Dr. Carly May's Path to Chiropractic

As an Integrative Physiology major at CU-Boulder, I learned that it is impossible to diagnose a problem with a cure-all solution.  Chiropractic is a profession that uses a holistic approach, considering the nervous system as an integral part of the body and including diet, exercise, overall health and well-being as important factors for treating a condition.  Much of chiropractic work is dedicated toward minimizing or preventing future impediments, which appealed to my belief in a conservative and preventative approach in treatment.  I wanted to become a chiropractor because this approach is long-term and natural, providing a better and more sustainable outcome.

My interest in the human body began my sophomore year of high school when I started running for my school’s cross country team and later training for half-marathons.  I was so committed and motivated that I overtrained and suffered from stress fractures, sprained ankles and shin splints. Rather than being discouraged from the sport, I was eager to recover and to learn about the sources of my injuries.  I began researching the causes, preventions, and treatment techniques of these injuries so that I could prevent them from reoccurring.  It was then that I realized that not only do I want to help myself, but that I want to use this information to help others. 

When I started at the University of Colorado, I anticipated becoming a sports medicine physician and, therefore, had many interactions with various health professions.  My first year, I volunteered in the Wardenburg Sports Medicine Clinic and the Orthopedic Unit of Boulder Community Hospital. At the clinic, I learned about various stretching techniques and therapeutic exercises for the different muscles and assisted the physical therapists with exercises, such as ball tossing and stretching.  The majority of the clinic’s patients suffered from sports-related injuries or post-surgical conditions, whereas most of the patients from Boulder Community Hospital were patients with accident related injuries.  This difference gave me the opportunity to comfort and assist patients with a variety of ailments and remedies.  These internships made me more enthusiastic about working with patients, yet taught me that I believed in a more personal, hands-on approach.

Combining my athletic and holistic interests, the Chiropractic profession became increasingly more intriguing.  As my Integrative Physiology classes became more specialized, I was deepening my understanding for chiropractic principles and theories.  In anatomy, I saw the spinal cord and brain firsthand.  In endocrinology, I learned about the different hypopituitary axes and how they feedback on each other, making treatment of one disorder difficult.  In neurophysiology, I learned about propagated signaling and its effects on transmission of stimulus within the nervous system.  I began to appreciate that every organ, gland, and cell within the body needs a nerve supply to function properly.  Those classes gave me the fundamentals and taught me that treatments are not simple; they require an efficient nervous system and change in lifestyle.  However, I also recognized that I still had much to learn about the human body, and these classes merely got my feet wet.  

Most importantly, I love the feeling of accomplishing my own goals.  I love reaching the top of a 14,000 foot mountain after a five-hour hike, crossing the finish line of a triathlon, and walking for the first time after six weeks on crutches.  In addition, I truly enjoy helping others to achieve their ambitions.  I love being a chiropractor because the wide range of patient problems will provide me with an intellectual challenge.  Each day, I will am faced with the task of deciding the best method of treatment.  My success stems from my patients’ recuperation.