Making Chiropractic House Calls

By Dr. Amy Hatchett
Interviewed by Rasa Fournier
Wednesday - February 09, 2011
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Dr. Amy Hatchett

Doctor of Chiropractic

Interviewed By Rasa Fournier

Where did you receive your schooling and training?

I went to Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. It’s kind of like the Harvard of chiropractic. The Palmers are the ones whose family started chiropractic. And that’s where I grew up, in the Midwest.

Becoming a doctor of chiropractic required four years of undergraduate college, then three years and three months of chiropractic college with a year of clinical externship, which is essentially the same as an internship or residency. Coursework is essentially the same as medical school, with extra emphasis on neuroanatomy courses and chiropractic technique instead of pharmacological and surgical training. So, the time frame and coursework are similar to medical school, except the treatment protocols focus on the body’s natural ability to heal itself without using drugs or surgery.

Dr. Amy Hatchett adjusts a patient’s mid-back at a house call

How long have you been practicing?

Fifteen-and-a-half years.

Can you tell me about your home visit program?

Most doctors work from 9 to 5 and then close down. So I thought, well, I’ll just try going to their homes. And I also do weekends, evenings and holidays. I see tourists and do hotel calls. Some doctors won’t see tourists.

What demographic do you mostly see?

From womb to tomb, so my youngest patient was 7 days old, my oldest 98 years. The first trauma is birth, and when people come to me when they’re older, they’ve done things throughout their life but they usually don’t get pain until later on. Most people think of chiropractic as only for pain, and it’s really for overall wellness and prevention. That’s been our philosophy from the very beginning, and now a lot of other people are starting to adapt it because it makes more sense to prevent than to wait until you’re ill. One of the things I like to focus on, too, is women’s issues — anything from bad menstrual cycles to women who get adjusted while they’re pregnant, it can cut their labor in half. Even fertility issues — there have been women who have had problems with fertility and then go to the chiropractor, and we’re able to help with that too.

Can you say something more about how chiropractic helps with women’s health issues?

People think, how can you help fertility, how can you help someone with menstrual problems? The process behind it is that the nervous system controls everything in the body. If there’s interference to the nervous system — which is caused by the spinal bones being out of alignment and, in women’s issues, particularly the pelvic area — the hormones aren’t going to work properly, they’re not going to be flowing properly, so things aren’t going to work like they’re supposed to. Once we put the vertebrae back where they’re supposed to be, it allows the nervous system to function properly. So the hormones do what they’re supposed to do, so the person is well and functioning better.

You mentioned that people “have done things throughout their life, but they usually don’t get pain until later on.” Do you mean that ordinary activities eventually wear a person down or that they may have been carrying themselves incorrectly for some time, but the pain doesn’t surface until later?

The three main things that cause the vertebrae to misalign or subluxate are thought, trauma and toxin. These things all occur on a daily basis and throughout our lifetime. However, a lot of times they’ll do something and the misalignment will just happen, but other times they’ll be like, “I don’t know, I was fine for 50 years and then all of a sudden I’ve had this back pain for the last three months.” Maybe they were in a car accident when they were younger, or from sports injuries, but then the major problem didn’t actually set in, they didn’t actually feel it, until years later. Once you’re in pain, your body is telling you there’s something wrong and usually it’s been wrong for awhile.

Are there any other unusual things you help people with?

When the 7-day-old baby was brought in, she was having problems with suckling and her face on one side was even a little discolored, like bluish, so the blood flow wasn’t going well. So I did a very gentle adjustment on her mandible and the upper cervical (neck) vertebrae, and after that she pinked up right away and was able to feed. Other things with children and babies are colic, bed-wetting, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, and autism. We’ve gotten really great results with that.

What are some of the main men’s issues you deal with?

I have a lot of experience with auto accidents, sports injuries and, here in Hawaii, we get a lot of surfers, paddlers and men who do construction work and heavy lifting.

What should a person look for in choosing a chiropractor?

Where they go to school is very important. I’m probably biased, I believe Palmer is the best, but what happened was chiropractors came out of Palmer and came up with their own ideas and techniques, and went off and started their own chiropractic colleges. Check on chiropractors just like you would check out a plastic surgeon or any type of medical doctor. Call your board and find out have they ever had any complaints lodged against them. Are they actually licensed? People often assume a lot.

Go to somebody who’s going to listen to you and spend time with you and not just “herd” patients in and out like cattle. You’ve got to feel comfortable with the person. Make sure that you understand everything and that they explain things, and, if not, that you’re able to ask questions and have them explain it to you. It’s the chiropractor’s job to educate the public about what we’re doing. If you are into preventative care and staying well and living a healthy lifestyle, then chiropractic is definitely something that you should look into.

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