Back to all posts

What Chiropractic School Is Right For Me? with Dr. John Stenberg

5 years ago

Chiropractic care is growing in popularity. More and more people are discovering this alternative form of health care to treat a number of ailments. If you’re leaning towards making this practice your profession but you’re confused about what chiropractic school you should go to or which one would be right for you, there really is no right or wrong answer. We’re going to break down everything with Colorado Springs chiropractor Dr. John Stenberg so you have options and you can choose for yourself.

We have a recurring doctor on, Dr. John Stenberg. He is a Blair Upper Cervical doctor out of Colorado Springs, Colorado. He’s a very talented doctor. If you’re out in that area, please go see him. He’s very sound in the upper cervical world. We’re going to talk about what chiropractic school you should go to and which one would be right for you. There’s no right and wrong answer. We’re just going to breakdown everything so you have options and you can choose for yourself.


Listen To The Episode Here

What Chiropractic School Is Right For Me? with Dr. John Stenberg

Dr. John, how are you?

I’m good. I appreciate you having this conversation because when I went to chiropractic college, I didn’t know any of this. I had been to a chiropractor’s office one time when I went to school. I’d been adjusted one time and I knew nothing. I was a blank slate. A lot of the stuff that we’re going to talk about will be helpful for me five years ago thinking about going to school.

I was in the same boat. I was chiropractically adjusted all my life, but when it came time to school, I had a couple of people telling me, “You don’t want to go to that school. They don’t have philosophy there.” I was like, “I don’t even know what that means so I’m just going to go where I want to go.” I chose the warm weather and that’s how I ended up in California. My cousin went there too, which was a huge factor. We’re doing this episode because I don’t think many people break it down. John, where did you go to school?

I went to Life University at Marietta, Georgia in the Northwest of downtown Atlanta. That school opened in the mid ‘70s being an offshoot of polymer and some of those types of philosophy-based schools. Dr. Sid Williams started that university and it’s grown to be one of the largest chiropractic colleges. They’ve got one other branch somewhere in California.

Knowing that you didn’t know much to go off, what made you pick Life University?

EM 95 | Chiropractic School Chiropractic School: Save yourself some time and money and undergraduate and get right to work.

I have one friend who was completing his undergraduate and he was going to go to chiropractic college. I met with him and asked him a few questions about how to pick a school and all that. He went into this whole thing about straights and mixers and all these things that didn’t make any sense. At the time, it was just confusing. I researched top chiropractic and all that stuff and I visited four schools on one weekend. I’ve flown around the country, did a day at a bunch of different schools. I went to see Northwestern, which is out in Minnesota. I went to Life University down in Atlanta. I had visited D’Youville, which is up in Buffalo. I figured that I’m going to visit a few that’s got to be fairly similar. Once I have a little bit of context for the campus and the area and all that stuff, I’ll make a decision based on that little bit of research.

At some of the smaller schools like the D’Youville, they schedule a day and they have someone take you around and show you the class and all those things. In Northwestern, I spent a day with some students and pick their brains about the curriculum and sat in on a class with them. When I went to Life University, they somehow didn’t know that I was coming even though I had a reservation to do a tour on the campus. They have more amenities and more opportunities there. I showed up and they were in between quarters on breaks and there was nobody there. The campus was dead and I was so confused, but I managed to find my way into the administrative building. I found something and said, “I’m supposed to have a tour.”

They scrambled and found someone to show me around. It was interesting because I didn’t get to see any classes. I didn’t get to meet any students. I got a ten-minute walk around the campus and some brochures. I was exhausted from traveling so after the tour, I was a little bit disappointed because it wasn’t what I was expecting. I just went and sat in the cafeteria. I was thinking about all this stuff that I experienced and something about that campus felt right. I don’t know what it was and I still don’t have much of a descriptor. It felt like the place for me. I went home and thought a little bit more about it. It didn’t take me long to make a decision and I applied and started as soon as I could.

Chiropractic school is easy to get into. It’s not that hard to get into when you think about PT schools and medical schools.

I had this conversation with a friend of mine. He’s an optometrist here in town, Dr. Justin Manning and we were talking about our experiences. He went to Ohio State University. It’s very competitive to get in and we were discussing some of the entrance criteria and all that. I was telling him, “In chiropractic college, the bar is a little bit lower than some of those other professional programs in terms of the entrance.” I was describing to him that at the same time, I was applying to dental schools and you had to have X amount of hours of shadowing. You had to have letters of recommendations. There were interviews, there was a DAT exam that you had to pass just to apply. I told him that I sent my $250 with an application and three weeks later I got accepted. I thought, “I guess this is how it works, but I’m in.”

Do you think that that’s because most chiropractor schools are self-funded whereas if you go to PT school or medical school, they have all these grants? You can go to the University of Arizona Physical Therapy School. I’m sure that has a ton of money where chiropractic schools aren’t in the mainstream college campuses.

That might have something to do with it. More than anything, it’s about volume, “Let’s get as many people in here as we can.” That may or may not be a good thing because a bunch of the students that started with me that quarter never saw the end of their first year. If you’re considering doing a doctorate level education, the standards to get in are one thing. What it’s going to take to see the program through and have the training to get licensed and take care of people is a different thing altogether. In a lot of ways, those entrance requirements being low is a little bit deceptive because it’s a lot of work to get through the program. It’s a lot of work to maintain good grades and keep your head above water. I encourage anybody who’s looking at the requirements and say, “I’ve got to be average. I took the classes, I can do this.” Connect with some doctors and some students and learn about the reality of what the program is like because it was different than I anticipated.

I remember that on my first day of school, I sat next to this kid that got into school and never took an anatomy class. In anatomy, he had no clue what was going on. Unfortunately, he did not last more than two or three weeks. He paid his money. I’m not sure if he got all of it back. It is easy to get in, but you have to do your due diligence to stay there because it can be a very quick ride for you.

This is an important thing to do before you go to a chiropractic college and that’s get a biology degree. Study in a pre-med program that’s going to give you a good background in anatomy and physiology and healthcare terminology. You’re not having to learn the language of how we talk about things in healthcare. I didn’t know this until after the fact that you don’t need a Bachelor’s degree to apply to a chiropractic college. There are some states where you don’t even need it to get any license. That’s another thing to consider. If you’re looking at those requirements, you can start that program without finishing your bachelor’s degree and complete it along with your chiropractic. Save yourself some time and money and undergraduate and get right to work. That’s something I wish I’d have known because I would have done that.

I took the bare minimum science courses that you needed to take to get into school while others had pre-med degrees and exercise physical degrees. I was intimidated the first three months because a lot of this stuff was new for me and these kids knew what was going on. They knew what they talked about. When that’s over, it’s a different story when you start learning the chiropractic stuff, but it’s very beneficial if you have that under your belt just to hit the ground running faster.

EM 95 | Chiropractic School Chiropractic School: The body knows what it needs and it has the capabilities to heal, grow, and continue to adapt to the changes in its environment when it’s functioning properly.

It’s not by any stress of imagination and absolute requirement. There are a lot of people that were in our class that was in their second careers. They had worked in another unrelated field and made a switch to chiropractic. They are having to play catch-up. Stack the deck in your favor because you want to be able to succeed early and gain momentum and make sure that you’re keeping up with the load of coursework. The sheer volume of classes and work is going to be much different than undergraduate. Do everything you can to prepare but at the same time, if you don’t have all those ducks in a row, it doesn’t mean you can’t.

In my chiropractic class, the age range was phenomenal. It was 20s, 30s, 40s and we had people in their 50s doing a career change. It is never too late. If you think you’re out of time and it’s impossible, it’s never too late to make the switch.

One thing to consider is the opportunity cost. If you’re at 50 years old and you’re thinking about making a switch, you also need to understand you’re going to invest several hundred thousand dollars in that education. You need to understand what your career trajectory is going to look like and if that’s a return of investment that you want to make. A lot of people don’t talk about is that it’s expensive. You need to know if you’re going to make that investment. It’s only an investment if there’s a return. Otherwise, it’s an expense. You have to dig deep into the cost to understand what it’s going to cost for you to live in the area around there. Being in LA, being in Atlanta, the cost of living is not the same as it is. NYCC is in rural New York so there’s a lower cost of living. All those different factors influence how much coursework you can take. Your quality of life is going to be in terms of outside of school with your living expenses. There are people that need to take jobs to do that thing and go at a slower pace to be able to make it. Those are all things to consider outside of getting into school and starting in the coursework. That’s all things that affect how well you can do it.

If you are going to make that career change, it might be wiser to select a school that’s local so you don’t have to move out of your place. Maybe you can work part-time at the job you’re still at. That could cut down on the cost of living and saving some money. Dr. John, what is a mixer and what is a straight chiropractor because this does play into where you might want to go to school?

In a lot of ways, that terminology is outdated. I don’t mean it in a way that it doesn’t have a context. The way that it was developed doesn’t make sense now. Historically speaking, the straight chiropractors are the ones that would operate within the traditional philosophical constructs of chiropractic. They maintain a conservative subluxation-oriented practice focus. The mentors will be the ones that are more on the musculoskeletal pain specialty. It’s not a right or wrong conversation. There are differences in perspectives and philosophies and application. There are patients that are going to be best suited towards those different styles of practice.

From an educational perspective, the schools tend to be leaning more one way or the other. Even within the campus setting, there are shades of gray with that. I went to a school that was more on the traditionally straight side of things. It was more philosophically focus, but it doesn’t mean that everybody on the campus was excited about that. It doesn’t mean that that’s all we ever talked about. It doesn’t mean that we have animosity towards people that practice other ways. There are people like that. If you think about the bell curve, eliminate the extremes. Most of us within the standard, we bell curve there. We try not to talk about how anybody else views things because it’s beneficial at the right time and place.

What does that mean that the straight chiropractors focus more specifically on the adjustment rather than soft tissue work and other modalities like stim and all that? What does that mean?

This is just me sharing my own opinion. The mentality and the philosophy that you approach patient care is the difference. On the “straight” side of things, we always approach a situation and understanding that the body has a self-healing organism and the body is intelligent. The body knows what it needs and it has the capabilities to heal and grow and continue to adapt to the changes in its environment when it’s functioning properly. We always want to work with that. Our orientation and our focus in the entity that we’re most fixated on is health. The opposite side of the spectrum would be people that are focused on the problem or focused on the disease or focused on the issue or dysfunction. The differences are going to be like, “We want to support healing and health. We want to eliminate structural problems that interfere with that process.”

As opposed to, “We want to use spot and manipulation in a variety of other treatments to alleviate musculoskeletal pain.” It’s differences in philosophy. What that means is how you manage patients and how you view problems that are going to be applied through that lens. Someone who’s got a frozen shoulder, if you go see a “straight chiropractor,” they’re going to say, “We understand that the body is self-healing and self-regulating organism. You’ve got a secondary condition or you’ve got a problem with your shoulder. We could treat the shoulder and try to alleviate that or we can look at the big picture and say, “Why is that shoulder dysfunctional compared to the other? What is it that’s making the body not able to fix that problem on its own?”

We’re going to focus our attention on the spine. We’re going to look for issues there. We’re going to focus our attention on correcting those issues in the spine. Whether or not that 100% heals and corrects the shoulder, the spinal related issues are the primary concern. Within certain limitations, a lot of that stuff is going to heal and go away on its own, but if it doesn’t, you still have the full benefit of the care. Whereas on the musculoskeletal mixer side of the profession, all the focus and attention is going to be on how do we increase the range of motion with the shoulder? How do we improve the function there? We may or may not incorporate spinal adjustments in that, but the focus is going to be on alleviating that symptom and removing that symptom.

EM 95 | Chiropractic School Chiropractic School: Open-mindedness doesn’t mean that you have to accept everything, but you just take it in, weigh it, and make decisions based on your values.

What we’re finding clinically now is they do work well with certain patients together. If we treat the spinal, the bone out of place, the structural problem of the patient and we clear it up, sometimes it gets 100% better. Let’s say it gets 75% to 80% better and there are still some lingering muscle issues, I have no problem sending them over to a musculoskeletal specialist. I will send to a sports chiropractor that does a lot of soft tissue work. They can take away that other 20% of the problem to help facilitate that healing once we get everything else stabilized.

It’s a matter of priorities and identifying your training and the best available literature and evidence and the patient’s goals. That’s evidenced-based care establishing priorities for what is the best use of their time and money from a healthcare perspective in a chiropractor’s office. Based on that, there are going to be a variety of different perspectives and priorities. If someone’s doing conservative targeted care and they have goals and they’re using objective testing to measure progress, it’s going to be up to the doctor and patient to decide what’s best for them.

**Dr. John, we both went to different routes in chiropractic school. There’s not a lot of middle ground. Your school was a straight school, heavily oriented on the philosophy and the structural aspects. Not to say it doesn’t have the other side, but your school is known for philosophical structurally-based chiropractic school. My school was way on the other side of the spectrum where if there’s a shoulder issue, they’re looking at the shoulder. They’re using modalities. They’re doing a lot of soft tissue work. They don’t believe that bones can move out of place. I’ve had several interesting conversations with the teachers that I ended up stop having because it would turn out into a full-blown argument and it wasn’t worth anybody’s time.

When I got to school, there was no upper cervical talk. When somebody said adjust C1, people would start laughing. I got laughed at for practicing toggle recoil in the adjusting room. It was not easy. You have to philosophically sound in what you’re doing if you’re going to go to a “mixer” school. If you do go to a school that is evidence-based, I’m sure there are a lot of good philosophically-based chiropractors in the area that you could learn from while you’re going to those schools. That’s exactly what I did. I was in an upper cervical office once or twice a week just to learn the technique because I wasn’t getting any of that at the school like you were.**

There are a couple of important points to go along with that. The school setting tends to be so intense because you’re studying so hard and everybody is stressed out and you’re working like crazy. A lot of these arguments and conversations get out of hand and they’re not productive. If you’re in school, keep an open mind. I would also keep your BS meter on high alert. I get a lot of people coming through with a lot of wacky ideas. You need to look for consistent principles that you can observe and apply. Keep an open mind and let the results speak for themselves. That’s one thing that I appreciated about not having a chiropractic background going into school. I took everything at face value and weighed it all equally based on results. As my education progressed, I started to weed out the things that didn’t fit with my values and my perspectives and the way that I see myself practicing.

At the same time, there were times where I was one of those idiots. I got involved in those conversations and were making unqualified statements based on what I heard someone in a technique seminar say. You don’t know anything in school, but you should keep an open mind and look at a lot of different perspectives because anyone’s school isn’t going to give you everything that you need. What you did was the right thing to do. Spend some time outside of the clinical academic settings. Spend some time with doctors in the field and see what the day-to-day is like in different types of offices. In a lot of ways, even in a clinic at school, it’s way far removed from reality.

You’ve got to do what feels right for you. There are over 200 chiropractic techniques. Some people walk into the school and they know exactly what they’re doing on day one and others are floating around. Have your BS meter going, but also be open to techniques because there are some wild chiropractic techniques that look strange but they are very effective. For instance, Dr. Ben Benulis, he’s an NSA doctor. If you look at that technique from afar, you are going to look and say, “What was that? That looks like total BS. What’s going on?” He is getting amazing results in his office. He was the only kid in class that was like, “What’s going on here? I want to look further into it.” Everybody else dismissed it. He’s doing phenomenal work because it resonated with him. That’s huge when you want to pick what you want to do after school or during school.

I talked to other healthcare providers. I spent a few hours with a TMJ specialist here in town. She’s a dentist and I interviewed Dr. Justin Manning. He’s an optometrist. We had these same conversations where there are a lot of different unique ways to focus in any healthcare field. There’s room for everybody. As long as you’re doing quality work, you have high integrity and you’re conservatively providing good care to patients. There’s room for all of it. When it comes down to consistent principles, those are the things that you want to look for. There’s going to be stuff that comes up on the fringes and some people like to be on the fringes and that’s okay.

For me, I tend to be more analytical, I tend to be a little bit more wanting to see data to back stuff up. Knowing myself, I tend to gravitate towards things that incorporate that as a routine part of the care. You’ve got to be self-aware. You’ve got to know what your values are. You’ve got to keep an open mind and evaluate a lot of different things. Even if you don’t end up using all of that stuff in your practice, it’s going to increase your perspective. When you’re managing patients and you’re seeing that not everything is solved with one particular intervention or approach, it’s important to have other things in the back of your mind to evaluate and say, “We’ve gotten into a certain point. You could use this other thing to tie up some loose ends. My approach is the right thing for you, but here’s another perspective to consider rather than giving up on chiropractic care altogether.” That open-mindedness doesn’t mean that you have to accept everything but you just take it in, you weigh it and you make decisions based on your values.

Knowing what we know now, we are upper cervical chiropractors. We have graduated. We didn’t know much about the field when we started. What are the best options for people that are going into chiropractic school? They’ve had their own personal experiences with upper cervical. They like it, they want to go for it. What can be their next step to a good upper cervical sound chiropractic school? There are a couple of good options.

EM 95 | Chiropractic School Chiropractic School: You have to prioritize and manage your time well because you’re going to have a lot of demands.

Life University in Atlanta is your best option. It’s not the best school for everything, but I will say this. Being in Atlanta, you have a lot of opportunities to be exposed to a lot of different types of approaches and techniques. I took three different upper cervical techniques as a part of my elective courses. I was able to evaluate outside of all the other adjustment techniques we learned. There were countless seminars that came through town because it was such a big hub in a big city and it’s accessible. That would be at the top of the list. Sherman College of Chiropractic in Spartanburg, South Carolina in the East Coast, they’ve got a strong upper cervical presence from what I’ve gathered. They’re always hosting seminars. One good thing about Sherman is it’s relatively close to Life University. It’s a three-hour drive. We would have kids from Sherman come down all the time for seminars and vice versa. You almost get the accessibility of both. That’s something to consider.

Other than that, Life West, a satellite campus on the West Coast is another good option especially for Blair. They’ve got a strong presence there. Then the Palmer campuses have somewhat of an upper cervical presence of Dr. Todd Hubbard who is great at upper cervical. He’s on staff there. You can use Blair and their clinic system. A lot of these things that you learned, you may or may not be able to practice on campus in the clinics. That’s another thing to consider when you’re looking at those techniques. Learning them is how you can use them as a part of your education. Other than that, few and far between in the US are schools that have the opportunity to learn upper cervical care as a part of your curriculum.

Parker has a solid club there where it might not be in the clinic or the curriculum, but there are students that are active and have a hunger for learning the upper cervical techniques.

If you’re at another school, if you’re at Logan or NYCC or Northwestern, you can start an upper cervical club. There are doctors who travel all over the country to teach and engage with students. You can have ways to access those resources wherever you are. You don’t have to be at one of these schools. If you’ve got the motivation and you’re passionate about this thing, you can make it work wherever you are. It’s more or less about your experience.

You can make this work at any chiropractic school you want to go to. The first year and a half or maybe even two years is strictly bookwork anyway. Everybody has got to get through the same thing before you could even start exploring these avenues.

The way the curriculum is structured is more or less based on the board testing system. To be a licensed chiropractor in any state you practice, you have to have passed four parts of a national board exam. The first part of that board exam is the basic sciences. You spend the first six quarters of the school becoming knowledgeable and proficient in the basic sciences. After you pass that first part of your board exams, things start to turn to more of the clinical work and more of the chiropractic focused stuff. That’s your scientific foundation for everything else that you’re going to learn. You said that you’re a year and a half in the program. It can bog you down because there is not much hands-on learning. There are not much chiropractic techniques that you’re learning. Being involved in clubs and doing some seminars keeps you fired up because otherwise, you can get bogged down.

Although my school didn’t have a strong upper cervical presence, they were phenomenal at getting you through the boards and passing you through that which is what it’s all about. If you can’t pass the boards, then you’re not going to be a chiropractor. I’m sure that goes with a lot of the other schools. You need to get into chiropractic school. You need to pick a location that’s going to be right for you. You’ve got to pick something that’s going to be financially right for you and you need to get the piece of paper that is the degree. That’s what you need.

They’re going to have the same base curriculum which is geared towards that CCE or Council on Chiropractic Education standards. Those standards are preparing you for the board exams and you need the board exams to be a license. In a lot of ways, a chiropractic college is getting each of the points of licensure. It’s getting you to be qualified as safe, as knowledgeable, as efficient, as meeting certain standards, both clinically and academically to be safe out there in the general population and take care of people. We used to have assemblies weekly or a couple of times a quarter at Life University where you would go listen to a speaker. You’ve got credit for it. Everybody would gather in the gym.

I remember Dr. Arno Burnier was there talking one time. He had gone to Sherman College back when they were hardcore and straight philosophy and learned from some legends and chiropractic. A lot of the curriculum is oriented towards the testing. It’s not as applicable to your day-to-day practice. He encouraged us to make a parallel curriculum and as you learn the philosophy, focusing on different types of techniques. Dedicating time and resources outside of what you do as a part of your normal coursework to learn some of that stuff. If you just wait for it to show up at some point in your education, you’re going to be disappointed and you’re going to miss out on a lot of opportunities.

If you were into upper cervical and you were like, “I’m just going to focus on getting my education, getting the piece of paper and then I’m going to graduate.” It’s going to take you some time after you graduate to get the technique down and you’re not going to be ready to go for a while. That parallel curriculum of getting what you need to have done and also knowing what you want to do at the same, you want to converge at one point. It’s nice to be ready to go after you graduate and it’s tough upper cervical if you’re not.

EM 95 | Chiropractic School Chiropractic School: Don’t go to chiropractic college because your grades weren’t good enough to go to med school and you can’t be a doctor. It’s a disservice to you, your community, and your patients.

It’s going to force you to prioritize your time because you’re going to have a lot of demands. We took upwards of 30 credits in a ten-week quarter. You’re talking 60 to 70 hours of coursework on top of the clinic, on top of studying and all that thing. You’re spread thin so you have to prioritize and manage your time well if you’re going to do that. It’s a very important thing to do it anyway. There are going to be some sacrifices in other areas of your life.

One of the most important things on my list is to find a mentor. Find somebody that’s doing exactly what you want to do and do everything that they do and make it your own at the same time. In the upper cervical world, we see some extremely difficult cases. I still struggle with some bizarre case I’ve never seen before. You have to have a couple doctors on speed dial to send the x-rays and get their advice like, “Have you ever seen this before?” That, in turn, can help that patient. I’ve had so many cases where I didn’t know what to do at some point. I would hit up Dr. Liz Hoefer or Dr. Hall or Dr. Bulow. They’ve given me so much valid pieces of information to help that patient that you need that to succeed.

All of those doctors and a bunch of others, they’re very willing to help young doctors out. It’s not like they’re inaccessible or they’re not open to collaboration. They love it and they’re very open to that. If you don’t take advantage, you’re only doing a disservice to yourself and your patients. That’s 70 years’ worth of combined clinical experience that you have to tap into and that’s invaluable. This is my perspective. You’re unlikely to find those types of mentors on campus. People who are teaching in chiropractic colleges are very disconnected from the reality of chiropractic in the field. That’s not a knock on them, but that world is so condensed.

They’ve got so much other stuff to worry about like getting students credits and all this stuff. It’s not the real world.

They’re just disconnected. You can have those mentors on campus, but it’s important to go outside as well. Dr. Charmaine Herman who teaches on campus at Life, if it wasn’t for her, coming in from the outside and being engaged in chiropractic curriculum and education and mentoring students, I would have never known about Blair Chiropractic. I wouldn’t have been a Blair patient and I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. People like her and Dr. Chris Lee, if you’re in Atlanta, they’re two great Blair doctors in the area that are very open and welcoming. They’re our great resources. If you don’t know who those people are in your area, you can reach out to someone who’s practicing upper cervical and say, “I’m a student at such and such college. I want to learn a little bit about what this is all about. Who do you know around here that I can connect with?” There’s someone near every school that would be open and willing to do that.

I might want to make this an entirely different episode of how to open your own practice out of school because we both did that and that’s a whole conversation in itself. Do you have any final thoughts on what people can do to pick a chiropractor school that’s right for them? Do you have any advice for students currently in school?

If you’re preparing to go ahead of time, I would spend some time in offices before you get to school. One of the things that are going to happen is you get so far along in school. You get in so deep and you get in over your head that a lot of times it’s easy to keep going because it’s what you’re doing. I graduated with friends who are already out of practice and selling insurance and working other jobs and doing different things. You spent four years of your life and $250,000 to get this degree and it’s useless to you. You need to know like, “This is what I am supposed to do, not what I think I can do or what I want to do or seems like a good job.” Especially with the type of work we do, you have to have almost a calling to it in some ways. Be sure about what you’re doing.

I can think of one student. In our first upper cervical class at the end of the fourth quarter, he would always have this talk at the end of the class. It was this conversation. He’s like, “You are in it far enough now that you need to look within yourself and be honest about, “Is this the right thing for me? Should I see this through and then go into the field and do it? Am I may be a little bit off track?” If you are, that’s okay, but you need to know before you get a little bit over your head.” I remember a friend who was sitting in front of me at school. He didn’t show up the next quarter. I talked to him about it and he’s like, “That really impacted me.”

My dad was a chiropractor, my uncle is a chiropractor. I went because I thought I should and I thought it would be a good career, but it just wasn’t for me.” When I was introspective about it, I figured that he’s right. He’s off doing something else and he’s thriving in his life and I’m like, “That’s awesome. You did the right thing.” Those people that go all the way through and struggle and never get why we’re doing chiropractic and what it’s all about, I feel bad for those people. It becomes very hard to do the things that we’re doing, especially if you’re new to the practice and all that thing. You have to have a strong sense of purpose in this.

If you don’t know why you’re doing it, it’s going to turn into any other 9 to 5 jobs. You’re going to hate waking up, you’re going to hate going to work. You’ve got to know why you’re doing this. It’s amazing that you can change other people’s lives with your hands.

It comes full circle back to the entrance requirements and those things. Don’t go to chiropractic college because you couldn’t get into PT school. Don’t go to chiropractic college because your grades weren’t good enough to go to med school and you can be a doctor. It’s a disservice to you. It’s a disservice to your community and your patients. There are too many people like that out in our field. We’re reaping the benefits of that type of approach in the way that our communities view us and our status in the culture. If you have to take a break and if you have to take a year between undergraduate, don’t rush into it. Don’t rush through it. Make sure that it’s going to be an investment for your life rather than just the next step in your academic career.

Dr. John, where can people find you on social media and your website and all that?

My practice is called Zenith Chiropractic. I’m in Colorado Springs. On social media, it’s @Zenith_Chiro on Instagram. I host a podcast called Thrive For The COS. We have conversations with people in the community here about all kinds of different things. You can also check that out as well. If you find me online, it’s If you want more information or you have questions, connect with me through there. Send me an email. We’d be happy to chat with you and answer any specific questions. If you’re a student in school and you’re trying to figure out the next steps, we can help you navigate that. If you’re thinking about going to school and you have more questions, we can help you navigate that. I appreciate you, Kevin, for asking me to do this. It’s an important conversation and it’s one that I didn’t have before I went to school so it’s very valuable.

Dr. John, thank you for so much for coming on. Maybe in the next episode, we’ll talk about how you start building your own practice after school.

That would be a good one.

I’ll talk to you soon.

Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!

Join Expect Miracles community today: