Kelly D. Smith experienced life-defining epiphanies during her junior year in high school in Nebraska. It began with a schedule that included an anatomy/physiology class. She was fascinated from the first chapter forward, deciding she wanted to find a niche in the health care community.
Smith was firm in her choice, but she also realized she needed to make two specific adjustments. First, she harbored an intense dislike of needles. Second, her aversion to blood was even more deep-seated. Luckily, her father invited her to accompany him to a chiropractic appointment a short time later, and her dilemma was solved.
“The first thing that struck me was the chiropractor seemed so happy in his work,” she remembered. “He was actually enjoying talking to my father and working with him. Until then, the only thing I knew was people had jobs so that they could pay bills. No one ever said anything about actually enjoying those jobs.”
Smith’s second and third epiphanies grew from that visit. She would become a chiropractor, thereby avoiding needles and blood, and she would enjoy going to work and relieving her patients of pain. All of that was around 27-years ago. By 1993, she graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, and became known officially as Dr. Kelly D. Smith, DC. After one year as an associate, she established Colony Chiropractic in The Colony, Texas, in 1995. As a result of the style, form, and focus of the training she received at Palmer, she refers to herself as “an aggressive, old-school chiropractor.”
There have been changes in chiropractic medicine since Dr. Smith graduated and even more changes since she opened her clinic, but she’s kept well-abreast of technical modifications. She’s no stranger to thinking outside the box. She’s a petite woman, slightly built. Yet, she describes her technique as “aggressive.” How? Implementing the various chiropractic adjustments usually requires physical strength to push and pull various parts into alignment.
“It’s a very physical job,” said Dr. Smith, “so physical that I get adjusted at least every three weeks. The side posture adjustment is one that requires a great deal of strength and effort. I had to figure out a different way of doing it. If not, my shoulders would have worn out long before now.
“We’ve also seen huge changes in gender. It was 90 percent male students when I was in school. Now, it’s around 50-50. Back then we treated mostly low back pain. Today, it’s around 50 percent low back and 50 percent neck/upper back.”
She added, “Many people still avoided chiropractic care when I first began practicing; not so much because they didn’t understand or trust it but more because of the lack of insurance coverage. That’s all changed. Medicare now allows up to 30 covered treatment sessions in the first year. There’s also increased coverage through the VA and private policies.”
Dr. Smith’s clinic tries to work with patients, from establishing their adjustment schedule for pain relief to strategizing treatment options for the best financial options. The clinic offers chiropractic care, therapy, rehab, and massage therapy. In most instances, this multi-pronged offering under one roof cuts back on the number of co-pays required from the patient’s checkbook.
There are frequent surprises in chiropractic care. The spine is like a computer “motherboard,” with tiny wires reaching out to all corners of the body. There are 32 pairs of nerves carrying messages from the brain, through the spine, and then exiting the spine at various locations. This forms, as a whole, the nervous system, which controls all bodily functions. If one of those nerves is pinched along its path, there will be pain somewhere in the spine plus something else may be negatively impacted.
“That’s why I frequently hear patients say things such as, ‘It’s crazy but I haven’t been as constipated since I’ve been having my treatments’ or ‘My arm feels so much better since you started treating my neck,’” Dr. Smith said. “It’s really a bonus when that happens.”
Many people don’t call a chiropractor until the pain is unbearable, which is why Dr. Smith’s staff schedules their first appointment as soon as possible. “Typically, we try to get someone who calls in the morning into the clinic that same afternoon,” outlined Dr. Smith. “We do the consultation, exam, and x-rays all in that first visit so we can move on to the actual treatment. We want to get the pain under control – quickly.”
The staff at Colony Chiropractic is entirely female (not by intentional design) and each person is an animal lover, which is why they go the extra mile to support their local animal services. There are designated times set aside during the year when they offer free services to new and established patients in exchange for blankets for the shelter. Other events allow teddy bears as payment for gratis exams and/or x-rays.
Dr. Kelly D. Smith’s junior year in high school was a blessing. It showed her how to participate fully in the world of health care while avoiding blood and needles. And, all these years later, she still includes in her gratitude list the career choice that’s far, far more than just a job to pay bills.
972.625.4800 | ColonyChiro.com |4709 SH 121, Ste. 124 • The Colony, TX 75056 (NE corner 121 & Main)
photos courtesy of Colony Chiropractic