October 24, 2018 -- Logan alumnus Jeff King, DC, MS did not take the typical path to becoming a chiropractor, but he wouldn’t change anything in the series of events that led him to his current position.
As an undergraduate biology student at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, Dr. King planned to become a dentist. However, when he landed an internship-turned-summer job in a dental office, he quickly realized dentistry wasn’t the career for him.
Still desiring a career in the health professions, Dr. King continued pursuing his biology degree and began shadowing health care professionals, including the football team’s chiropractor. Dr. King became intrigued.
“I worked construction in high school and college, so the hands-on nature of chiropractic was appealing to me,” he said. Dr. King decided to give chiropractic a try and enrolled at Logan. The choice was easy―he felt confident Logan would prepare him to work in an integrated setting and appreciated the opportunities the school offered to experience other health care professions outside of chiropractic.
While at Logan, Dr. King participated in a study program to observe a neurosurgeon interacting with patients and performing surgery in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Dr. King also completed two community-based internships that provided exposure to other health care professions, taught him how chiropractors can successfully collaborate with other professionals to treat patients and better understand how these methods can be put into practice.
After Dr. King earned his DC in 2011 and his MS in Sports Science and Rehabilitation in 2012, he moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where he worked in clinic practice, before joining the team at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin SpineCare Program in Milwaukee. The SpineCare Program employs a variety of medical professionals who treat back pain, including chiropractors, physiatrists, neurosurgeons, pain psychologists and physical therapists. This team-based approach to patient care more closely aligned with Dr. King's integrated approach to healing.
“I’m fortunate to have an adventurous wife that allows me to pursue my career dreams,” he said.
With the move, Dr. King’s career focus shifted from working with athletes to treating adults with spine-related issues. One thing he’s learned throughout this experience is that the messages patients receive is critical to their recovery.
Back pain can be scary and debilitating, but Dr. King believes providers can greatly influence the patient’s thoughts about their back pain with the words they choose. “We can either increase the patient’s sense that they are unfixable and disabled, or we can increase the patient’s sense of resiliency and self-efficiency,” he said. “For the majority of patients, we should de-emphasize any fear they have and highlight that our spines are robust and tolerant structures that are capable of a great deal.”
Dr. King also believes educating patients is key to the recovery process. He has found success in providing an honest opinion about what is going on with each patient’s body and goals, because patient expectations are a crucial factor in the ability to recover.
“I try to educate patients and help them understand that back pain is not necessarily a life sentence,” said Dr. King. “I also strive to make it clear that one of the most important predictors of their ability to recover is being an engaged and active participant in their treatment.”
This can be a challenge: It is sometimes difficult to inspire patients to take an active role in their rehab with lifestyle changes, such as walking every day or completing their home exercise program. These challenges, however, don’t dampen the enthusiasm Dr. King feels in caring for his patients.
“The best part about my job is getting to know my patients and seeing how excited they are when they make progress in their recovery,” he said. “When a patient tells me that they were able to get on the floor and play with their grandkids or run the 5k they were working toward, it’s meaningful to me.
“My advice to a Logan student would be to get exposed to many other health care professionals because at the end of the day everyone is trying to help patients,” said Dr. King. “Understanding how you can be a part of a patient team is crucial in chiropractic.”
Dr. King also believes it is important to find a good mentor and to get involved on campus and in industry associations. When he is not in the clinic, Dr. King is active in multi-disciplinary associations such as the North American Spine Society, as well as chiropractic associations including the State Chiropractic Examining Board and the American Chiropractic Association. He also serves as a committee member in his state association.