I met them for an interview in mid-April when they were just days into seeing patients in their new spot off Walter Scholer Drive (same building, but they’re now in Suite B).
We talked about the history of Chiropractic, why it works, and why they chose it for their career.
In the United States, the first chiropractic adjustment was performed in 1895. A man named David Palmer was a magnetic healer when he encountered a janitor named Harvey. Harvey had lost his hearing due to an injury he sustained 17 years prior. The janitor had been bending down to pick something up when he heard a POP and was suddenly deaf.
After hearing his story, Palmer noticed a spinal segment in Harvey's neck was out of place. Palmer adjusted the bone back to its natural alignment and ended up completely restoring the janitor's hearing. After that, Mr. Palmer became more interested in spinal manipulation and began to study it further, going abroad to China and Greece (where chiropractic originated thousands of years ago) to fine-tune his knowledge. Today, Palmer is known as the founder of Chiropractic.
That origin story may sound too miraculous to be real, but both Dr. Andrews and Dr. Lam have had similar experiences with their own patients.
One particular client of theirs had a shelf fall on his head about 10 years ago and his hearing had slowly diminished since, eventually causing him to wear hearing aids. After a couple of adjustments with Dr. Lam, however, his hearing started to return and now he no longer needs the assistance of hearing aids.
Dr. Lam explained how misaligned bones can have such a profound effect on one's hearing.
“If a bone that is situated close enough to your ear is significantly out of place, it begins to affect the muscles and nerves around the ear, which can disrupt the neural pathways from the ear to the brain.”
That simple explanation relates to the entire premise behind chiropractic healing: Bodies function at their best when everything in them is where it is supposed to be. Correct alignment leads to better communication within the body, which leads to optimal body function.
The two doctors shared another example (there are many) of dramatic healing from chiropractic intervention.
Another patient of theirs had been in a roll-over car accident which caused a disc in his back to suddenly shift out of place. Since then, this patient experienced continuous back pain, foot pain, headaches, and difficulty walking. He was finally told by his physician that the only solution would be to undergo surgery. Not liking that prognosis, he was determined to find an alternative. After two weeks and four adjustments with Dr. Andrews, the man started to feel relief. He can now work out at the gym as he did before his accident and he currently lives his life without limitations.
As Dr. Lam says, “Chiropractic work is just listening to the body, figuring out which part is having trouble adapting to various stressors: physical (injuries), emotional (trauma or stress), and chemical (what our bodies consume), and then using chiropractic methods to alleviate it.”
The two Doctors have various methods of "listening to the body”.
“We use X-rays and exams, and we can see abnormalities in how people move. When something in your body moves out of its intended position, it irritates the surrounding muscles, ligaments, and nerves. Those irritations show themselves through inflammation, skin texture differences, temperature differences, muscle tonicity, and muscle restriction and tightness.”
Emotional trauma and stress lead to the release of the hormone cortisol, which affects the body's regular neural pathways. Chemical stressors, such as processed food, also cloud the nervous system and can send the wrong signals to the body leading to inflammation. In each of these situations, chiropractic care helps by reconnecting the body's signals and reminding it to do its job.
Chiropractors know A LOT about the body. Compared to a medical doctor, whose focus is more on chemical reactions in the body, a chiropractor's focus is on anatomy and physiology. In fact, in chiropractic school, students log 300 more hours in anatomy and physiology than medical students.
Dr. Lam decided to pursue her chiropractic degree when she was in high school.
“When I was 16, my dad got really sick. His regular doctor diagnosed him with a sinus infection, but it turned out to be a stroke. Throughout his care, I couldn’t help noticing that doctor after doctor would come in, prescribe some medicine, and leave. But he never got better.”
She had previously wanted to be an ER surgeon, but the experience with her father made her reevaluate. “I wanted to have a relationship with my patients, not see each one as if they’re on an assembly line.”
She was looking into other types of medicine when she found chiropractic. She liked that it was focused on treating people from the inside out, rather than just addressing symptoms.
Dr. Lam told me about another experience that sealed the deal for her on becoming a chiropractor.
“I was at chiropractic school, working as an intern. A stroke patient came into the clinic with his wife. He couldn’t talk or walk. I worked on him twice a week for about three months and eventually, his wife didn’t need to come with him anymore. He was able to talk and walk again, and by the end of those three months and he had regained about 70 percent of the functions that had been lost. That’s when I knew I had made the right choice with chiropractic”.
Dr. Andrews also had a personal story regarding his interest in chiropractic. As a wrestler in high school, he had gotten slammed on his head by one of his coaches during practice. The chiropractor he saw alleviated his pain and seemed to love his job in a way that really appealed to him.
The two doctors met at the Palmer College of Chiropractic, located in Davenport, Iowa.
Dr. Lam is originally from Iowa while Dr. Andrews was born here in Lafayette. Both doctors have a General Science degree. Taylor says it was a love for a common interest that brought them together. Now, just a few years later, they are married and own a business together, and are helping their patients thrive on a daily basis.