Saved by Upper Cervical
Dr. Bill Davis: Dr. Hall, great to talk to you today. You ready to get started?
Dr. Drew Hall: I sure am Dr. Davis. Thanks for having me on.
Bill: Dr. Hall, I like to always know what brought you to chiropractic as a career?
Drew: Well, as I tell all of my new patients in consultation, I had my life's passion or mission made up pretty easily for myself. When I was seventeen, I got dropped upside down on my head wrestling after baseball practice in a hole from about two and a half feet off the pitcher's mound.
When I landed I heard a big shshsh in the base of my skull and of course at that time I knew nothing about chiropractic so I didn't know exactly what that meant. But I did know when I got dropped it wasn't a good thing.
Drew: In fact, it was one of those types of injuries when it actually happened what flashed through my mind was oh my God I hope I'm not paralyzed. And so I rolled over and stood up and thanked God I wasn't paralyzed and I didn't have any pain. And being male and a teenager obviously that wasn’t the only stupid thing I've done to that point.
Because it didn't hurt and because I wasn’t paralyzed, I figured oh well that was just another little trauma. I went to the rest of the day and woke up the next morning and it was pretty much in the rear view mirror.
So fast forward, six months and this kind of happened slowly so I never put two and two together. Because as I always tell patients, we in this country aren't exactly taught that our spine has anything to do with our health, right.
But I got to a point within six months I had a chronic headache. For the next two years, I had insomnia. Every night it took three or four hours to fall asleep and then when I did fall asleep I maybe slept an hour and then woke up and then slept another hour and woke up.
For anyone who has gone two years and never gotten a good night sleep then all the other problems ensued like foggy headedness and I had no energy. Basically I was dragging myself through life.
I was nauseated every day for two years. I never threw up but I felt I was going to. And a whole host of other problems I won't bore you with. But I basically got to a point two years later and through this whole time, again because it was episodic in the beginning and then it got worse overtime, I kept telling myself it will eventually go away.
So I never told anyone and I found myself two, two and a half years later walking home from school one day with a thought if I get to live like this for two more years I’d probably kill myself. And that was the big uhuh. And so, to make another long story short I told my parents and we did what most Americans would do.
My parents spent close to $20,000 going to the family doctor, internist, neurologist, infectious disease specialist, MRI, CAT scan and all these tests. And everything basically showed up negative and I was told there was nothing wrong with me and it was all in my head. Go see a psychiatrist and that was the point at which I said the hell with you people.
Bill: Yes, wow.
Drew: So, thank God I ended up at an acupuncturist who then sent me to homeopath. And the homeopath happened to be a patient of Dr. Tom Forest in the San Francisco Bay Area. For those of you who know anything about homeopathy, they take a pretty extensive history on you because that's how they determine what remedy to give you.
She uncovered the head dropping incident. And then that coupled with headaches and her own knowledge of the upper cervical work, at the end of everything she said, "Drew I think I could probably help you but I think you’ll be better served by seeing this man.” And she gave me Dr. Tom Forest’s business card.
I made an appointment right when I got home and drove 40 minutes down to his office. He explained everything to me. I remember sitting in the consultation thinking okay I've been to four medical specialists and in the first two minutes of him explaining upper cervical, that totally makes sense.
And I had hope and he delivered on the hope that I have. Shot some pictures on me, corrected my atlas and completely turned my life around.
Building a Successful Upper Cervical Practice With Passion
Bill: Wow, that's awesome. What an amazing story. So it was an absolutely miracle story for you personally that started it all. Then from there you just went to chiropractic school I assume and focused on upper cervical all the way through?
Drew: Yes, I was I suppose I was lucky in one sense when I went into school. In fact, the funny part is I didn't really know much of anything else other than upper cervical so when I got to chiropractic school and started talking to people and they were explaining how they were adjusted, I was just like what?
A chiropractor to me was upper cervical work. Then at my first day in school I walked in this room that was like next to the one that we had our class in every day. There's one of my buddies face down on the table. They’re going to try once to manipulate his neck and some guys has one hand on the shoulder and another on the head and he goes Shshsh. I'm like whoa, what's that?
Bill: Yeah that's an eye opener, right? When you realized that upper cervical is not all of chiropractic and so. So you had to wade through all that through school and keeping your focus on upper cervical. Then eventually you make your way out of school and started practice in the LA area, right?
Drew: Yes. So, I went to Cleveland which actually isn't Cleveland anymore. They went out of business. But yes, when I showed up there I was like being in a fish out of water because no one even knew what upper cervical was. So of course we had to start a club and stir it up a little bit and that was fun.
So I graduate 2001 and then went into private practice in Huntington Beach with Dr. Kuhn. I practiced with him for I think it was about four years. While I was in practice with him, I kind of got dragged up into Koreatown. That's a whole another half hour story.
And so we started the practice up in Koreatown and then somewhere about four years after being out of school I started another office 25 minutes North in Carson. So I've been in those two practices for ten and fourteen years between the two of them.
Bill: I know you've trained a lot of associates over the years and have done a lot of things to help grow your practice. Can you talk about that and how the practice has grown and training your associates, those types of things?
Drew: I warn all associates if they start in my office that even though we run a big practice, it wasn't run on a pure business principle. It was run on pure passion.
So when I graduate from school, I was one of those guys who weren’t afraid even on the least to go out. Basically we set up screening spots. I didn’t care what store it was. We set up screening spots in front of the stores and talked to people and dragged them in there. It’s pretty much how we built the whole practice.
But yes, I don't know the number of about 10 to 15 associates who started in my office who are in different areas of the country now. In fact, I was just talking to one of my new associates about how our goal as upper cervical doctors should not only be just to help the people that we have in our practices but to get younger students interested in upper cervical work in our office. Get them excited and teach them the techniques so they can go out and spread the message on their own. But as you know there are not enough of us.
Bill: Absolutely not and so you mentioned the word passion. I know a little bit about you. I know that that's an important part of who you are and that you are very passionate about the work. What are some of the best ways that you found to translate that passion to your patients? How do you communicate that passion to them?
Drew: Well I remember about ten years ago, people kept asking me, “Drew how did you build that practice so quickly?” I didn't really have a good answer for it. And then I started thinking and really the way that I build the practice was by my story.
When you've been to the point where you want to kill yourself and someone taps your atlas back in position. You go from wanting to kill yourself to feeling better than you have in 20 years. It’s not very hard to translate that passion. But so the second fold of that is what I found and I can do this on purpose.
I just get excited and I think all of us do when we have someone come in that does better. Naturally, when someone comes in my office and tells me the last time you adjusted me I’ve been insomniac for 20 years and I've been on Prozac and my hearing in my left ear came back. I would naturally get so excited about that story but then I would tell every single patient that was in my practice what I heard that day as well.
It's one thing I would say to the young docs in practice is when you get in practice and you get these really good results, you should get excited about it. You should share them with your patient base. You know from being in practice, how many times did someone come in who had clinical depression that got cleared out and you tell the patient afterwards who came in with a little back pain and they’re like, “Oh really, you mean adjusting the atlas can help with depression?”
Because we forget that what they come in with his what they are focused on. Even though we've educated them, they don't see past that symptom for the most part unless it's a rare patient that gets it.
Bill: That's great. So frequently when you're in practice I think that you almost start taking it for granted. You see so many amazing things, so many miracles, so many incredible changes in health that you can start taking that for granted.
What I’m hearing from you is to not take that for granted. Really celebrate those results every day and that will help you to keep that passion going for you, your team and your patients.
Drew: Yes. And this might sound sort of funny but when I was young in practice I used to tell my dad almost every night on the way home and I'd sit there and give him a play by play of each day in practice. He would always say, “If I was a little younger I would go back to chiropractic school and become an upper cervical chiropractor.”
Because how many of our patients come in and you’re telling them how great everything is and they say my work sucks. I really hate what I do. I sit there and go man I couldn’t imagine working 40 or 50 hours a week and hate what I'm doing. I think we're lucky with what we do. As one of my mentors said, “I don't go to work. I go to play.”