It’s been two years and two months since I graduated and about two years since I started practicing at Active Family and Sports Chiropractic. Two years is a long time, and I be freely to admit I’m surprised I lasted where I’m at as long as I have. I can also say I’ve learned a great deal in my second year. And like many [athletic] programs you make jumps from year one to year two. I think I made some jumps but there’s still plenty to learn…
I like to think of myself as someone who works with athletes. I’ve had great opportunities [and hope to continue] to work with a lot of different athletes in this area: runners, swimmers, ball players, lifters, are to name a few. But with that said, it’s hard to empathize with some of the injuries they’re suffering unless you’ve done their sport. While I know I can’t do every sport it helps to immerse yourself in some of them. So I’ve took a deep dive into running, crossfit, and weightlifting.
To continue the first bullet, I’ve started to develop a niche. I think every chiropractor and physical therapist and other healthcare providers will say they can help everything. Or every provider thinks they can help everyone because they’re “business” is that much better than everyone else in the area who treats patients (whether they openly admit it or not).
But I’ve slowly started to see my shift in really enjoy working with high schoolers, runners, and crossfitters. Partly because I’ve been doing it more myself but because I’ve really enjoyed working with that niche. The high school scene because I really love coaching and many of the athletes are learning that I am coaching. The runners because I’m running a lot more and because I think there are so many unique ways to treat runners. The crossfit community…because they are continuing to hurt themselves in unique ways!
My ability to treat is always a work in progress. It’s called “practice” for a reason. I’ve always trying to improve. There have been different signs in practice that I think I have improved and other signs in practice that I know I need to continue to improve. I think the biggest teller is who is asking for you specifically versus who is scheduling with you because of convenience or flat out not scheduling with you.
My touch can improve, my ability to differentiate between what’s the source of pain versus just treating pain. My ability to pick the right exercises and the correct exercise progression needs to be more refined and locked in. In what I believe as a provider, the manual therapy component needs to improve followed by the exercise selection. But some of the greatest providers can treat patients effectively without even needing to adjust.
Like coaching the high school athletes, I can’t thank enough the patients that have trusted me to treat them. With that said, I have to be willing to understand I may not be able to “fix” everyone. But I use it as motivation to improve but also it is safe to refer out and admit you may not be the right provider for them right now. It is okay to refer out. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad provider (although it does seem like it), referring out means you’re able to put aside your ego to do what is best for the patient.
A little friendly competition between patients has provided a nice talking point and ice-breaker to treatment. There have been opportunities to work with some high level athletes. There are a few runners I work with right now who have challenged me to see if they can best their running times. A 10-miler at 55 minutes, a full-marathon faster than 2 hours and 22 minutes, be at the top of the Crossfit Open leaderboard at the end of the Crossfit Open.
Like I prefaced in the beginning you make jumps from year one to year two but I think one of the biggest indicators of whether you can be successful or not; and I base it off a lot of athletic programs; Year Three is going to be a critical year that determines what’s next for me. So let’s have a great Year 3…that I have to influence and not sit back and hope I have a great year, but go out and get it.