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Why I Decided to Become a Chiropractor

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Why I Decided to Become a Chiropractor

by William M. Thomas, D.C.

I decided to become a chiropractor based on my experience with chiropractic.  My first experience with chiropractic was when I was 17 years old.  I was a gymnast in high school.  I wasn’t exceptionally good, but I had some natural ability and it was fun, but I wasn’t very experienced, and was relatively new at it. 

My first injury was when I was holding an iron cross on the rings.  It’s the maneuver where you are suspending yourself with your arms in a cross formation.  It wasn’t a full iron cross like you see in the Olympics, but I was able to hold myself up at least until I felt a “pop” in my mid back  For the mechanism of what happened during my first injury, click here. 

I remember my first adjustment, because although it was uncomfortable, since I was already hurt, and all movements hurt anyway, relief was immediate.  My first experience very positive and therapy was aggressive, which is why I believe treatment should be as aggressive as the patient can handle (based on my experience), without excessive discomfort and without making it worse.  If you are trying to get from point A (injured) to point B (maximal improvement), you want to get there as soon as you can without making it worse.  Why should we be as aggressive as we can when we are able click here? 

I was treated about 10 times and was about 80% better until I had my 2nd injury.

My 2nd Injury was while I was also on the rings, but still not completely recovered from my first injury.  I was doing a move where I was rotating backwards while swinging through and doing so, put strain on my shoulders and chest.  I asked for a spot (help) since I was still recovering from my 1st injury, and I was pretty capable, for the most part, normally, so my spotter walked away, thinking I was fine on my own.  

In mid air while rotating, the forces were too much for my injured ribs and mid back, and I was unable to complete the move, so I ended up doing a 1 ˝, landing in a piked (bent at the waist) position with my feet flopped over my head. 

This time, I was injured much more than the first time.  Being 17, not understanding how injured I was,  and not wanting to have to quit the team, I faked like I was OK, got up, and went home.  At that time, I couldn’t raise my arms over my head, extend my neck or rotate my head.  I would find out later in chiropractic school how hurt I actually was.  I was not doing well, my sister thought I should go to the hospital, (I probably could have in retrospect, but the medical model for injuries such as these is lacking) so I went to the chiropractor. I remember being evaluated by the chiropractor, but not letting him know how hurt I was, so I would be able to continue with gymnastics.  Treatment took several months and until I finally reached a level of stability, and maximum recovery, so I concluded treatment.  Knowing what I know now, I should have continued on a maintenance treatment plan with periodic adjustments. 

I was so profoundly impacted by chiropractic treatment that I decided to become a chiropractor, based on my personal experience with chiropractic care.  Six years later, after I completed a degree in biochemistry at Biola University, I went to chiropractic school.  While in chiropractic school, everyday activity caused my original injuries to be aggravated, and my arms would go numb and feel weak.  I wasn’t far enough along in chiropractic school to understand what was happening, so I want to the school clinic to see what was happening.  They x-rayed my shoulder and my neck, and the x-ray revealed A COMPRESSION FRACTURE OF MY NECK.  This happened during my 2nd injury.  I didn’t realize how hurt I was at that time, but it now made sense why I was in such bad shape before and also why my arms would be numb and weak. 

After some chiropractic treatment by several students at the clinic, I got better, and it again reaffirmed my belief in chiropractic care. 


How injuries happen, click here.

Topics covered

My First Injury

Mechanism of my First Injury


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