Rarely does it ever cross our minds to consider that doctors are not invincible. Like the rest of the world, they too can get into unfortunate situations and accidents that can turn their lives upside down. Dr. Bill Davis went through a dark time in his life. Just as he was thriving in his upper cervical practice, he found himself paralyzed and unable to control his core muscles and lower limbs after a mountain biking accident. With his main source of income gone, Dr. Bill's future was uncertain. In this episode, he joins Dr. Kevin Pecca to share with us how he amazingly conquered all the odds with his perseverance and passion for bringing hope to people through upper cervical chiropractic. He shares how he got back up and became the founder and CEO of Hope and Healing Solutions, where, through digital marketing, connects health and wellness businesses to people who need them the most. Follow along to this incredible story that reminds us how it is never over but only just beginning.
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Conquering All Odds: Dr. Bill Davis On Perseverance, Passion, And Bringing Hope Through Upper Cervical Chiropractic
Welcome to the show. Subscribe to the show for weekly episodes. You can also find me on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, @DrKevinPecca, on Facebook @MontclairUpperCervical. If you have any questions and comments about the show, you can email me at DrKevinPecca@Gmail.com. On the show, we have a phenomenal episode. I enjoyed this. We have Dr. Bill Davis. He is a highly successful upper cervical doctor and marketer. Several years ago, Dr. Bill was mountain biking with his friends when his life would change forever.
He flipped over the handlebars and landed directly on his head, leaving him paralyzed and unable to control his core muscles and lower limbs. His upper cervical practice was in jeopardy and he could no longer adjust people anymore. His main source of income was gone and Bill's future was uncertain. If you have been reading the blog, you know the story does not end there. Dr. Bill is one of the most successful people I know and one of the most successful people even after his injury. He runs a multi-million-dollar marketing company and has helped over 50,000 people find an upper cervical doctor all over the world. His story is one of perseverance, drive, and to remind us that your story is never over. It's only beginning. Please welcome, Dr. Bill Davis.
We have Dr. Bill Davis on the show. He is the Founder and CEO of Hope and Healing Solutions and Upper Cervical Marketing. He has such an amazing story. I'm excited to jump into it. Without further ado, let's welcome Dr. Bill Davis. How are you?
I'm doing fantastic, Kevin. Thank you so much for having me.
Thank you so much for coming on. I was reading your book, Upper Cervical Practice Mastery. It's given me so much value. It's helping me out a ton. I'm excited to learn more about the face behind the book.
I'm excited to share with you.
Bill, where does your journey begin? Where are you from?
I grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada. I was born and raised there. That was the early years and that's where my chiropractic journey started. When I was in my early twenties, I was working really hard. I was going to school full-time and I was working three different jobs. I was busting my butt every day, sleeping 4 or 5 hours a night. As a result of that, I started developing a lot of back pain. I was working at UPS at the time, loading boxes into trucks. A friend of mine that I was working with said, "You should see a chiropractor." I'd never been to a chiropractor. I was like, "I'll try it out."
I went and met this chiropractor. He worked on me. He helped me. As we got to know each other, he started becoming a mentor to me and a friend. He said, "You're working so hard. You've got a lot of drive. I think you would be a great chiropractor." I was like, "I never even thought about that. That's not something I thought about." I threw it in the back of my mind and continued on my way. At the time, I was dating my wife and she was having problems with her breathing. She had asthma and allergies throughout her life. It had gotten progressively worse to the point where she was getting allergy shots every week. She was having severe breathing issues, not being able to take a full deep breath on a daily basis. She was exhausted and fatigued. We've taken her to a medical doctor and specialist after specialist. There's something wrong with her heart. I said, “What's going on?” Nobody could tell us anything.
One day, I was talking to my chiropractor about her and he's like, "Bring her in. I think I could help her." Sure enough, I bring her in. Within the first adjustment or two, all of her breathing problems were gone. It was one of those a-ha moments in your life. I was like, “This is a lot more than back pain. This is a lot more than just ‘I have some pain because I'm overworking.’” This is impactful to the whole body. It got me moving in a whole different direction. Years later, my wife has no asthma and allergies. It's an incredible change that's happened in her body. As a result of that, I decided to go to chiropractic school. I went to LACC, Los Angeles College of Chiropractic. During my time there, I got disenchanted with chiropractic in general by the end of it.
For my internship, I was working with a chiropractor who had no passion anymore. He had this PI, Personal Injury and Workers' Comp practice. No one ever got better. People come there. I don't even know why they were there, for the money or whatever. It was a disenchanting position I was in. By the time, I was almost close to graduating. I was like, "Did I waste 3.5 years on this education?" I read a book by Ben Lerner called Body by God. It changed my whole chiropractic mindset and philosophy. It's written for anybody. Ben Lerner is a chiropractor. It's about how our bodies are designed, how the function of the nervous system is important to how our bodies work, and the importance of nutrition, exercise and your mindset.
It gave me a whole different perspective that, "This is what chiropractic is supposed to be. It's not what I had learned in my experience through school and internship." He was not an upper cervical doctor. He's more of a principled chiropractor. I read another one of his books. I ended up finding a chiropractor who I did in my associate position with who's a full spine doctor because that's all I learned at LACC. I wasn't learning any upper cervical there. I didn't even know anything about upper cervical at that point. I ended up doing an associate position with this doctor, Dr. Jason Baietto, in Orange County, California.
It was a great experience. I learned a lot. I was working with a lot of patients. I got frustrated and I was like, "These patients I'm helping them but I can't get their results to be sustainable." I had certain patients that I'd have to see once a week and it felt like forever. I was like, "I know our bodies are designed better than that. There has to be a better way to get these adjustments that I'm giving them to hold or to stay in place." It's not just about the adjustment, it's about holding the adjustment. That's what started my journey towards the upper cervical.
That was in 2006 or 2007. I went and visited a NUCCA upper cervical doctor in my area. I talked to him about it. I'd been doing some research on my own. I ended up going to a NUCCA conference and that's where it all came together for me. Everything that I had learned about the body, my wife's experience, wellness, the function of the nervous system, and what chiropractic is supposed to be, came together for me at that conference and saying, "This is it. This is what it's supposed to be." I started going in that direction. I ended up leaving my associate position in 2008. I started my own practice in Vista, California down towards San Diego. I was full NUCCA upper cervical practice at that point.
How was that transition for you from the full spine to the upper cervical?
It was extremely difficult because what I had learned in school, in my associate position was adjusting full spine. For anybody out there that's done any upper cervical adjusting, it's an extremely difficult type of adjusting to learn, especially if it's a hand adjustment. There's a lot of body control that comes into it. There's a lot of body placement, understanding of the biomechanics of your body, and all those kinds of things that you have to learn in order to do it effectively, consistently and not hurt yourself. It was extremely difficult but it was worth it because as one of my mentors said, "Even a bad upper cervical adjustment is better than anything else out there."
Other than friends and family at my house, I had never given an upper cervical adjustment to a patient until I opened my practice in 2008. Within that first month or two, I was seeing miracles. I was seeing amazing things from the care that I was giving. I was staying up until 12:00, 1:00 in the morning studying, learning, reading X-rays and continuing to try to understand what I was doing. I go to every doctor that I knew and try to learn from them. It was quite an experience right out the gate.
Bill, from reading your book, it seemed like you were on fire for your first couple of years in practice. You were doing well in a short period of time. You started a good gross income at the practice of over $30,000 a month. Your life took another turn on you without you expecting it. Why don't you tell us about that? I'm always curious when people have a life event like you did. How was your life going at that point? Did that day feel any different for you?
In 2008, I started the practice. In 2009, 2010, I started hitting the groove. By 2011, we were doing well, $30,000 a month, all-cash practice. We had a real, nice, consistent practice. Patients are coming in and referrals. In November of 2011, I had taken a seminar with Dr. Noel Lloyd about associates. I was getting ready to bring on an associate at the first of the year. It would have been nice if I already had one but it wasn't meant to be. Days after Thanksgiving, I had plans to go with some friends of mine, mountain biking, which is something that I would do on a regular basis, once a month or every other month.
As far as that day, there wasn't anything particularly different about that day. I woke up like any other day. I got up at 6:00, 6:30 in the morning. I went mountain biking with my friends. I had a great time and we were close to the end of it. We were going down this big fire road that had some big hills. It had rained a few days before that. At the bottom of this hill, there was some mud. We were going one at a time down this big hill. Where the hill was located, we couldn't see the bottom from the top. The first two guys went down. The first guy hit this mud and crashed. The second guy hit the mud and crashed. We didn't know that.
The third guy went down. He saw it before he got down there and he was able to stop. I got down. I went flying down this hill. I don't know if I hit the mud or rock but the next thing I know I'm flipped over and landed directly on my head. I thank God that I was wearing a helmet that day. I was the only one of the 6 or 7 of us that was wearing a helmet. That 2 inches of plastic is what saved my life. I flipped over and landed directly on the top of my head and the bike was over me. I was still holding onto the handlebars. The bike was up in the air and I was laying on my back the next thing I knew.
It was instant. I had lost feeling in my legs. I couldn't feel my legs. It turns out that I had a spinal cord injury. I didn't know that at the time. I'm a Christian. I have strong faith. What got me through this whole experience was my faith. The first thing I had the guys that were with me do was come and pray for me. The guys lay their hands on me and pray for me. When God didn't immediately heal me, the next thing I did was I started doing what needed to happen. I was trained as an EMT before chiropractic. I knew what needed to happen. No one moved me, call 911 and my wife. They sent Flight for Life. They came and got me. They took me to the Trauma Center in La Jolla near the San Diego area.
After doing advanced imaging, they saw that there was a burst fracture at the C7 vertebrae, which is the vertebrae at the bottom of your neck. That burst fracture led to a damaging of the spinal cord at that level. It affects everything below the level of the C7 spinal cord area. They had to do surgery to fuse that back together because the whole bone was destroyed. It was in little tiny pieces. They had to connect the T1 to the bones above it. Eventually, that ended up breaking down and not holding. They had to do another surgery and go further down. It was so damaged because the pedicles and lamina at C6 were damaged as well. They didn't realize that initially because there was so much debris.
I was in the ICU for 31 days. It was a terrible experience as far as my physical health. I lived that chiropractic wellness lifestyle and never took any drugs. Still to this day, I don't take drugs but when you're in the ICU after a major surgery like that, all they want to do is give you more and more drugs. That was difficult for me because it was messing with my mind. I had all kinds of issues as a result of that. I eventually left the ICU and went to a rehab hospital. I was there for two months and left the hospital in February of 2012.
What was your state of paralysis by the time the rehab was over?
I have what's considered tetraplegia, which means that I have no muscular function of my legs or core muscles. I have full movement of my arms. Because it's the C7 area, my hands are affected. I have partial use of my right hand and no use of my left hand. That's why it's tetraplegia because it's affecting my upper arms but it's not completely empty. It affects like quadriplegia. That's how it was when I left the rehab hospital. There hasn't been dramatic improvement since then. That was years ago.
Bill, you have a thriving upper cervical practice. What's going on through your mind when you're leaving the rehab? What's next for you?
That was the big struggle. If there are any chiropractors out there, I encouraged chiropractors that as quickly as you possibly can build your practice to a level that you can have systems in place that you can bring on additional doctors. Without additional doctors who can take over for you in this kind of circumstance because you never know what's going to happen in your life with sickness, injuries, or death even, you're in a vulnerable position. That's what I was with my practice. My practice completely relied on me to see all the patients and to drive the business. The whole thing was me-focused. In those months that I was in the hospital, I lost 80% of my practice. By the time I got out of the hospital, there was hardly anything left. At that time, we had brought on an associate but it was almost too late at that point. She was never able to get it going and eventually we closed the practice.
Bill, you've had some major success after this. What's most impressive to me is your ability to face adversity and win. You went in a completely different direction. You're still helping thousands and thousands of people with the same passion. Even though it's not you physically putting your hands on people, you are still touching many people and getting them well through the work you're doing. How did that even come about with the work you're doing? It's easy for a lot of people to say in your circumstance, "I'm done. I have nothing else." That was just not the case for you. You're thriving. That's what's most impressive to me. I would love it if you could elaborate on the process from that moment on to where you are now.
The thing is when all this happened, I have a strong faith and that brought me through. I wouldn't have got to where I am at all without my relationship with the Lord. That first year was extremely difficult. It was a dark time in my life. After getting out of the hospital, I had a pressure ulcer that kept me in bed. I was in bed 22 to 23 hours a day with this for ten months. That first year was difficult to get my mind in any kind of a position to be able to think that I could do anything else. I went to school for this. I've had success in this. This is what I know. This is what I've learned. It took a while to even be able to think again. My mind was so clouded. I was in that fog. Eventually, at the beginning of 2013, I had a friend, another upper cervical chiropractor, come to me and said, "I know you used to write articles for your website." I have a blog for my website.
Were you doing that before?
Yes. This was early on. This was 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011. I was writing blogs. I was using Facebook. I had a social media presence for my practice. I was doing videos. I still have YouTube videos that I recorded years ago that have over a million views on some of the videos I've done. I have this familiarity with all of the digital marketing stuff but I had never put those things together that could be a way that I could continue to help people until Dr. Giancarlo Licata, a good friend of mine in Southern California, came to me and was like, "I know you used to write articles for your website. I want some articles on my website but I don't have time to write them. Would you write blogs for my website on an ongoing basis? I'd pay you for that." I said, "Sure, I’ve got nothing else to do." That's what I started doing. I started writing blogs for him and I was enjoying it. I reached out to a few more of my friends and say, "I'm writing blogs for websites. Would you be interested in that?" "I would be." I grew from there. The next thing I know I'm doing newsletters.
By the summertime, I had connected with other people in the digital marketing world. I was able to do websites for people and I continued to grow from there into search engine optimization, Facebook ads, video marketing, all these different things and building this team. That's where Upper Cervical Marketing was born, which was our initial company. We focused on upper cervical chiropractors and helping them to bring hope and healing to the sick and suffering people. We reach people that are already sick and suffering. They have chronic health conditions. I heard your story, Kevin, being able to get that message out there so that people know that there is hope. What I'm all about is bringing hope to people. That's what I love doing in my practice and that's what I get to do with our business.
Bill, how many people has your company driven into upper cervical offices would you say?
We tally that up at the end of 2020. We think it's right around 50,000 new patients over the last years. That's a lot more people than I could ever have seen with my own two hands.
I’ve got a business question for you. I've had the pleasure of speaking with some people on your team and they are high-level effective people. They love what they do. How did you create and attract a great team that loves what they do, they love working for you and they're passionate about what they do? Explain to me how you attracted those people and built your business.
That's a great question because I do have a tremendous team and I've been blessed with that. Our whole thing is we have a set of seven core values. We focus on our core values, our mission, and our vision as part of how we hire people. We try to hire people who fit into from a character perspective, what we're about as a company. They need the skills for the position but the character is even much more important. We use different assessments, DISC assessment, Ideal Team Player assessment, different things like that to help us. We invest in our team like crazy. We're constantly having our team members read books, learn things, and do all those kinds of things so that we're helping them to grow, not as a professional, as a team member, but as a person. As we invest in them as a person, then we can see the fruit of that in their work and for the benefit of our business as well.
Bill, Upper Cervical Marketing was first and then your other company, Hope and Healing Solutions, how did that come about or is it the same company?
Hope and Healing Solutions is our corporation and Upper Cervical Marketing is essentially a division of Hope and Healing Solutions at this point. It's still a majority of our business is upper cervical chiropractors. We found a few years ago that the skills that we had for marketing, bringing hope and healing to sick and suffering people could be translated in a variety of different ways. We could expand our reach and our ability to help more people by helping different kinds of businesses as well.
It started with my sister's business. She has a supplement company called Warrior Strong Wellness. She had been burned by several marketing agencies. She came to me and asked me if I would do marketing for her. We did that and had some success there. We're like, "I think we can do this for other people outside of the upper cervical world." That's where that grew. We have lots of different clients in different areas. We do help some specific chiropractors. We help some different specific businesses within the health space, life coaches, and different things like that. Upper cervical chiropractors are still our bread and butter. It's the main thing we're focused on but we are helping some other people within the health and wellness space as well.
It's interesting that you mentioned coaching. After reading the book, I reached out to Jeff Scholten. I didn't even know he did coaching. I've had him on the show. I was excited because I've had life coaching before and it's worked out tremendously. A lot of people get to a certain point in their life, especially as adults, and they're like, "What do I need a coach for?" When you think about it, you have one as a kid, you have teachers, you have coaches. They help you out tremendously through life. What are your thoughts on coaching, getting coached and taking what you want to do to the next level because I think they're great at that?
I love coaches. I've used coaches throughout my business career from my chiropractic practice. I worked with several different coaches in my chiropractic practice since I've gone into a digital marketing space with my agency. I've worked with several different coaches as well. I've gotten value from every experience. I've used different types of coaching, group coaching, individual coaching and specific coaching. When I wrote the book, I used a coach for that. There are different types of coaches. There are different coaching experiences. It can be short-term experiences, long-term experiences, but it's something that can help you cut down on a lot of time to learn things when you have a coach that helps you.
Bill, what I love most about the book too is it's not written like a novel. There are not words from the top of the page and the bottom. It's a little bit spaced out and that's my favorite way to read. How did that come about? It makes it an easy read. That's like my writing style and I love that about it. You don't see too many books like that.
I read a ton of books and I find that about 80% of the books I read are too long. There tends to be too much fluff. Especially at the beginning, there's too much build-up to, “Here's what you need to do or here's what you need to learn from this book.” I didn't want that. I want it to be around 200 pages, which is what it is. It didn't need to be 350 pages. Two hundred pages and packed full of value is the way I was thinking about it. Part of that is how you read it and how it's spaced out so that's easier to read. It doesn't feel overwhelming. It's written in bite-sized chunks so that you can take it in and be able to apply it.
What was the process for you in writing this book? I know it's different for everybody but to sit down and write a book and collect all the information, what's that process like?
It's a long process and it started with the show. I have a show, The Upper Cervical Marketing Podcast that I started in 2016. I started interviewing doctors within the upper cervical world about their practices, business principles, marketing principles, those types of things to help students and doctors be successful in practice. Jeff Scholten was my first guest. That's a full circle with that. It came out of that because as I was doing all of these interviews, I started picking up all of this consistency within these practices. I think that's one of the things I'm good at is I can pick up patterns within how things work and how they don't. I was noticing all of these patterns with these docs. I was writing about them in our blog from time to time.
I got to the point where I was like, "I think this is a book. I need to put all this together in a book because there's nothing like this for upper cervical chiropractor specifically." The upper cervical chiropractic practice is unique. It's different. There's a crossover between any chiropractic practice but there are things that are specific and unique to upper cervical practice, the communication and the practice flow in a variety of different things. That's where it started was the podcast and the blog and figuring out, what are the principles that I want to focus on? The way I wrote it was, “If I was starting a practice, what would I want to know?” Based on everything I know, what would I want to know in order to be as successful as possible? That's what this book is.
Bill, I think a lot of your success comes from your drive and it started at a young age. Where do you think that drive comes from?
Persistence, perseverance and determination are definitely things that God has blessed me with. He's given me the drive to get things done. If you know anything about the personality tests, the DISC assessment, that type of thing, I'm a high D, a Driver Personality, 99 out of 100. That is the way that God has designed me and has put me together is I'm not going to give up easily. That has been crucial to being able to persevere through living life in a wheelchair, through SCI life and having to deal with everything that goes along with that, while at the same time running a business and having a great marriage and a relationship with my kids and everything. Perseverance has been a key piece.
Bill, where can people find you online, all your contact information and if they want to learn more about your companies?
If you're an upper cervical chiropractor, I highly recommend UpperCervicalMarketing.com. That's where you can get access to our show. We have over 100 episodes there with great episodes with doctors who are winning and who have great practices. You can learn a ton from those episodes. I also have 100 blog posts, free resources, and all kinds of good stuff. We have information about our services to help your practice grow. In addition, we have HopeAndHealingSolutions.com, which is if you're not an upper cervical chiropractor but you do have a health and wellness business of any type, then you can go to that website and learn more about what we do for health and wellness businesses within the digital marketing world. Both of our companies are all about bringing hope and healing to sick and suffering people. If you are focused on that in your business, then we can help you.
Bill, at the end of every show, I like to ask all my guests, what is one piece of advice that you have received over the years that has resonated with you that you would like to gift the readers? It could be anything.
One piece of advice that I got right after I was injured that stuck with me and helped me through that dark time was to read more of the Bible. I had always been a reader of the Bible but I had a friend that mentioned that at this time read more. That's what brought me out of a place where I could find hope again because I had no hope. I was in a place of hopelessness for a long time there. That for me was a key piece of advice and it's one that I continue to adhere to. I still read the entire Bible every year. It was one of those things. I put the word of God into my mind on a daily basis. It helps me to have wisdom and discernment to make decisions.
Your story is one of the reasons why I wanted to create a show to inspire and instill hope in people. That's what a lot of upper cervical docs are doing. They're giving hope because a lot of people have been everywhere else. You see a lot of miracles happen in those offices. Bill, thank you so much for coming on, sharing your story and laying all the cards out on the table. I loved this episode and would love to have you back on anytime.
Thanks, Kevin. I appreciate it.
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