From Chiropractic Skeptic to DC

Conversation with a Member

Author: Amanda Donohue/Wednesday, March 23, 2016/Categories: November 2014

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Medically retired Navy SEAL uses chiropractic for pain relief and later becomes a DC

By Amanda Donohue

Howard Wasdin, DC, served in the U.S. Navy for 12 years, nine of them as a SEAL. He was medically discharged after sustaining serious injuries in the Battle of Mogadishu. After rejecting suggestions of chiropractic care for pain management, he finally gave in and then saw many improvements that were not achieved by other invasive approaches he had tried. He later pursued a career in chiropractic, completing his education in 2009. In spring 2010, he opened his own clinic, Absolute Precision Chiropractic. Since then, he has authored two books, SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper and The Last Rescue: How Faith and Love Saved a Navy SEAL Sniper, which touch on his beginnings with chiropractic. He also speaks on the current chiropractic profession and image, and about his personal chiropractic findings regarding the resolution of migraine headaches in patients.

What injuries did you endure as a Navy SEAL that made you eligible for medical retirement?

I was shot three times in “Black Hawk Down,” or the Battle of Mogadishu. All shots by an AK-47: once behind my left knee, once through the top of my left foot, and the worst was a shot to my right shin that practically blew my leg off.

What motivated you to pursue a career in chiropractic?

I decided to become a chiropractor after a chiropractor helped me after multiple surgeries, a lot of physical therapy and a lot of pain and sleepless nights. This is detailed in my first book, SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper, and I get into much more detail in my second book, The Last Rescue: How Faith and Love Saved a Navy SEAL Sniper.

Tell me about your experience in using a DC for relief after your “big foot chase” as a police officer, mentioned in your first book. How was it life-changing?

After my second and third adjustment, I was pain free and slept through the night for the first time in years. Studies now show that lack of sleep is one of the biggest contributors to worsening PTSD. It was life-changing also in the fact that I realized that I did not have to just “endure the pain” or medicate as the medical community advised.

You have spoken at state and national chiropractic organizations, colleges and corporations about the chiropractic profession. How would you further advance the profession and its image?

I promote teamwork and unity among DCs in what we educate the public and other health care officials on as far as what we do as a profession. I advise NOT to alienate or demonize MDs, as they can be part of the whole body team. I get lots of referrals from local MDs as they know what my specialty is: “bio-mechanical dysfunction.” I also advise that a lot of our chiropractic misconceptions are self-inflicted and it does us no good to blame the AMA — or anyone else. I also speak against the concept that there is only one technique and argue that we are confusing the public/potential patients by this concept.

What are your hobbies?

I am a private pilot and fly as an “Angel Flight” pilot to transport patients who need medical attention/transplants/cancer treatment, etc. I am also a writer, and I spend a lot of time giving presentations on teamwork, overcoming adversity, faith and patriotism. I enjoy deep-sea fishing and scuba diving. I routinely fly my wife and I to Bimini for R&R.

Can you tell us about your newest book, The Last Rescue, released on Oct. 28? What part does chiropractic play in it?

The Last Rescue is about my entire story of going from a SEAL Team Six sniper to being wounded and unemployed. I often refer to it as going from rock star to rock bottom. I speak about the survivor’s guilt that plagued me, especially before getting chiropractic treatment. I detail my path from chiro-skeptic to chiro-believer and making it my life’s work. The book also details my struggle to overcome child abuse, multiple gunshot wounds, a failed marriage, medical retirement from SEAL Team Six and the woman who saved me from myself with the help of God.

Howard Wasdin, DC, ACA member since 2011.  His website is www.howardwasdin.comSend suggestions for future member profiles to ACAnews@acatoday.org. 
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