Mentorship for Your Upper Cervical Practice

Recently I had the opportunity to talk with Dr Nick Tedder of Upper Cervical Chiropractic of Georgia. Dr Tedder has built one of the largest upper cervical practices in the world and is now offering a variety of mentorship opportunities for upper cervical chiropractors and students. It was a real pleasure to speak with him and get his insight into the very important topic of mentorship. I hope you enjoy our interview below…

Dr. Nick Tedder: how it all started

Dr. Nick TedderDr. Bill:    I would like to get started with your chiropractic story. What first got you into chiropractic care and specifically into upper cervical?

Dr. Nick:    Okay, I’ll try to condense a very long story into a short version.  I was introduced to chiropractic around the age 15-ish, 16-ish in a very odd way. I was hanging out with a buddy of mine one summer and he a year or two older than me. We were out driving around one summer, messing around, doing what people do in the summertime when you’re a kid.

He says, “We got to stop by the doctor.”  I didn’t know what kind of doctor I was like, I don’t want to go to a doctor and wait for three hours in a room. He was like no man it won’t take but five minutes. To make the long story short I went with him and it happened to be a chiropractor. 

I didn’t know what a chiropractor was, I haven’t even heard of it to be honest with you. We walked into an office that was more of a traditional high volume principal kind of chiropractic clinic.  You know huge high volume 700 to 800 visits a week, I’m kind of blown away.  I was with him through the process of checking in, getting adjusted and we’re on our way.

When I got back in the car I was like, what in the heck was that? You just went in and got popped on your back and he starts off telling me the story and I was like that’s kind of cool.  I always wanted to be a doctor, I didn’t know what I was going to do but I always wanted to be a doctor.

So I called the chiropractor up and asked him if I could come in and shadow him in his office and ask him some questions.  He said no but you could come to my orientation class so I did. I listened to him talk about the chiropractic principle and I fell in love with it.

I was a patient and started getting under care, got my family under care. My mom, my brother, my dad, pretty much everybody under care. I didn’t have any particular problems if you will, there’s a lot of people typically who are introduced to chiropractic expecting some sort of miracle and saying they have problems. I didn’t, I was actually turned on by the principle.

I got involved and ended up going to chiropractic school. I was into the full spine model of a combination of CBP, and Thompson and Pierce techniques which were the main techniques he used. In school that’s what I gravitated towards because that’s what he told me to learn.

Went to Life College for about a year, a year and a half or so and they lost their accreditation. I ended up moving to Sherman which I think was a godsend because it eventually led me to upper cervical. I got to Sherman and did my thing there.  One of the guys I met towards the end of my Sherman career is a doctor whose name is Stephen Conicello who did knee chest upper cervical. I actually gravitated towards him because he was a high volume practitioner in the student clinic. 

I was like oh man I need to learn what you’re doing because he did upper cervical. He started talking about upper cervical and at the time I was like that is crap, there’s no such thing.  I didn’t think two things about it until I got into practice.

We fast forward a couple of years and I’m out in practice with the doctor I met at 15, I’m in an associateship with him. You get into practice and sometimes the cover of book looks a lot better than what the contents have in it.  I was getting into the office and teaching people that the body heals itself and the body, the adjustments, nerve pressure the whole thing. I started seeing even as I changed curve whether it was a CBP curve change trying to get people to near normal or Pierce types of adjustments or whatever it was, I never really saw the nerve system stabilize. I never really saw people truly get well.

There really wasn’t an objective model to seek correction. I also noticed that people really had the same problems six, seven, eight, nine years later and we were just checking it off as you just need more adjustments, or it’s something to do with your lifestyle. I started getting a little frustrated with the whole chiropractic thing. 

About that time I was thinking man, I don’t know if I want to do this. I don’t know if I want to continue doing this, I’m just not enjoying the whole process, it’s not what I originally signed up for, $200,000 in education. I talked to my doctor who I was working for and he gave me handful of Sigafoose tapes.

I started listening to these tapes and yeah they were tapes.  They weren’t CDs they were tapes.  I think it was ten hours of Sigafoose or something, I was listening to this thing day and night. I was listening in my headphones, I was listening in my car, I was listening in the gym and one thing kept coming up. They kept talking about this thing called the brain stem, he talked about getting people to hold adjustments He talked about getting people clear when they didn’t need to be adjusted.

I was like wow what it is, you got to read volume 18, the research clinic. I never really knew that stuff even though I went to life and to Sherman. Even going to a principled chiropractor never really knew that kind of stuff. I started researching it and the long end of the story was I started looking into where I could go learn this stuff.

I came across a group of KCUCS at the time which was headed up by Dr. Rob Kessinger.  It was kind of a neat thing, it was a threefold process that got me into upper cervical. I started researching all this stuff and I saw the KCUCS. I ended up going to one of the seminars.

The week before I went to the seminar, I got a chiropractic advertisement for a management group at my office. On the front cover of this management advertisement was Dr. Stephen Conicello, yes I’m like wow.  I went to school with this guy.

I start reading this article and it talked about how he’s taking care of MS patients, Parkinson’s patients, cancer patients all this craziness. I’m like what…this is not what we’re seeing. You’re getting them well and you’re talking about upper cervical, keep in mind I just got turned on to this whole thing through Sigafoose.

The third part of the whole thing was, at the same time my wife she wasn’t my wife at the time- I was dating her, she started getting sick. Like crazy sick female problems, migraines, headaches, sick.  Our answer was let’s get you adjusted three times a day instead of once and she just started getting sick, and sick, and sick.

I’m like all right Sigafoose is talking to me, Conicello is talking to me, my wife is talking to me so really God is sitting there going wake up, pay attention. This was in the moment where I was going to quit chiropractic. To make a very long story short I ended up going to that seminar that week, KCUCS and I remember to this day the very first time it was just an amazing, life changing seminar on upper cervical.

Sure enough who was there? Dr. ConiCello, he was one of the teachers.  I was like you know what, this is almost too freaky. I ended up talking to him that weekend about my wife and he’s like bring her up to my office in Greenville. I live in North Georgia so it was an hour and a half drive.

I took her up there and we took upper cervical films and basically figured out that the chiropractor that we were seeing was adjusting her number one, on the wrong side but doing it two to three times a day.  It was a dislocated atlas, it was crazy.  I drove my wife up there and we got checked on the weekends.

After two, three, four months she just completely turned around. She’s completely well now, I was like man I got to learn this stuff. I ended up learning it, I did about two to three weeks of Kessinger’s certification program. Believe it or not I actually asked my chiropractor, the guy I was associating with- I’d like to do this in the office. He said no.

I said well I got to leave, so I ended up opening a practice. That’s how I got into it, I opened an upper cervical practice at the time which was about 2008/2009 and hit the ground from there. That’s how I got into it all. That’s how I got into chiropractic and how I got into the upper cervical part.

Dr. Bill:    Awesome that’s a great story. I had a similar experience when I was doing my associateship I came out of a full spine office and so forth and just that experience of a frustration. Is this all there is? Is it just talk or could we do something that really lasts?

Dr. Nick:    Exactly.

Dr. Bill:    It gets to that point where you start thinking, did God design our bodies this horribly that we have to get adjusted every day or every week for the rest of your lives? It just seems that frustration, I know what you’re feeling.

Dr. Nick:    I think what got me was, the light bulb went off when Sigafoose used to say, the healing doesn’t come from the adjustment. It comes from the holding so the body can repair in between adjustments.  I was like wow that’s so important.  That spark really made sense to me.

My wife holds adjustments for nine months at a time now and as opposed to getting adjusted twice a day, five days a week.

Dr. Bill:    That’s the fundamental difference between upper cervical philosophy and general chiropractic philosophy in many ways. In the general chiropractic philosophy basically the power comes in being adjusted.

Dr. Nick:    Exactly.

Dr. Bill:    In upper cervical the power comes in staying in adjustment. That fundamental difference makes all the difference in the world.

Dr. Nick:    Yes, exactly. That was the missing link I think.  That’s my opinion, I think that’s the missing link in the entire profession.

Dr. Bill:    Yes. Absolutely.

work hard for success

Going out on Your Own

Dr. Bill:    Let’s talk more about your practice now. You get out of the full spine office you were in, you did your own practice. Tell me the city that you went to practice in, tell me about getting started in your practice, what was it like the first few years and so forth.

Dr. Nick:    I practiced full spine in a little town called Lawrenceville, Georgia which was basically about an hour north of the city. When I opened my new practice I did not want to deal with competing with the other guy or whatever, you have to sign a contract. I went a little bit more north, it’s not little anymore but it’s a town called Dacula, Georgia which is like Dracula but without the R. 

We just opened up shop and working our tails off and built a very successful practice. I started off as an insurance dependent practice just because that’s all I knew and up to about two and half years we’re now 100% cash practice at this point.  All we do is chiropractic, I don’t do anything else so that’s it. That’s what we do.<