually arrive when I mention how much school he had to attend. Honestly, I think most people are surprised that chiropractors need 7.5 years of college, because they believe all they do is "crack people's backs" and give massages. 

I don't blame them for this. Honestly, I wasn't sure what else chiropractors did besides adjust before I married one (well he was an aspiring chiropractor at that point). I also didn't realize how much schooling and work it took to become one. So, in honor of Dwayne, excuse me, Dr. Golbek, starting his practice at Tensegrity Chiropractic this month I'm going to share some things that you might not know about chiropractors.

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Chiropractors are Doctors.

Maybe this one is obvious, but maybe not. Chiropractors receive a doctorate degree for all of their education. They are required to complete a bachelor's degree (4 years of college) and then 3.5 - 4.5 years of chiropractic school (depending on whether they attend summer semesters). During their schooling they complete an insane amount of credit hours (I think Dwayne was in 42 credit hours one semester--not sure how we survived, but it was crazy). They take classes in physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, nutrition, etc. (all the human sciences). Then of course they take specialized classes like OBGYN, pharmacology, geriatrics, physical therapy, X-ray diagnosis, and the list goes on and on. 

On top of the classes, chiropractic students complete a year of clinicals, assessing, diagnosing and treating patients under the supervision of licensed doctors. Their education and training culminates in taking 4 different board examinations. Once they graduate and pass boards they receive a doctorate in chiropractic and from there, obtain state licensure before practicing.

They are Conservative Care Providers

Chiropractors practice conservative care, meaning they provide noninvasive treatment for pain and injury, a.k.a they do not prescribe medication or perform surgeries. Chiropractors utilize spinal manipulations (adjustments), soft tissue work, physical rehabilitative exercises, lifestyle counseling, eastern medicine, and other approaches to treat pain and injury. This is attractive for many people.  If you can find a way to heal and recover without medicine or surgery that's more money and time in your pocket, not to mention, it's easier on your body.

For example, during his clinicals, I remember Dwayne had a patient who was considering a major surgery for her injury. She was 10. Through conservative care she was able to regain complete function and forgo surgery -- definitely a win if I'm her parent. 

Not All Chiropractors are the same

Chiropractors are licensed and trained to do a lot of things. For instance, you can have your physical done by a chiropractor, x-rays taken and even labs drawn. That's not to say that every doctor does all of these things. Just like other medical professions, chiropractors specialize.

Different specialties include pediatric and pregnancy, sports rehabilitation, and geriatrics to name a few. Doctors who specialize might obtain a master's degree and/or attend classes and seminars (continuing education) throughout their career to obtain specialties. This is why when people tell me that, "chiropractic just doesn't work for me," I often encourage them to try a different doctor who specializes in their area of concern. 

They do a lot more than adjusting

Chiropractors are trained to assess patients, diagnose them and treat them--or refer them to the appropriate provider (this is a huge part of their education). As I've talked about above, they utilize several different techniques with many doctors specializing.

For example, Dwayne specializes in sports injuries and rehabilitation. He assesses his patients' movement patterns and muscular strengths and weaknesses and treats those movement patterns/muscles that are causing pain and injury. He uses joint adjustments, soft tissue work like cupping, taping, myofascial release, and trigger point therapy to get the patient out of pain and promote recovery. After getting their pain under control, he teaches patients how to move correctly through rehabilitative exercises so that the injury/pain doesn't reoccur. He also practices acupuncture and other eastern medicine techniques, because when it comes to getting a patient better different things work for different people.

(Dr!!) Dwayne Golbek - posing for his headshot at Tensegrity Chiropractic :)

(Dr!!) Dwayne Golbek - posing for his headshot at Tensegrity Chiropractic :)

Personally, I really fell in love with chiropractic treatment while pregnant (it helped that I didn't have to leave home to get it). If you've been pregnant chances are you've experienced some aches and pains and potentially some pretty sharp sciatic area pain. Most of the advice I got from other people was somewhere along the lines of "it'll go away when the baby comes, just wait it out" but seeing a chiropractor who was trained in treating pregnant women (the hubs) made a world of difference -- I'm talking from pain every time I moved my leg, down to no pain in a few treatments--not after the baby came. 

Moral of the story, there is a great deal of work that goes into becoming a chiropractor, and there is much more that they do and treat than most people realize. Hopefully you learned something new! If you did, make sure to tell someone--knowledge  is power, plus I don't want to have to keep on explaining forever ;)


The Magic of Movement

the magic of movement

Happy New Year!!  So with tons of you setting goals to be more active in 2018, I wanted to explore the health benefits of regular movement, but this time from a new lens.

Before we do that, let’s talk about why I keep using the word movement and not exercise. I like the term movement, because it evokes pleasant thoughts of walking outside, playing with family, maybe even a little backyard football game or an in-home yoga session. Where as exercise draws up this image of forced, painful, drudgery for a lot of folks. This could be because “exercise” is often paired with “diet”  as a means to manipulate body size. Exercise is often prescribed by somebody other than ourselves, and as a result, rarely enjoyed. So—that brings us back to movement, my preferred term and why it’s awesome in all it's various forms.

While most people can tell you that, yes, movement is healthy, I think many would cite weight control as it’s primary health benefit—this is wrong for so, so many reasons.

First off, weight loss—or even forced weight maintenance—to achieve some arbitrary “ideal weight” does not equal health. But, that’s a whole separate post in and of itself, and I won’t be getting into it here. Weight aside, there are countless better health benefits of regular movement, and research shows that people of all body sizes can experience them.

When we use weight loss as our primary motivator for exercise, we’re usually left with low motivation and guilt around movement. No amount of movement is ever enough when weight loss is the goal, leading us to discount regular, less intense movements that might serve our bodies better. Plus, to the all-or-nothing thinker, missing one day of intense exercise is paramount to throwing in the towel, sitting on the couch for 10 days and binging on cookies and Netflix (not a healthy or helpful mindset if you ask me).

SO maybe you can list some non-weight related benefits of movement. It’s possible that you’re already aware of the cardiovascular benefits of regular aerobic exercise, but even these guidelines—to move 30 minutes a day—can seem like un-motivating drudgery when we don’t have the right mindset on movement.

The truth is that all movement, if done with the right motivation (to feel good and enjoy life a little more) can promote health. Beyond that, movement really can be quite magical. To illustrate this I’ve asked my hubby, Dwayne Golbek, to share some of his knowledge on the topic.

Dwayne is a Doctor of Chiropractic with a Masters in Sports Science and Rehabilitation. He’s also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). Dwayne is a former Division I All-American high jumper and a current deadlift enthusiast and recreational climber. Moral of the story: this guy likes to move, and he’s also got a bunch of degrees and knowledge to back it up.

Dwayne doing his thing at Devils Den State Park in Arkansas.

Dwayne doing his thing at Devils Den State Park in Arkansas.

Luckily, since I’m married to him, I was able to steal some of his time (on our long road trip to Indiana) and ask him some questions about the magic of movement. Below is our “interview”.

Q (Me): What do you love most about movement?

A (Dwayne): My favorite part about movement is that it gives us the opportunity to really appreciate how amazing our bodies truly are.  I think a lot of people view themselves as fragile, incapable beings, scared of getting hurt, but also just trying to get by.  Movement makes us more comfortable with our bodies and more confident. It gives us a chance to discover that we aren’t fragile, but in fact, we were designed to adapt and thrive.

Q (Me): What are some health benefits of regular movement that don’t require hours of traditional exercise?

A (Dwayne): Regular movement improves our mood & sense of wellbeing, plus it’s a powerful pain reliever. It sounds simple, but the science behind it is pretty cool. Stick with me, I’ll explain. When you move your body, your joints are able to receive and send information to your brain about where you are in space (this is called proprioception). If your brain doesn’t get this information regularly, it sensitizes the area that isn’t moving. This sensitization bleeds over into the pain receptors. So while not moving can lead to over-sensitized pain receptors and an achy body, something as simple as a gentle full body stretch restores the brain-body connection, reduces pain, and allows the brain to focus on the areas in the body that truly need attention.

Besides this, movement has the ability to change how our DNA is expressed which may help slow the effects of aging (how cool). And the truth is, you don’t have to be a marathon runner or a professional lifter to receive those benefits, you just need to move your body regularly. 

Q(Aubrey) How do you view movement differently now compared to when you were a collegiate athlete?

A (Dwayne): When I was an athlete everything I did was so that I could jump higher. I wanted to outwork everyone everyday, thinking that it would make me perform better. At some point this mindset left me broken and burnt out, ready to move on to the next thing.  After my collegiate career ended, and when the pressure of performance was lifted, I started to get into other activities that I enjoyed like climbing and weight lifting. Over time I learned to listen to my body. I work hard when it’s right and take rest when I need to. Anyone that knows me knows I love to deadlift. If I were still the college version of myself, I’d probably do it everyday until I eventually got hurt. Today I take a different approach. Some days I lift, some days I climb, some days I go for a walk and overall I feel better. With this mindset, my lifts have improved significantly.  Ultimately it’s not pushing harder than someone else that matters, it’s just important to keep moving.

Q (Me): What are your suggestions for people who are scared to “exercise” or move because they feel they’re too out of shape?

My biggest suggestion is to start small with things that you enjoy doing and work your way up from there.  Don’t underestimate the power of any type of movement, whether you want to do a daily stretch program, walk around the block, or deadlift 500 pounds, the magic is in regularly moving your body.

I hope you guys enjoyed this conversation. I’m thinking about starting more regular posts on Monday focused on movement and fitness, and would love to hear your questions and ideas. Also, if you want to hear more from Dwayne, you can follow him on instagram at @movementcube .