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The CranioCervical Junction with Dr. Rachae Bell

5 years ago

It is without a doubt that many people need chiropractors these days. Dr. Rachae Bell, the owner of Clear Chiro Spokane, walks us through how her profession can help solve many people’s pain problems. She also talks about what inspired her to take the chiropractic route and then dove straight to upper cervical. Explaining the gateway communication center that connects the brain and the spinal cord, Dr. Rachae goes deep into the importance of the craniocervical junction, especially for our overall well-being and health. Every function in our entire body is based on the integrity of this area, and Dr. Rachae offers some tips on how to keep it neurologically clear and functioning to your optimal potential.

We have Dr. Rachae Bell. Dr. Rachae is an amazing Blair Upper Cervical chiropractor out of Spokane, Washington. She has an amazing life story and is extremely passionate about upper cervical chiropractic. She loves what she does and gets phenomenal results in her practice. Dr. Rachae will be explaining the importance of the craniocervical junction, which is arguably the most important area to our overall well-being and health because it is the gateway communication center that connects the brain and the spinal cord. Every function in our entire body is based on the integrity of this area. She explains the importance of this area, how to keep it neurologically clear and to function to your optimal potential. Please welcome, Dr. Rachae Bell.


Listen To The Episode Here

The CranioCervical Junction with Dr. Rachae Bell

Dr. Rachae, how are you?

I’m wonderful. Thanks for having me.

Thank you so much for coming on. I know you have a very amazing story of how you got into upper cervical chiropractic and you are doing amazing work out in Washington. I hear you’re opening up a second practice, which is very exciting. Dr. Rachae, where are you from originally?

I am from a little town called Davenport, not Davenport, Iowa. Everybody gets that confused in the chiropractic world. I never ran into that problem until I had fellow chiropractors as friends. It’s a small town right outside of Spokane. There were about 2,500 people and I graduated with 22 students.

You were going over how that is much different than Seattle and what people think of Washington.

We do not get the 24/7 dewy sky unless it’s summertime. We have much more drastic climate changes and lots of trees, rivers and lakes. We have beautiful summers and it gets hot and cold winters and snow. We can go skiing and snowmobiling and things, lots of stuff to do around here.

Dr. Rachae, what were you into growing up?

I played a lot of sports, I sang, I was a lead in a musical, I was in a jazz choir and I played volleyball, basketball and softball. In my summer jobs, I worked on the farm. As a farm hand, I did tractor driving and combine driving. We harvest wheat and barley in our area. I worked on all the equipment and kept the farm going. I loved it.

You were probably no stranger to some injuries and pain growing up with all that. Were you always under chiropractic care or was that something you found later on in life?

It is a funny story because I had never been under chiropractic care until I went to school. I have a unique way of getting to chiropractic. I first knew that I was interested in health and wellness or the body from a young age. In my head, I wanted to make help people get better and then I had an injury in softball. Funny enough, I did not have many injuries. This was the one and only time I had to go to the doctor for an injury in sports and all the things that I did. I rolled my ankle. The primary doctor in our small town said, “It will take six months to get better,” and we had playoffs in three weeks and I said, “This can’t take six months. I’ve got to play in playoffs.” My parents took me to a specialist up in Spokane, which had more resources. They got me back in three weeks and I was able to play in playoffs.

What were they doing? How did they get you from six months down to three weeks? Were they doing physical therapy?

The primary doctors wanted to put me in crutches, immobilize and wait until the swelling went down for four to six weeks, then they wanted to put me in a boot and then start physical therapy after four to six weeks in a boot. The specialist put me right in a boot, didn’t ever put me on crutches, had me on it and pressure on it immediately and facilitated my body’s healing. It was still pretty swollen and sore. I could not do dorsiflexion. I was running the bases with a limp because my ankle was so taped up but I was able to do it. The specialist said, “You’re not going to hurt it. It’s not going to make it worse by you being active on it,” where the primary doctor said, “You need to not be on it at all.” It was different approaches and it worked. I haven’t had any ankle problems since.

In my head I thought, “If I can get people back to doing what they love faster, that is cool.” I was in sports, loved sports and played sports in college like volleyball and basketball. I was headed down the sports medicine route. I did pre-med in undergrad and was an athletic trainer for my student job, work-study. I was always in those sports and helping people’s knee injury type of world and I loved it. I had a class that was called hospital observation. I had to go into the hospitals and observe several different specialties within the hospital setting. I observed in the ER, in oncology, in pediatric oncology, which broke my heart and general practice.

At that point, before I had observed that I wanted to specialize in knees and ankles as an orthopedic surgeon, the surgical side excited me and I thought that was cool. After observing in the hospital setting and I observed in the OR, I came home and my roommate at the time, I was having a discussion and said, “I like the hospital setting. I want to help people. I like the surgery but when I go, none of these things are exciting to me.” It doesn’t feel like a passion. A lot of these people seem overworked. They might get paid great and have a great income but they work interestingly odd hours. It seems like a lot of their relationships at home are failing. This breakroom drama, hearing their personal stories and it didn’t seem very healthy.

I thought, “Do I want to live this way?” I was having this conversation with my roommate at the time and she goes, “I don’t know why you’d want to work in a hospital anyways. When was the last time you set foot in one? You have avoided those things like the plague.” It was at first, which is odd but it was the first time I thought, “You’re right. When I’m sick, I don’t go to the doctor. When I have an injury, I figured out ways to help facilitate my body from healing rather than take medication.” She goes, “Your lifestyle and how you live is much more in line with the chiropractic lifestyle.” I said, “What are you talking about?”

When I thought back, I remember my dad going to a chiropractor and I would go with my friend’s mom and sit in the waiting room. I was aware of chiropractic but I had no idea what it was. She goes, “You would be an awesome chiropractor.” I laughed at her. Scientific double-blind studies and the scientific method, this is the medical research model. To me, chiropractic, I wasn’t sure about it but I didn’t know. I thought it was limited to neck and back pain and I didn’t necessarily want to live in a pain world. Long story short, it took her six months, she finally dragged me to the practice that she had worked at. She kept pushing it.

It was two young guys in the Boise area who had opened a practice. When I went in, the vibe felt right. People were happy to be there and they were energetic. I read the testimonial book that they had in their waiting room and it’s multiple sclerosis, anxiety, depression, acid reflux and all these things that I had no idea chiropractic can help with. It made me go, “I need to learn a little bit more about this. I don’t know enough about it to make a good decision.” It was weird timing-wise. Life West did a booth at one of our job fairs. I sat and talked to the gal. It was on campus. I went to school at the University of Redlands, which is in Southern California. She sat down and she talked to me all about chiropractic, health and wellness and the body’s ability to heal and the philosophy, science and art. She totally sold me.

I applied, got accepted and still didn’t think I’d like chiropractic. I got my teaching credential at the University of Redlands prior to going to chiropractic school because I thought I’d show up and say, “This sucks. I don’t know what I got myself into. I better have a backup so I can go home and teach or do something else.” First, I landed there, I loved Life West. The first class of my first day was a philosophy class and I was like, “This is where I’m meant to be.” The power of the body to heal itself is incredible.

This is all very amazing to me too because there still hasn’t been an adjustment yet and you’re all fired up about it, which is great.

Let me back up a month or so. Before I went to chiropractic school, I was working at a chiropractic clinic because the chiropractor who my dad went to and my friend where I sat in the waiting room, that first experience. She was the one who wrote me a letter of recommendation to get into Life West because you’re supposed to have a chiropractor refer you. I said, “Dr. Schultz, can send me a referral?” “Sure.” His front desk gal needed to go on maternity leave to have her baby for a few months and it so happens I’d be there at the right time. I could do those few months right before I went to school.

EM 104 | CranioCervical Junction CranioCervical Junction: If you’re functioning already at your 100%, you don’t want to interfere with that. Don’t try to fix something that isn’t broken.

I’m about a month into my job and I said, “Dr. Schultz, can you run me through a new patient exam? Patients are calling and asking me about what happens and I have no idea because you haven’t taken me through it and I don’t know what to do back there.” He’s taking me through the exam. “Have you ever been to a chiropractor?” I say, “No.” “Have you ever been adjusted?” “No.” He looks at me and his jaw drops, “You’re going to chiropractic school. You’re working in a chiropractic clinic and you’ve never been adjusted.” He started me under the care and at that point, I had no idea there were different techniques within chiropractic. My wheels started turning about objective measures coming from the science, premed background. I was interested because I didn’t have any symptoms. I didn’t have any aches or pains. I was a healthy person and didn’t have issues with sleep and digestion. All was good.

He was adjusting and I was like, “How do you know I need an adjustment? I don’t feel like I need an adjustment. What do you do after to tell that it did something because I wouldn’t feel any different either?” That’s what got my wheels turning about the objective measures and what do you measure before the adjustment and after the adjustment to determine if somebody needs a correction or is there a time where I come in and I don’t need an adjustment? This was honest outside thinking. I had no predisposition of chiropractic. I was totally raw.

There are many people that feel the same way as you, where they’re not walking around in so much pain, “Why would I even go see a chiropractor if I’m feeling okay?”

That’s where the philosophy class that first day where it totally made sense to me about the body’s ability to heal and make sure there’s no interference, the communication between the brain and the body, that’s health and wellness. That’s true functioning at your 100% and that makes sense to me. If you’re functioning already at your 100%, you don’t want to interfere with that. Why would we try to fix something that isn’t broken?

Where did you go from there?

I finished chiropractic school and I was super involved in all different techniques. My main thing was to learn everything I can. I did all the different electives and learned all the different techniques. I kept resonating with pediatrics and upper cervical but I took some AK classes and took a network in BioPhysics. I took Thompson Drop, Activator and upper cervical classes and I took SOT blocking. Anything I could do I did to try to understand and be the best chiropractor I could be. I graduated with clinic honors and student of the year. I took what I was doing seriously.

In my pediatric classes, I found it interesting because I always would go back to start with atlas. In the pediatric courses, they’re not necessarily upper cervical specific docs but when you’re dealing with an infant, we know the most vulnerable area of the spine is the craniocervical junction, the junction between the head and the neck. That’s the weakest link. For me, if you’re starting the wheels, if you’re starting there from an infant and that’s where you’re most likely to have an injury, trauma or misalignment from day one, why would that change then as we go into childhood, adulthood and beyond?

The biomechanics and the neurology of the upper cervical spine is complex and different than any other area of the spine. For me, it made sense that it deserves a special look. That’s how I dove straight in upper cervical. My last quarter, I did some outside training at that time with Dr. Dale, he was our teacher in Philosophy 1 and he super fired me up. He was very polarizing but I loved it. Some people hated him and some people loved him but I grabbed on and learned as much as I could and did his coaching program outside. I was doing Knee-Chest upper cervical technique at the time. I made a mission trip with their program in El Salvador, which was amazing and got our hands on so many people and were able to help and people lining up. It was incredible to serve their community. After graduation or those last couple quarters, you’re thinking, “What am I going to do next?” I love my home. I wanted to move home and I knew that. I was planning on opening my own practice and I headed home, looked at some spaces and it felt daunting opening a practice.

Is it upper cervical specific at this point?

At that point, I felt pretty married to upper cervical. I wasn’t necessarily married to a specific upper cervical technique. I had learned some AO, NUCCA, Blair, Toggle and Knee-Chest. I had a good understanding or baseline understanding.

You sound like you’re a person that likes to gather all the information and then conclude from them.

Do what makes sense for my patients and me and what resonates and feels the most congruent with me. At that time, Dr. Michelle Arietta and Dr. Lauren Clum were our business teachers and they were helping us set up a business plan. It was the inaugural Wave event that Dr. Kelly started. I was there at the end of Dr. Clum’s term at Life West. I was the first class to graduate with Dr. Brian Kelly. He started The Wave and that year was the first Wave. Michelle Arietta said, “You’re from Washington State, did you know that Darren White who practices Blair Upper Cervical has an associate position available?” I said, “I didn’t.” She said, “Did you know that he’s going to be up the Wave?” I said, “No, I didn’t.”

She made that connection and it was a perfect match. I didn’t necessarily want to be in Seattle but Dr. White had a system in place for me to get home. It was a very clear, “You’ve got to reach this benchmark, then this benchmark, then I’ll help you open a practice. Once it’s up and running, then you reach this mark, then you can buy the practice.” That’s what I did. I spent nine months as an associate. I had been specifically Knee-Chest mostly trained. That’s what I thought I would practice. I said, “Darren, do you think I can practice Knee-Chest?” He laughed at me and said, “How am I going to teach you anything when I don’t know anything about Knee-Chest?” He goes, “Practice Blair. You’ll love it.” It turns out I did. I love it even more than the Knee-Chest technique. The torque, the analysis and the protractive use, I loved it. I did an associateship with him in his practice in Kirkland and Redmond for about nine months and hit all my goals. It takes a couple of years to get to the level that I wanted to be home and I was like, “I’m not wasting any more time. I’m nose to the grindstone. I’m going to pound in it.” We opened a practice in Spokane together. He helped me open the practice and then I bought it from him a couple of years later.

Congratulations. Opening up a practice is tough work.

I encourage 100% students to find somebody to work with and collaborate with. I know that we are all like-minded people and we have a vision of what we want to do and how we want to do it. When you graduate and you can focus on just chiropractic and learning your technique and honing in on your craft, you can learn how to get new clients in the door, adjust them, take care of them and see them however many visits you think. That clinical decision making, when you also have to do the bookkeeping, the billing, the front desk and the taxes and you’re trying to make payroll. It is so much and it’s okay to do that.

From my perspective, my learning curve was so far accelerated as a chiropractor and my skillset because I could focus on patients underneath the wing of a mentor who is taking care of all the backside stuff. Signing an amazing associateship, being able to grow your practice and not just showing up and seeing their overflow of clients, learn how to build your own practice, get new clients in and develop your skills and be the best chiropractor you can be is invaluable. It accelerates your skill level and your understanding and then you can write off the next check. You can become clinic director where you’re more managing people, running team meetings and doing a little more of that. If you want to become part owner for a partnership or buy in or open a second location, at that point then you can take on more of the responsibility of the behind the scenes, payroll, taxes and things like that.

I couldn’t agree more especially because it’s such a complex junction working with the upper neck. Most of the time, we see very complex cases. Coming out of school, that can also be overwhelming. I had Dr. Banitch with me. I worked with her for a few months and watching her talk to people, watch the flow and how to run the business. I remember one of my first patients didn’t have a posterior arch, “What do I do here?” It’s little things that I can run, grab her and bring her in. It made me such a better doctor and watching somebody that’s perfected the craft is amazing. Dr. Rachae, what conditions do you see in your office? I watched an amazing video you created in your practice. Somebody was suffering from debilitating migraines for 25 years and they’re completely gone. I know you are getting great results. I’d love to hear more about it.

I did the diplomate, which also accelerated my learning and my understanding of the craniocervical junctions. I highly recommend it and it is a must if you want to accelerate your patient outcomes and have that rapport even with a patient. When you know that they have a misalignment, there is no wavering. There are limitations that matter. We may not be able to help everybody based on what they’ve got going on but at least, you can tell them what’s going on and also being able to collaborate with different providers. We can only do so much. If we’re clearing patients out and our objective findings are spot on and the symptoms necessarily aren’t changing, what else can we do? We don’t have to be everything to everybody and there are other providers that can help patients if we have a broader mindset and a more collaborative mindset.

With that being said, symptoms that we see mostly are complex cases. It’s that patient who has been from a neurologist, they’ve flown to Mayo Clinic, they’ve done everything and everything’s fine. Blood work is fine, MRIs are fine and CTs are fine. They have an issue with anxiety and depression and they think that it’s all in their head. These doctors are telling our patients and being told, “You must be making this up. We can’t find anything. We don’t know what’s wrong with you. It must be in your head.” All of my patients are put on anxiety and depression meds, sleep aids because they’re in pain and they can’t sleep. They’re thinking about what’s wrong with them and then they’re being told they’re going crazy. Their minds are racing and they can’t sleep.

I had a new client. She doesn’t leave the house. She’s bounced around and everything’s fine. She’s a classic patient that we see. Her husband brings her in and he’s like, “Even if you tell us something that you saw something, that would give us so much peace of mind.” I’m like, “You’re strangling your brain stem pretty much with this amount of rotation and this much tilt,” and it makes sense to them. They’re like, “That’s why my whole body system is failing. My body feels like it’s shutting down.” That’s because your brain and body aren’t communicating with each other.

EM 104 | CranioCervical Junction CranioCervical Junction: Chiropractors may not be able to help everybody based on what they’ve got going on, but at least they can tell them what’s going on and collaborate with different providers.

That affects the entire family too. The whole family’s connected by something like that.

She’s got two little kids and she’s like, “I can’t even be a mom. To my husband, I feel terrible.” The video that you saw was a patient who I had no idea that she was in this bad of a situation. She grew up on a farm. They hunt and they fish. In our neck of the woods, everybody has a rifle or a firearm. Everybody’s super responsible. People open carry guns around here. There are always accidents but for the most part, guns are not scary. A lot of times they’re out and about in our living rooms, in our trucks and cars and that’s our lifestyle. She goes, “I never told you this, Dr. Bell, but I had to tell my husband to lock up all of our firearms because I was to the point that I couldn’t take it anymore. I was ready to go.” I was tearing up and she was crying telling me this and she goes, “This literally saved my life.”

She doesn’t mention that in the video, that specific and communicating that’s difficult, especially when you’re on film but you can get the impact of her story and how debilitated she was. Debilitating migraines, people with head trauma, traumatic brain injury and whiplash, the cases that haven’t responded well to anything else, whether it’s injections, medications and surgery. One of my patients, they said, “It’s TOS.” They sliced his scalene to open up the TOS while he still has head pressure, headaches and can’t turn his head. It’s still has tingling and numbness down in the arms and didn’t do anything but we have limitations that matter. Now that those had been sliced, I have a harder time getting them to hold. It breaks my heart when I wish I could tell a better story so that we could get these people before they do something where we can’t reverse it.

Dr. Bell, why is upper cervical helping these people? What is going on where these people are getting their life back and there’s no more anxiety, depression and the migraines are going away? How is upper cervical able to help with all these conditions?

We have to think bigger than a subluxation or a misalignment than what we think. We think of misalignment or subluxation is a vertebra that’s out of place, that’s affecting nerve flow and there’s lack of motion. A lot of the objective of chiropractic is to restore motion to the spine. Proper motion allows for proper nerve input afference and efference up and down our system. It goes beyond that. When we have misalignments, there are changes in blood flow, lymph flow, cerebral spinal fluid flow and nerve flow, which we talk about a lot in the chiropractic world. It’s because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not changing. Chiropractors know this better than any other providers, especially medical doctors, we know how amazingly crafted and coordinated our systems are all at once.

Billions of reactions are happening without us even thinking about it. When we have misalignments at the craniocervical junction, between the brain stem and the spinal column, it controls every function in our body. We’re not getting the proper blood flow, the proper cerebral spinal fluid flow and the proper drainage from the brain. We have a lymphatic system that within the last couple of years is being studied. Something you never even knew about but it would make sense that people who are in alignment are sleeping better and they feel better because their lymphatic system is able to drain because there’s not a kink, for lack of a better analogy, in their system. The upper cervical spine because it’s so close to the brain, the brain stem and you have this tiny little hole out of the base of your head that all of that information has to go through and then we have the atlas, which is the most freely moveable bone in the spine. It can be misaligned in many different ways.

Force follows the path of least resistance and it affects the craniocervical junction. You have the whiplash trauma, no matter where you get hit on the body. Think of a football tackle, you hit the shoulder and the side, you don’t even hit your head. The camera doesn’t zoom in to where you’re getting hit in the shoulder. They don’t care about that. They zoom into the head and the neck and go, “Look at how his head whipped from side to side.” Force follows the path of least resistance and that is the craniocervical junction because there are no bone interlockings of atlas above or below, you don’t have a facet and you don’t have a disk.

It has the most range of motion and it can be misaligned in so many different ways and it can be misaligned way more severely to the degree. In order for another vertebra to become misaligned to the degree the atlas can, they almost have to jump off a facet where you have a perched facet or something and then you can have a true subluxation of the rest of the spine. There’s no jumping or perched facet at atlas. It’s the straight rotation and it’s like wringing out a wet towel. You have that torque, you have the dural tension and you have so much strain on your spine.

When I had finished the diplomate or while I was in the diplomate, I met with a neurosurgeon and I was speaking his language because I understood the language of the craniocervical junction and that’s what they use in the medical profession. They don’t say the upper cervical spine, they say the craniocervical junction. When I talked to him and I talked about cerebral spinal fluid flow and the dural tension, I was using these terms, he said, “You’re different,” but I was speaking on his language and he wanted to talk to me because of that. He took me to sushi. We had an amazing conversation about what he does and how I think we have a great working relationship. He refers to me before he gets a patient under surgery. He goes, “This dural tension that you’re talking about makes 100% sense. I cut into some people and their spine is completely relaxed, super easy, standard, cookie cutter, your textbook spinal surgery. My toughest, most complex cases that usually don’t respond well, what happens when I cut into them, it’s like a spring unwinding. It goes ping and unwinds. There is so much tension in that person’s spinal column and the dura that it literally unravels. I got all these moving parts,” and it’s hard because that is the hardest patient. I know it’s not going to be that good if that happens.

I never thought about it from that perspective. That’s very interesting.

He gets it. When I say, “Let’s check them out from a neurological biomechanical perspective. Let’s reduce that amount of tension as much as we can prior to going into surgery.” They’re going to have so much better outcomes and maybe even prevent the surgery, to begin with. We worked together and we’ve prevented some surgeries. We’ve improved patients’ outcomes because they’ve got under care but still needed surgery and it makes total sense.

What were some of your biggest takeaways from the diplomate program? A lot of people and myself think, “It’s more learning and it’s more school. It’s on the weekends. I’m running a busy practice.” Were you able to run your practice completely and do the diplomate? What were some of the big things you took away from the program?

First off, I had then a year out of practice and I had jumped into my new practice. I literally was building a practice from the ground up when I started. I had zero patients when I started. If you already have a practice and you have some patients, you’re starting off in a more stable position than I was to go away for one weekend a month. That’s not bad and you can do it. Does it take a hit on your practice? Yeah, I had to leave and shut down Friday sometimes depending on how far I was flying. I live in a small town. I never had a single direct flight to anywhere that we went. I always have layovers and that lengthens your travel time but the value was well-worth it. There were some weekends where I was like, “That was a lot of information and a lot of learning. It wasn’t what I was looking for. Was it the critical thinking piece? Was it necessary?” Yes. “Did it help my understanding of the grand scheme of thing over the few years?” Yes. Some of those things, it’s like in practice, you love some things and you wish you didn’t have to do others.

From a time perspective, the amount of understanding that you get, the complexity, the neurology and the cerebral spinal fluid flow and the biomechanics and the understanding of different techniques and how we analyze. When you can start looking at things from a bigger 3D perspective, when you can say, “This is how I see it because I’ve refined my technique and I know exactly how to analyze it from the way I see it,” but then you can take that perspective from the way another doc sees it and say, “Look at this. Did you see this? Did you look at this perspective?” Your critical thinking on how you can help that patient expands tenfold and it’s not overwhelming. It’s that critical thinking piece that accelerates patient outcomes. That is first and foremost the most important thing that I got because for me, it’s all about patients getting well, saving lives and helping people live a happier and healthy life.

The second part is we have to do a better job of educating our community and our colleagues. The educational piece and the understanding of how to communicate not only with our patients but sometimes more importantly how they’re going to get to our office, which is by other providers saying, “You need to check this technique out. You need to check out this chiropractor.” That is a critical piece. When I came back, that neurosurgeon said, “Can you present to my group of providers?” I presented on the CCJ cerebral spinal fluid flow to about fifteen different providers. He introduced me as a neurosurgeon and said, “This is Dr. Rachae Bell. She’s going to teach you about the craniocervical junction and cerebral spinal fluid flow.”

That pinch nerve garden hose analogy is not going to work with those people.

They get it. I had a primary doctor refer me a patient because she has hot feet. They don’t know what is causing the hot feet but it makes sense that it’s neurological and it makes sense that the brain and the body are not communicating. There’s something out of balance. Maybe it could be your nervous system. Maybe it could be the craniocervical junction. They send them over, “Try out Dr. Bell. She does something different. She’s not your typical chiropractor, she specializes and she might be able to take tension off of the nervous system and maybe help your body function better.” The ability to communicate with other providers is hands down.

This is a funny story, my mom told me because she’s been working on a patient, her colleague, to come in. She’s a teacher in a grade school and she’s trying to get her friend to come in. Some of her friends go into a neurosurgeon and end up with Dr. Schuster. He knows me and says, “The only chiropractor that you can go to in Spokane is Dr. Bell.” My mom’s watching my daughter, I go to pick her up, she goes, “You’ve got to hear this story. I’ve been working on this patient forever. She went to the neurosurgeon and the neurosurgeon even told her that she needs to come to see you.” It can happen and we do need to collaborate, understand and respect what they’re doing. Do we want people to get cut on? No, but we have an amazing emergency medical system and when things happen, if I break my neck in a car accident, I better believe I’m going to the orthopedic surgeon to see what’s going on.

If I can avoid it, I will but if you break your arm, I don’t want you walking through my front door. Respect for other techniques, even respect within the chiropractic community. Do I think that what I do is the end all be all to every single patient? No. I had a patient come in, I’m like, “You definitely have something going on with your ankle that chiropractic can help you with but the last time I adjusted an ankle was in chiropractic school. I’m going to send you to a chiropractor who I know rocks extremities and he or she is going to take good care of you.” I have no problem doing that.

The patient loves you for that and they love the other doctor.

EM 104 | CranioCervical Junction CranioCervical Junction: We need more chiropractors and more people helping people get well without the use of drugs and surgery.

They love us both and that’s no problem. It’s more people who need what we have. They’re frustrated with going to the doctor, telling them their symptoms, not getting an exam, getting rushed out of there and being pedal pushed a bunch of different medications because of the symptoms they’ve been told. They want to know what’s wrong and how to help it. They don’t want to cover up symptoms. We need more chiropractors. We need more people helping people get well without the use of drugs and surgery. If we can collaborate and respect each other and know that we’re all doing amazing care for people, it’s going to bring our whole profession to the next level, even with PT and massage. It’s important for me to focus and be the best at what I do. My goal is to get patients from all over the world to want to come because we get amazing results and we can help them but I’m not going to try to be everything to everybody. When I know that’s outside of my expertise, I refer them to somebody who is also the best in whatever I’m referring for.

You’ve got to put the ego aside sometimes.

We can’t come from a scarcity mentality. Many people need us and we have to come from a mentality of abundance.

Dr. Rachae, where can people find you online, your practice name and everything, if they want to schedule an appointment or find more information about you?

We’re in Spokane. Our website is That is our website for the practice. You can find all the information pretty much you need on there as far as phone numbers and things. My personal email address, I don’t mind sharing. The work email is Our practice number is (509) 315-8166. We do have a Facebook page, Clear Chiropractic Spokane. We have Instagram, @ClearChiroSpokane. You can find us on all those different avenues. We’re always trying to be engaged in the community and online and updating all of our stuff. We’ve got a great team and we’re developing even more in that social media realm. Like us, follow us and learn from us.

Dr. Bell, at the end of every episode, I like to ask all my guests, what is one piece of advice that you’ve learned from over the years that have resonated with you and that you would like to gift the audience? It could be absolutely anything.

I will give a piece of information first to students and that piece of information is to find a mentor that you can work with. We come out of school and trying to run a business is doing a disservice to your patients trying to juggle all those plates at once. Find somebody that you can work with and have a good relationship with. Even think of it being a long-term relationship. It doesn’t have to be an associateship for a couple of months and then you go out on your own. Even if you can stay for several years together, we can accomplish so much more. When you go out on your own, you do reinvent the wheel and there are things that you shouldn’t be reinventing the wheel on all the time. That’s my first advice to students having an open mind to being on a team. When you’re in practice and you do end up on your own, have an open mind to build a team and to take on other students because we have to have this mentorship and take other students under our wing to get better results.

Second is for patients, continually be your own advocate. There are things out there that can and will help you. There are people who have a better understanding and are willing to take the time to understand, learn, analyze, examine and dive deep into what you’ve got going on and do their best to help you. If they can’t help you, they’ll send you to the next person, collaborate, co-manage or do whatever it takes to do the best they can at accelerating your healing. Patients, if you’re out there and you’re struggling and you haven’t found any answers, keep diving, keep your own advocate, keep researching and reach out and continue to advocate for yourself. Most of the patients that I see who have had the biggest change in their lifestyle, they came because they kept researching and that’s important. We’re here to help you.

Thank you so much for coming on. I enjoyed this episode. You are a wealth of knowledge on upper cervical, chiropractic and overall well-being. Thank you so much for joining us.

Thank you so much.

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