• The NUCCA Upper Cervical Chiropractic Technique With Dr. Jeremy Kerrigan

    The NUCCA Upper Cervical Chiropractic Technique With Dr. Jeremy Kerrigan

    The upper cervical chiropractic technique is not the most common school of chiropractic practice out there, but it certainly does merit further study. For people who’ve received this kind of treatment, it’s proven quite effective as it’s able to get to the core of a lot of problems people are experiencing in their bodies. Dr. Jeremy Kerrigan is the owner of The Chiropractic Wellness Institute in Arizona. He joins Dr. Kevin Pecca to discuss how the upper cervical chiropractic technique diverges from other chiropractic treatments and the ways it benefits people receiving this kind of treatment. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to dive into a different kind of chiropractic treatment.

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    The NUCCA Upper Cervical Chiropractic Technique With Dr. Jeremy Kerrigan

    We have Dr. Jeremy Kerrigan. He is a NUCCA upper cervical chiropractor out of Mesa, Arizona. I’m very excited to have Dr. Jeremy here because his life was saved through upper cervical chiropractic when he was suffering from debilitating migraines and headaches on a daily basis. It was difficult for him to function throughout the day. He landed in a NUCCA upper cervical chiropractic office and it saved his life. That is the exact work he’s doing now. I’m excited to have him on. His daughter has an amazing story with upper cervical chiropractic. These are some of my favorite interviews to do because upper cervical is saving lives and we’re spreading the good word here. I haven’t had too many NUCCA doctors here. It’s a different technique than Blair, but it’s still very good. I refer people to NUCCA doctors all the time. Without further ado, please welcome Dr. Jeremy Kerrigan.

    We have a very special guest, Dr. Jeremy Kerrigan out of Mesa, Arizona. He comes very highly recommended from a bunch of some of my good friends out there in Phoenix. He’s doing some great upper cervical work out there. As I understand it, his family’s been involved in upper cervical care for a long time. These are some of my favorite interviews to do. I’m a huge fan of anybody doing the upper cervical work because you see a lot of miracles happen. It’s a pleasure to have you on, Dr. Jeremy. How are you?

    I’m doing great. Thanks for having me here.

    Dr. Jeremy, where are you from originally?

    I’m an Arizona native. One of the rare down here.

    Dr. Jeremy, how did you get into the chiropractic profession?

    I was a patient first. I was on my way to the office. I was very accident prone as a kid. I had a lot of injuries, concussions, whiplash. I wasn’t even an athlete. I had a concussion when I was a kid. I remember I fell off something and my dad carrying me around limp. I couldn’t move. He got me in the truck ready to go to the hospital and then I came to and he’s like, “He’s okay.” This was in the late ‘80s, probably.

    Do you remember what you fell off of?

    I don’t. I have this vague memory of feeling limp in the truck. My dad’s holding me, trying to get me to come to. In junior high, I had another one. We were playing indoor soccer for PE and I got slammed head-first into the bleachers. The nurse came over from the school and I could hardly walk. I remember laying down on a bench in the locker room and the nurse was watching me. “You need to lay down,” she said. She took it. At that point, I had a headache for a whole month after that. By the time I hit late high school, I was having headaches pretty much every day. In college, there were days where I had bad headaches. I might take something but for the most part, I dealt with them.

    It almost becomes a new normal at that point.

    It was and there was a little bit of a family history of issues. I started getting back pain too. I couldn’t sit in the car for more than an hour at a time. I’m going to get out and stretch, but my dad had six spinal surgeries. At that point, he had four already and so it was the normal. I assume you’re getting bad backs and I lived that way. I didn’t let it stop me. I continued to do stuff. I ended up in Washington State on a mission for my church. While I was up there, I continued to have headaches pretty much every day. We’d be outside working all day and we’d come home and I have to lay and stretch out. I remember doing weird things like brushing my teeth to try to distract from the pain. Using Q-tips and massaging the inside of my ear would seem to help but again, I had a headache every single day.

    They were pretty severe then too.

    For the most part, they were functional. They weren’t migraines, but they were constantly there. It was normal. I got used to being that way. About halfway through my two years in Washington, I met a lady chiropractor. She was telling me a little bit about what she did and it resonated well with me. I said, “I think that would help. I’ve had these issues for years. I assume this is how life is going to be.” She’s very passionate. She insisted that I come and see her the next day. Being a missionary, she was gracious to take care of me without charging me at the time. I only was able to see her for about two weeks before I moved to another area. After two weeks of care at that young age, I went through months without a headache.

    You said three months? After having them every single day for years.

    She asks, “How long has this been going on?” I said, “I don’t remember not getting headaches.” I’ve always been cautious telling patients that story. I’m like, “Sometimes healing takes longer than that.”

    You’ve got to be careful with that. I had a very similar situation where I had a bunch of concussions as well. I had the most amazing first adjustment that a lot of my symptoms lifted almost immediately. You definitely do have to be careful saying that because everybody has a different experience and not everybody has that experience. When they don’t have it, it’s a little bit of a letdown.

    EM 125 | Upper Cervical Chiropractic Technique

    Upper Cervical Chiropractic Technique: We want to get miraculous results instantly, but in reality, most miracles come only after one or two years of treatment.

     

    It’s funny because sometimes we want that miracle, especially in an instant and there are miracles that take a year to two years. It’s a process. I felt blessed that my results got so quickly. I was able to go back and see her a few times later on and then eventually follow-up with upper cervical care afterward as well. It was a pretty life-changing experience for me to do that. I would say I’m always having pain like clouding your vision. After that experience, I did not have that. I could stand more upright. I came home after my two years in Washington and people asked, “Are you taller? Did you grow?” I was being hunched over in pain. I’ve always wanted to help people and that’s where I started saying, “This seems a great way to help people.” It’s made an impact in my life. Why don’t I try that?” A few things in between, but that led me down the path to start chiropractic school.

    Where did you end up going to chiropractic school?

    Davenport, Iowa.

    That’s the beginning of it all.

    I knew two words when I went to Davenport for the first time. I knew NUCCA which is the Upper Cervical Technique I had experienced and I knew Palmer. I didn’t know much else about chiropractic, but those were the two. The chiropractor that I met, she had gone to Palmer and I assumed that’s the place to go. I remember going to Palmer and learning that there were other chiropractic schools out there. I’m grateful for that experience out there. Palmer has problems as any school does but the experience in Iowa with these other students and doctors was incredible. That led to another cool experience we had. We had a kid before we went to school. My wife and I got married young. By the time I was in chiropractic school, we had one child. By the time I finished, we had three.

    That is pretty amazing just by how stressful chiropractic school is by itself.

    To add into that, I’m going to grad school. We have two small children. Our baby, the younger one, she was eight months old and she started having trouble sleeping. She would sleep for 45 minutes at a time, day or nights, and wake up crying over and over again. That went on for a little while and we were done. We were so exhausted.

    How did you and your wife manage? Did you do two shifts every night like, “It’s your turn to get up with the baby?”

    It was a challenge because I was in school all day and had tests and stuff to study for. It was stressing both of us. We’ve always had a good relationship, but it was definitely causing stress there too.

    When you’re sleep-deprived, the relationship definitely changes. Everything changes when you’re sleep-deprived.

    We tried a bunch of stuff. We had free care. As chiropractic students, you can go to the school but I had this teacher. He’s an upper cervical doc. He did Atlas Orthogonal. He’s 80 years old and still teaching. He was still practicing. He had a practice across town. We set aside the free care and we didn’t have much money. We were poor students. My wife was a stay-at-home mom. That means we were living on a student loan income. We drove over to his office and he charged $50. At the same time, as a poor student, it was a ton of money. He takes my eight-month-old daughter on his table and he’s sitting there palpating and feeling her upper cervical area. She laughs through the whole process.

    How old is your daughter at this point?

    Probably about 8 to 10 months old. He had his hand right at the base of the skull. I even asked him, I’m like, “What are you doing?” As a student, I want to learn this. He’s been doing it for so long, he couldn’t explain it to me, but it was amazing to watch. We took her home and she went down to go to bed that night and she slept for six hours straight. The next night, she was sleeping eight hours. It was amazing to me. The power of a little bit of work here unlocked her potential. It was another life-changing experience.

    Atlas Orthogonal doctors use instrumentation. It sounds like she was way too young to be using the actual instruments, so he was using his fingertips.

    I can’t remember what they call it, but they do some palpation to feel things along the tension here in the back of the skull and they use that as part of their assessment. What I figured out is he’s doing a little bit of that and gently.

    It doesn’t take much when they’re that young.

    EM 125 | Upper Cervical Chiropractic Technique

    Upper Cervical Chiropractic Technique: When chiropractors get people out of pain, they get people living their full potential, and that affects a larger sphere of people.

     

    It doesn’t take much when they’re older too for cervical, but it didn’t take much. I think we took her back once or twice more when she stopped sleeping. It set off a passion for me for working on little kids. I always tell patients they still know what normal is. You’re 40 and you’re getting an adjustment for the first time. It takes the body a little while to adapt to that.

    The sleeping issues greatly improved, even sleeping through the night after that?

    That night, six hours. The next night she was sleeping 8 to 10 hours straight.

    That one adjustment helped the entire family out there.

    I always think about that when I’m working on people. The impact that we can have when we affect one human’s health is not just on that person. When we get people out of pain, when we get people living their full potential, it affects a whole sphere of people, their whole world.

    You had this profound experience with yourself, a profound experience with your child with upper cervical care. What was next for you? After getting through school, what did you want to do?

    That was a very interesting time. When you’re young and you’re going through school, you have clear next steps. When I got out of school, it wasn’t as clear like, “Here’s the next step.” I finished school and one of my goals as a chiropractic student was to visit 25 different offices. Dr. Robert Brooks out of Oklahoma suggested that, and it was an amazing experience. I learned a lot visiting these offices and learned a lot of what I wanted to do and what I didn’t. I wanted to create and work with people. I didn’t want it to be the practice and we let people in sometimes. I didn’t want to do insurance. I honed in on these ideas and it was hard to find a practice that had what I wanted like a job. There are not a lot of jobs in chiropractic as a chiropractor.

    Were you looking to learn from these doctors and then set up your own place or associateship with them?

    A little bit of both. At first, I was looking to learn from visiting the inside. I was looking for a mentor relationship. The whole master apprentice idea is something I love, working with someone who’s done it well and they’re willing to teach. I looked around and met with 25 different offices. I seriously talked about working probably with about ten different offices and it never completely clicked. I started down the path to work with one, that didn’t work out. I worked for another one for a year. I think in a busy practice, it’s hard to have an education-focused. I was more of a marketing guy in the office. It’s a great skill when you’re opening a business, but I wanted to learn more about how to take care of people. I’ve found other mentors and I finally decided there’s no one that does healthcare the way I want to and I want to be back closer to family here in Arizona. We decided to move home and set up our own practice a few years ago.

    How were the first couple of years opening your practice?

    They were exciting. We had three kids coming out of school, and then shortly after we started my practice, we found out number four was on the way. I was from Arizona, but I’ve never lived in the Phoenix area before that. I knew maybe ten people in the city and I had no idea how to run a business. I assumed I did. I had that idea that if I started a practice and I was good at what I did, then people would show up. It was interesting. I ended up working three different part-time jobs to start with to help provide for my family. Very slowly, we started out very small the first year. I ended up having an opportunity to rent space from another chiropractor, which was phenomenal.

    I worked out of his office for a couple of years and let us have not one more, but two more kids that way. I was able to build it at a slow, steady pace where we were not doing insurance or referral-based. I was able to spend more time with patients and work with them directly versus having a big mill where I brush people through. In the first couple of years, I was thinking about it. I had a very clear vision of where I wanted to go. For me, chiropractic is more than just my job. It’s something I’m incredibly passionate about. It’s almost a calling to me in life. There was never an option of stopping. That is key. I’m sure other doctors have thought about this too.

    I have a unique skill. There’s not a lot of upper cervical in Arizona. Not much at all. There are maybe a dozen of us spread across the state. I knew that if I wasn’t there helping people, who would be? It’s not like there are 50 other docs that you’d see. That passion and excitement kept me moving forward. The cool part is when you’re trying something new, it has a way of finding your weaknesses. When you’re stretching out and you’re doing something hard, weak areas come out. I had a few little health issues, a few other experiences where I needed help, but it was a cool experience in that I learned a lot about the body from my own challenges. I help patients with that too.

    If someone comes in and they’re struggling with stress, I know what that’s like. I know resources here locally to help them, things that helped me in the process. At the time, the first couple of years of practice were stressful and it’s hard to do something from nothing. Now that I look back, it’s fun to see how that’s progressed and that’s gotten me where I’m at. I found some amazing resources. I have a huge network here in Phoenix of providers and others who can make a difference for my patients and myself as well.

    I had a very similar experience with you. I worked for a doctor for eight months and the plan was for her to move the office, her to transition with me to the new practice and keep everything running smoothly. When that time came around, the office build-out took too long and she had to go. We closed down for 3 or 4 weeks. When we re-opened a new location, she was gone. I had no idea how to run a business. I knew how to take care of people. She was so good to me and her advice was, “Take care of the person in front of you the best you can.” She was right. Treat that person like it’s a family member and do everything you can to get them better.

    It was very stressful. In the upper cervical world, we talk about holding and healing. I was so stressed and going 24/7. I was not holding my adjustments. I wasn’t feeling all that great. Because of that, I found a phenomenal network, an acupuncturist, an exercise movement specialist and began working with those two. They got me through some difficult times where I don’t know if I would have found them if it wasn’t for the stress because they put me right back on track. As you and I both know, especially now, it takes us a group of people to sometimes get people better.

    EM 125 | Upper Cervical Chiropractic Technique

    Upper Cervical Chiropractic Technique: If the muscles are firing properly, they’re not going to pull the spine out of alignment and keep the cycle going.

     

    It takes a community. I had a very similar experience to that, but mine was abrupt. About a year and a half into practice, I got in a car accident. I was driving down the road. The light turned green. I went through it. Someone ran a red light and hit me. At that point, I was adjusted several times a week. As you said, “Holding is key.” I usually hold my adjustment for a month or so at least. Suddenly, I could hardly move and I couldn’t see patients. It forced me out there to say, “What can I find to help me?” I found a great movement specialist, someone that was a neurokinetic therapist and an emotional release facilitator that was life-changing to help the underlying stress. I’m also very empathetic. The patient brings all their problems to me.

    Do you absorb it?

    I do. It was wearing on me a lot and I’ve found resources to where I can empathize, show compassion and love, but still not let that pull me down. I could stay higher and I can give them resources to help them get higher without causing me some severe health problems at the same time. As we know, stress affects how your body functions.

    What kind of people do you have in your network to facilitate the upper cervical care?

    The two biggest ones that I refer to. The two things that I see affect the upper cervical the most are stress by far and then muscle patterns. Old injuries where the body has been distorted for so long or they have been using compensating muscles for so long that the real ones have stopped working. For those, mostly I use emotional release processing for the mental-emotional component, reducing that stress. Occasionally if we need to, there’s a divorce lawyer if that’s where the stress is. On the other end, I’ve been lucky to work with a couple of great physical therapists. I work with some massage therapists. I have some that share my office space with me for some simple muscle releasing. I’ve got a fantastic physical therapist that I work with who does a lot of muscle testing to see, “This muscle is not firing when you do this motion. This one’s firing too much,” and help rebalance that. I find that’s huge. If the muscles are firing properly, they’re not going to pull the spine out of alignment and keep the cycle going.

    There are 7, 8, maybe 9 upper cervical specific techniques that you can fall into. I had maybe 1 or 2 NUCCA practitioners on, but I’m a Blair doctor. Most people know what that is. Can you go into specifically what NUCCA chiropractic is?

    NUCCA stands for National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association. We celebrated our 50th anniversary as a group years ago. We’ve been around a long time. They have several committees that continually research what we’re doing to figure out how we can do it better. It’s what’s called an Orthogonal Upper Cervical. The idea is trying to get the head straight with the C1 and straight with the rest of the neck. We do a series of very specific X-rays. I take it myself because I’m super picky about them to find out exactly where things are at. I’m a math analytical background. I was a math major before I became a chiropractor. We do a series of calculations to help figure out like, “This is where it sits, what angle do we need to come in at to figure out how to get it corrected?”

    From the person looking at a NUCCA adjustment, it looks they’re barely touching. It’s a very light force on the neck, but it’s able to rebalance the entire spine. It’s a very powerful adjustment.

    A lot of times, it’s related to the Newton’s cradle where you have the five balls hanging down, pull one out and the energy goes through the middle ones, but they don’t move. The other one on the other end goes out. That’s how the adjustment is. As we get set up and we’re working on a patient, we don’t move. There’s no thrust involved. It’s very gentle and subtle, but we’re able to get the force in there and get it to move. I always have to tell patients the first time they’re getting adjusted. I say, “One, you’ve got to trust whoever sent you here because you’re going to better yourself. That’s it.” I’ve had patients who’ve been seeing me for years that say, “I still have no idea how you do it, but I do better when I’m in alignment.”

    I love those patients that say, “That’s all you’re going to do? That’s it?” I’m like, “Yes.” They then go home and they’re like, “What was that?”

    It doesn’t take much, as you know. It’s a sensitive area. If you know what you’re doing, if you have enough background information, you’re not guessing, you’re very specifically working on that. I think that’s where the real magic happens.

    As you stated before, you are one of the few upper cervical doctors in Arizona. You probably get people coming from far distances. What do most people come to see you for? What conditions do you see a lot in your office?

    Our average person in the office drives 37 miles one way to see us here in Phoenix. Phoenix is one of the huge metropolitan areas so 37 miles could be across town. We have a variety and it’s fun. One of the things I love most about my practice is there never have been a niche where we see one specific thing over all with the others. Every person coming in has a different problem, which is a lot of fun. I’d say some of my most common are headaches. That’s one of the things I’m passionate about.

    It’s better to help them out with that than you.

    We do see also a lot of vertigo issues, especially when they can’t figure out what’s going on. They’ve tried a variety of things. I’ve seen a ton of babies for colic issues. My favorite thing to work on is probably torticollis in a baby. Quickly, it responds to upper cervical. The babies will come in, their heads are sitting and they’ll leave nice and straight.

    With that adjustment, depending on how old they are, what does that adjustment look like?

    EM 125 | Upper Cervical Chiropractic Technique

    Upper Cervical Chiropractic Technique: Babies don’t need a lot of work, and it’s not really key to figure out all the details with them because they don’t know what “normal” is.

     

    I do the same NUCCA. I have them lay on their side. I don’t do that doc that worked on my daughter. I haven’t learned enough about that. I find that doing a simple setup, have the mom or dad hold the baby on the side and gently nudge the abs. I do several checks to figure out which side to work on and gently nudge it. I always tell the parents, “The baby still knows what normal is.”

    What are some of your checks? Some of the baby checks can get pretty out there. Do you do the one where you hold the baby by the one foot and they haven’t turned their head?

    I have never done that. It’s just with a simple check. I use my fingers to straighten out the legs and check for any balance there. I can’t remember where I learned this a few years ago, but I do a cervical range of motion with the baby. I have them lay on their back. This one is fascinating for the parents to watch because often when they have a misalignment of their spine and you turn the head one direction, the body will go with it. It’s quite a bit. The other way, particularly if they’re stuck more in sympathetic dominance and a baby that was stuck I think is more in parasympathetic dominance. They said, “The baby is chill. He lays there.” Things shut down and he couldn’t move his head anywhere he wanted to. He just laid there. He didn’t move much. This is a fun one that parents can do at home too. They lay the baby on the back, get ahold of the head and then turn head right and left. What they’ll find is they’ll turn one way and it will move fine and then they’ll turn the other way and the whole body will turn.

    When that happens, what is that telling you?

    That tells me they’re misaligned. They need an adjustment.

    Does it tell you what side per se?

    Not so much. I could look and probably extrapolate some rotational things. Mostly what I find with babies is it’s not as key to figure out all the details with babies because they know what normal is. As adult, most NUCCA is based off of upright position. A three-month-old baby doesn’t have an upright position and so it’s more nudging the Atlas and the normal plane and correcting it. It doesn’t have that gravity force affecting it. It doesn’t get locked into such a position as specific as you would with someone who’s more upright, who’s been out of alignment for 40 years.

    It’s amazing to change that baby’s life and change that family’s life and get everybody on board. You probably get some parents signing up for care after that too.

    I had a fun experience years ago where it was twins. I ended up taking care of most of the family, but it started out with dad first. They were about ready to move. The twins were number 4 and 5 in the family of kids. The dad had started a new job. They were moving and they had twins. Dad threw his back out. He’s right around 30. I get a call from his wife that says, “I need my husband back. Can you see him now?” He comes in and he can’t even stand up. He’s hunched over and in a lot of pain. We got to work on him and he was doing great. The babies had issues. One was super colicky and was throwing up over her outfits all the time and then the boy had torticollis. His head was stuck to one side. I don’t do insurance in practice. They’d called and they said they weren’t interested.

    They ended up going to see another chiropractor who did insurance. They took the baby with torticollis to a physical therapist, spending several hundred dollars on these two little kids in this stressful time of transition for them. Finally, the dad was like, “We need to take him to try upper cervical.” I think I adjusted the twins only twice. Babies don’t need a lot of work. I adjusted the little girl and mom said within a few days she was going through half as many outfits from spitting up on them. The little boy, his torticollis went away super-fast. It literally took two adjustments to get that kid back where he needed to be. It was fun and back to the whole family. I don’t do it very often, but I did a house call because they were just downstairs from the office. They were trying to get all five kids out the door to bring them to the office. I’m like, “Why don’t I just come by?” I was able to adjust them on the floor in the house and it was a fun experience.

    House calls can get a little tricky because you’re in their domain and chaos can ensue. Is there anything else you would like to touch on? I know you said setting goals is something important for you in the business world.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this too. It’s being creative with things. A lot of times, I think when we set a new goal, whether it be health goal or we’re starting a new business or we’re trying to make a family goal, we always quit too soon. We underestimate the amount of effort it’s going to take to get there. I saw this with myself. I assumed when I started a practice that it would take this much effort. It took ten times.

    You’ve done this much effort and this much time when it’s this.

    I look at my projections of what I was going to do and I would laugh. It was completely unrealistic. The same is true when we’re working on our health. We assume that, “I’m going to make this dietary change and a week later, I don’t feel any better.”

    With some people, “I’ve been doing it for three days and there are no changes. What’s going on here?”

    EM 125 | Upper Cervical Chiropractic Technique

    Upper Cervical Chiropractic Technique: Go confidently in the direction of your dreams and live the life you’ve imagined.

     

    That’s the thing. We’ve got to figure out what’s going on and then stick with it. I remember reading Andrew Weil’s book about breathing. He wrote a cool book about breathing and he said he did an evaluation on a friend of his and he determined, “I think breathing is going to be your key to getting better.” He says it was. He goes on. He says, “It took two years to get this to where he wanted to go.” If you think about it, depending on how old we are, if you’ve had this habit going on. I’ve had this habit going on for many years and I spent a week trying to change it. Is it going to make that big of an impact? One of the biggest things I try to encourage people to do in the practice, but also in life is stick with something. Give it enough time and effort. You may have to change things a little here and there, but don’t bounce back and forth to all kinds of different directions. You’re not going to get to where you want to go that way.

    I remember when I was going through my upper cervical healing process, I was going up and down and plateauing. I remember very bluntly looking at the guy that got me better, Dr. Drew Hall in California. I was like, “How long is this going to take? I’ve been coming here for 3 or 4 months. What’s going on?” I’ve gotten better but not where I thought I was going to be at this point. He went through the same thing I did and he was like, “I’m going to be very honest with you. It took me about a year and a half to fully feel like myself again.” I thought to myself, “I don’t have that kind of time. I don’t have a year and a half.” What he said was very true where it’s not like it’s all going to go away like that. Every couple of weeks, it keeps getting better and better until you look in the mirror one day, “The headaches are gone. The brain fog is gone.” It’s a little bit of a process and that year and a half, two-year mark can sound forever, but you’re going to be healing. There’s going to be time frames where you’re going to be doing a lot of healing.

    Usually, the rule of thumb that Dr. Brooks gave me years ago was for every year of misalignment, it takes the body a month to heal. I tried to go with that with patients. It’s interesting to see the look on their face. They’re like, “Are you saying five years?” “Yes. You’re not going to feel results. You’re going to get better, but if you wanted to maximize how you’re doing, that’s what I would say. Stay under care for five years. You’re not going to be here every single week for five years. Every couple of months you come in for a tune-up. That’s more of maintenance mode, but if you did that, you’ll see much better results.”

    True healing takes time.

    I’m sure you see too that when you start something, you get that immediate relief. You go to the gym, you get sore, but you start feeling good. Most people drop off when it plateaus. “I’m feeling a huge change.” There’s no room for huge changes. It’s subtle changes at that point. I’ve seen a lot of people that we work on the first time and things get good. What happens? The body goes into healing mode. I had a patient a few years ago who had severe nerve issues in his shoulder and down his arm. I worked on the first time. He had a whole hour’s worth of relief afterward. The second time, he had about ten minutes. The third time, nothing. It went on that way for 3 or 4 months with nothing. There was no change in the symptoms. I went over with him. I said, “We know we’re on track because we got relief to begin with. Your body has nerve issues, a lot of stuff going on. We need to be patient with the process.”

    He was and he wasn’t at the same time. He stopped coming quite as often. I was chatting with his wife one day and she says, “He had ended up having a steroid shot done.” I called him up and I was asking, he says, “I did get the steroid shot, but honestly, I was feeling better before this.” This was probably about 4 or 5 months after I started working on him. I said, “What do you think was the big key?” He says, “What you were doing. Working on it. It just was taking longer.” I always tell that patient’s experience to people to say, “We’re not looking for the quick fix.” I don’t remember where I heard this, but someone said, “If we could fix you in one adjustment, we’d have a line out of the door.”

    Also, I found out if people have upwards of 10, 15 neurological symptoms, they tend to only focus on the worst one. When people come in, they’re like, “What is going on with this brain fog? I can’t think.” “How are your headaches? Are they gone? How’s the vertigo?” “No, it’s gone.” “I’m talking about the brain fog.” I’m like, “Let’s look at what’s getting better here.”

    It’s human nature. We focus on the problem which is wrong. There could be a thousand things going great around us, but one problem is still there. Forest for the trees, essentially.

    How do you set your goals and try to accomplish everything you’re setting out to do?

    It’s a process. I like to work with people on setting my goals. I find accountability is key and keeping that as a group. I’m meeting with my staff and we’re going to set goals together, see where my staff wants to be and then see where I want the practice to be and then work in that way. I had a cool experience a few years ago where I find writing goals down is huge. I wrote a goal down. I said, “I’m going to make this much in the office and when I do that, my wife and I are going to go to Disneyland together.” It’s one of our favorite places. It’s a few hours down the street. Honestly, I forgot about it. I have notebooks full of stuff. I kept going and probably about six months later, I was going through an old notebook and I came across that and I had to step back for a second. I looked at it and I said, “We’ve been hitting this number every month,” this number that I set out. My wife and I had literally gotten back from Disneyland together. It was this intention we’d set and it worked well.

    What are some of the questions you asked your staff for their goals?

    It’s funny you asked that because I run the practice on my own for quite a long time. This is my first time in a little while having a staff member that’s committed to our vision. We’re going to play around with it at the meeting. I’m all for experimenting and seeing how it goes. She’s actually been an intern. She’s a 50-year-old college student. She’s been interning with me and so I’m asking for her feedback too. I said, “I want to know what you’ve learned from this experience. I want to know any suggestions or ideas you have. I want to know what you see your future with us being and where you want to go.” I have ideas, but I want to hear what she has to say first. Once we find that we align or don’t align, we can move forward from that point.

    Dr. Jeremy, where can people find you online, social media platforms and all that?

    My practice is the Chiropractic Wellness Institute here in Arizona. AZSpinalCare.com is my website. If they’re living somewhere else and they’re curious about upper cervical, there’s a UPCSpine.com and then NUCCA itself has a website, NUCCA.org. If you go to our website, we do have Facebook and Instagram. We’re not hugely active because I have five kids, but that’s one of our goals moving forward is to do more of that.

    If there’s one piece of advice that has resonated with you over the years that you would like to get the audience, it could be absolutely anything, what would it be?

    I have this quote on my desk that says, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you’ve imagined.” I feel that’s one of the things a lot of people miss in life is they don’t go after their dreams and they don’t put enough effort in. They may try a little bit, but they get stuck where they’re at. That’s something my parents instilled in me as a teenager, as a kid. Neither of them loved their jobs. They were there. They both had other things they would have loved to do in life, but they took the first job they could get out of high school and they stuck with it. My dad still works in the same place. My mom has been somewhere for twenty-something years. There are things they love about it. They always told me, “Go off, get an education, do what it takes to do what you love,” and I did and it’s fun. It’s not easy. It’s not that simple process. Living your dream isn’t about sitting in a big mansion and driving fancy cars. It’s about working hard to make an impact. That’s been probably the most influential things I’ve done in my life.

    Dr. Jeremy, thank you so much for coming on. I love your story. I love all the information you gave out on upper cervical chiropractic, NUCCA, your own story, how it’s helped you, your family, and all the great work you’re doing in the greater Phoenix area. Thank you so much for coming on and I would love to have you back on anytime.

    It sounds great. I appreciate your time. Thanks for having me.

    You’re welcome.

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