I recommend going back to the first episode of this podcast before you listen to this one. If you already listened to the first episode, this is Dr. Drew Hall. He is the doctor that gave me my life back four years ago. He is the reason this podcast is called Expect Miracles. I have never met anyone in my life that has more passion and love for what they do. People fly from all around the world to see Dr. Hall and be healed. It is an experience most people do not forget. I have seen countless miracles occur in Dr. Hall’s office, my story being one of them. He is President of the Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic Society. He is my mentor and one of my heroes. Please welcome, Dr. Drew Hall.
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The Man Who Saved My Life with Dr. Drew Hall
Dr. Hall, where are you from?
I grew up in Walnut Creek, California.
Where’s that? Northern California?
It’s about twenty minutes east of San Francisco Bay Area.
You spent a lot of time outside up there, fly fishing and stuff?
Of course. I didn’t know that I grew up in a rural area until I got stuck in a concrete jungle called Los Angeles.
Your spot over there is pretty nice, nice little backyard.
I say, if you’re going to live in Los Angeles, about the only two places you want to live are Pacific Palisades or Rancho Palos Verdes, where there are some dirt and animals.
Drew, how did you get into chiropractic?
I’m seventeen years old. I’m a junior in high school. I’m at baseball practice one day and practice is over. What do seventeen-year old boys do? They get in wrestling matches. I got in a wrestling match with a buddy of mine. Unfortunately, I was losing. He had me upside down from about two feet off the ground, I’m still friends with him even after he did this so it wasn’t on purpose, but he lost his grip on me and dropped me flat on my head from about two and a half feet off the ground. When I landed, I heard a crack right under my skull. Of course, the first thing that flashed through my mind was, “I hope I’m not paralyzed.” I rolled over and wiggled my feet and moved my legs, “I’m not paralyzed.”
You legitimately thought you were paralyzed right after it happened?
It just flashed through my head. We all have trauma. I was completely just dropped upside down my head and like I said, I heard that big noise in my neck. Just innately, that’s what flashed through my mind, “That could be the end of this.” I stood up and after that, obviously, I wasn’t paralyzed and didn’t have any pain. I went through the next little bit and didn’t think I had any repercussions. I basically forgot about it and went to bed that night. It was in the rear view mirror until about three years later. Slowly, over about a six-month period, I developed a whole host of symptoms that I didn’t ever have before, like headaches and insomnia.
That was just a gradual increase? It wasn’t right after it happened. It took a couple of months for all that stuff to kick in?
Yeah. It was so slow. I never even connected the dots that being dropped on my head had anything to do with it. Now that I’m in practice and of course yourself, it’s funny how often you ask patients about their trauma history and they’re like, “I’ve never been in any trauma.” Then you get them corrected and after three days later they tell you a story like I’m about to tell you. They never connect the dots. For over six months, I developed headaches, nausea, mental cognitive problems. Emotionally, I started having depression off and on. My sinuses swelled shut all the way.
That’s funny that you mentioned the depression thing too because I’ve heard this story a bunch of times, but you saw people that were depressed and go, “Just snap out of it. What’s wrong?”
I was just telling a patient yesterday about this because of course a quarter of people we see have depression. I was one of those insensitive male teenagers who figured that we all had control over our stuff. If we were where we’re at, it was because we were a wimp or not strong-minded or needed to pull our bootstraps up. We had a family friend who was depressed, and this was of course prior to having problems. I remember thinking, “Why don’t they just get over it?” Then of course when this starts happening to you and you start to realize that you can’t control and you can’t snap out of it, I felt horrible, the biggest jerk on the planet. I’m like, “I was so insensitive. I just didn’t get it.” A lot of people out there are like that. I’ve had patients in, the wife is dying of health problems and the husband just thinks that they’re making it up and they need to get over it and quit acting. It’s pretty sad when that’s the case. Unfortunately, it happens out there.
Continuing on with the story, over a two-year period, all the problems I told you along with muscle aches throughout my body and constipation and numbness down my arm, I started getting red ulcers on my tongue, all these bizarre things. Throughout this whole two-and-a-half-year period, of course I was an athlete. I played three sports all through high school. I always say, I don’t know whether I was positive or stupid or maybe both, but literally every day I kept telling myself, “It’ll eventually go away. It has to go away.” I found myself two and a half years later pretty much at the bottom of a barrel with no light coming in. It was the first thing in my life that I had happen to me where I couldn’t fix myself. It obviously wore on me and I basically got to a point where I started having suicidal thoughts.
You know you’re in trouble when that happens. When that started happening, that obviously freaked me out. I was like, “I’ve got to tell my parents,” because I was afraid of what I was going to do. I told my mom and thank God my parents were supportive. My mom was actually somewhat a little irritated I never said anything. “Why didn’t you say anything?” I said, “Because I kept telling myself it would eventually go away but I guess I was wrong.”
What we do, we did what most Americans would do out there where we grow up in what I call a medicine cabinet. When we have a problem, where do we go? We run to the doctor because that’s where we’re trained where we’re going to find solutions. That sure as hell wasn’t my experience. Over four or five months, I went to our family doctor who was actually a really good guy. He didn’t know what was going on so he referred me to an internist. The internist ran a CAT scan, an MRI, blood workup, chest x-ray, they pretty much ran me through a battery of tests. Everything turned up negative. He referred me out to an infectious disease specialist. The thinking on that, I fly fish and backpacked a lot and spent a lot of time outdoors. I had been bit by several ticks. I did have a lot of the symptoms that were related. They ran all those tests on me and all that came back negative.
I basically got sent back to the internist and he tells me, “You’ve seen four of the best medical doctors in the San Francisco Bay Area. We’ve ran all these medical tests on you. Based on medical science, there’s nothing wrong with you. You need to go and see a psychiatrist.” I felt like putting my fist through his front face. Obviously, I had depression. I had anxiety because I was worried, “What am I dying of?” I knew that that was the end result of the health problems I was having, not what started it. Of course, if you’re nineteen and you can’t sleep at night and you feel like you lost 50 points on your IQ and you get a blinding headache for two years straight and your neck constantly hurts and you feel you’re going to throw up five times a day and other problems I have, that’s going to wear on you.
I don’t know if I ever told you this but they sent me to a psychiatrist too. The guy’s like, “What’s wrong?” “I just wish I could go out and drink with my friends.” This guy goes, “That sounds like an alcoholic tendency. You should go to AA meetings.” I swear to God, they sent me to AA meetings because they thought I was an alcoholic. I was literally just venting to this guy. “I’m in college, I just want to go out and have a beer with my friends.” They sent me to AA. I was going to AA meetings because of my concussion and stuff, un-fucking real.
There’s nothing that you can tell me about the stupidity of not only medical doctors but human beings that would surprise me. I will follow that up with there are a lot of very well-meaning medical doctors that are very good at what they do, but what you should’ve been told and what I should’ve been told was, “Drew, Kevin, we’ve run all these tests within the medical paradigm, we really don’t know what’s going on. We don’t have all the answers. I’ve done everything I can. You should really search outside of the paradigm of medicine to see if a different way of looking at things has a solution for you.” But that sure as hell was not what we were told, was it? That sure as hell isn’t half of what our patients are told, are they?
No. What was the next step for you?
I was probably like you were. I was like, “I really don’t give a damn if you tell me I’m crazy. If you’ve got a solution, I’m all for it.” I did. I went to a psychologist. When you’re that down in the gutter, you’re willing to do anything. I didn’t have really a strong center because I wasn’t knocked off of it completely by how I felt. I went to a psychologist and they ran me through a bunch of tests and told me I was depressed and had anxiety. I was like, “No shit. Thanks. Tell me something I don’t know. Now what?” “You need to go and see a psychiatrist and I’ll give you some drugs.” I’m in the car ride on the way home with my mom discussing this and I’m like, “Mom, I don’t want to take that crap.” My mom says, “Drew, maybe it’ll help you feel better.” I said, “Mom, I don’t want to feel better. I want to get better.” There’s a big difference between feeling better and actually getting well. I was born to be an Upper Cervical Doctor from the get go. I said, “Mom, I can go drink twelve beers and feel better. That doesn’t mean I’m healthy.” What the hell is the difference between that and taking a bunch of psychotropic medications to change your brain chemistry? I don’t have a Prozac deficiency, there’s something wrong.
I elected not to go that route. We ended up in a homeopath’s office who had an acupuncturist in the office also and I did that. Through all of these, I have no idea what the cause is. I don’t know what started it and I’m racking my brain. I get into a homeopaths office and she happened to be a patient of my now mentor, Dr. Tom Forest. I obviously didn’t know that at the time. When she was in consultation with me, I told her I had a headache for two and a half years every day of my life. She started probing because she, being a patient, knew that the upper neck was involved obviously. She started asking about accident history and she threw a question and uncovered the head dropping
incident. I remember thinking, “Oh my God. That’s when it all started.” I had some problems before like most people but that was what sent me off the deep end and the point of no return I guess, if you want to call it that.
She was a very rare doctor. She handed me a business card and said, “Drew, I think you need to go see this guy.” That was Dr. Tom Forest in Pleasanton. He was 30 minutes from my house. I’ll never forget this. Before I left the office, she grabbed me by both of my upper arms, and this was about a 75-year old lady with white hair who’s about five foot. She gets right in my face and she says, “Don’t you go anywhere else but this guy. He’s the best in the whole San Francisco Bay Area. He does something really unique within chiropractic. He doesn’t twist and pop and pull your neck.”
To be honest, I never wanted to go to a chiropractor because I had a friend in high school that I asked what they did and he said, “They take your neck and twist it to the left as far they go and a little further and it cracks.” I’m like, “Hell, that doesn’t sound anything like I want to do.” She was so forceful with that. I was like, “What the hell? Is she getting paid for this?” I get home. I tell my mom how she referred me to Dr. Forest. The first thing in my mom’s mouth is, “Isn’t there a chiropractor in Walnut Creek?” Then I’m like, “That’s why she said that.” I told my mom softly what she had told me. A week later, I ended up driving 30 minutes to Dr. Tom Forest’s office and he corrected the C1 vertebra right under my head and all else is history. My whole life has never been the same since.
What happened after that first adjustment?
I was like most people. I was totally skeptical. When you’re chronically sick and you’ve been to a bunch of doctors and no one has a solution for you, not only do they not have a solution for you, they don’t tell you anything that even makes any logical sense to the thinking person. I was thinking, “What’s causing it? That’s fine, give me all these drugs. But how in the hell am I going to get better from that?” He sat me down. He explained to me that your brain controls everything in your body and the brain sends nerve impulses down through the spinal cord and that controls every cell in your body. As long as you’re alive, you have information passing back and forth from the brain to the tissue cells in the body and the nervous system is the intermediary. That’s where everything’s travelling along. If it’s working without any interference, you’re going to work right. I’m like, “That makes sense.”
He went on to tell me the head weighs twelve pounds and the C1 at the top of the neck weighs two ounces. It’s the weakest junction in the spine. If you had a trauma and it shifts and locks out of position and irritates the central nervous system, you’re not going to work the way you’re supposed to. I’m like, “Ding! That makes sense.” He goes on to tell me he takes precise x-rays of the joints between the head and neck. If a vertebra is out of position, it’s going to happen on the joints. I’m like, “That makes sense.” It’s really precise. He took out his model and showed me what they look at. I’m like, “This all makes sense.” But still, after being screwed up for two and a half years and no one had any answers, I’m like, “Prove it to me.” He ran me through a battery of tests, told me my C1 and C2 were offset. I’m in the x-ray chair. He put this contraption on my head and turned me all these different directions and snapped a bunch of pictures. I was like, “This is pretty thorough.”
He brought me back two days later, put my films up, showed me my neck was totally straight which it wasn’t supposed to be. He showed me how my atlas was off and put me on a table, got under my ear. I don’t know what the hell he did but I didn’t feel anything. Afterwards, literally the adjustment was so light, I thought he didn’t do anything. Of course that started some skepticism. He laid me down the chair twenty minutes. I drove my car home. After that, I felt literally no different. I did my normal go to bed at 10:00, like I always did. For two years, I never, not one night, unless I got smashed, which was only the beginning because that stopped working, I never fell asleep quicker than two and a half hours, for over two years. I never slept through the night and I always woke up five times a night. I never woke up in the morning feeling like I slept.
I go to bed that night and I wake up in the morning and I’m like, “I didn’t wake up once last night. I feel like I slept.” I don’t remember going to sleep because I fell asleep in five or ten minutes like a normal person. That was my first, “I don’t know what he did but something happened.” It wasn’t like all my problems were gone, but over a period of
time, through a seesawing process, it changed my entire life completely.
Your sinuses were completely swollen shut too, you said.
I couldn’t breathe through my nose. It got worse in the evening.
That all cleared up over time?
That’s the part I didn’t even talk about. About six months after I got dropped on my head, I had a sinus infection that was like a sinus infection unlike I never had before. It never went away for three months and I was blowing stuff out of my nose that looked like an alien. I never truly recovered from that sinus infection. I always felt like I was sick. That was another aspect to all the problems I had. About a week after he adjusted me, I woke up at about two in the morning, I had a sore throat and my sinuses were killing me. I blew all this nasty stuff out of my nose like I did. I totally freaked out because I thought, “I’ve got another sinus infection here. I’m going to be laid up for another three months.” I was totally depressed. I went back to sleep. When I woke up in the morning, it was gone. I was like, “My body must have just overthrown whatever had its hold on me.” It literally pushed it out of the system, which now I know what I know, that’s exactly what happened. My immunity went up and kicked that virus out of the system. That’s my story.
You were off to chiropractic school after that?
You go from wanting to kill yourself to feeling better than you ever had in your life, I think it’s pretty obvious what you’re supposed to do with it.
I get this question all the time. How come I’ve never heard about Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic? All my patients say it.
Because there’s 120 of us. We don’t have billion dollar grants from the CDC on research. It’s a bunch of good old men out there that got sick themselves. To the lay person out there or even the chiropractor out there, to tell them this story seems far out there. It seems far out. “What? He touched the bone under your neck and that got you better?” That’s totally 180 degrees out of our frame of residence, healthcare-wise. My answer to your question, we have a paradigm of healthcare that’s been indoctrinated into 300 million people for 150 years. It’s difficult to break that mold, but we will break the mold in the next twenty years.
Just on your YouTube channel, you have hundreds of patient testimonials from Meniere’s and headaches and fibromyalgia. I remember hearing one interview you did where there was literally a woman that couldn’t see. She was legally blind. You adjust her and she came back to your office the next day and she came right up to you and she’s like “Hey, Dr. Hall. How are you doing?” You’re like, “Why the hell is this woman in my face right now shaking my hand?” You realized that she could legally see again.
It wasn’t the next day. It took about ten weeks. I’ve only had one person have the eyesight thing happen to them. Who knows, maybe that’s the only time that ever happens. I wish that we had the cure for blindness on everyone, but as I tell patients, if everything in your entire system is controlled by a nerve impulse and you have a C1 vertebra on the base of your skull locked and irritating the spinal cord, it can affect literally everything and anything in your whole body. It’s not a wild and crazy idea that all these different conditions in some instances can respond to an upper neck correction. Of course it’s not the cure all for everything.
Why can’t somebody just go down the street to a regular chiropractor? What makes Blair different than pretty much everybody else?
I’m going to be inclusive because I’ve learned to be over the last twenty years. Of course all chiropractic has the same philosophy. There’s intelligence in your body and the brain and spinal cord and nervous system is paramount in function for the entire body. All chiropractic is based on that premise. All chiropractic procedures at one time or another have gotten these miracle cases that we talk about. I’m a big fan of our whole profession. Of course you could go and talk to most of the chiropractors in your neighborhood that do full spine twist type work and they probably can tell you crazy stories that they have had happen in their office. What separates Blair is we are honing in on the upper cervical spine, we’re putting all of our attention to the upper neck area for several reasons. It’s neurologically the most important and it’s anatomically the weakest.
What separates the Blair or the Upper Cervical work from regular chiropractic is we’re focusing on the most important area and we’re using a very precise system of analysis and objective neurological testing to determine whether we’ve done our job right or not. The whole objective of the Upper Cervical work is to run tests to determine, number one, do they have a problem? Number two, if they have a problem, is it C1? Is it C1 and 2? Is it C1 and 3? Is it C1 and 4? Is it C2 only? Once we determine which vertebra it is, then we take a precise set of pictures to look at the joint because where the joints meet, they’re a mirror images of one another. If a vertebra is truly out of position, we’re going to see it on a joint surface. By taking those pictures, we can tell which joint is off, what direction is off, how far is it off, what is the angle of that joint so we can then make a very precise custom-tailored adjustment to clear it.
What separates Upper Cervical procedures from the rest of the profession is when the follow-up testing is done. We have a system of analysis that tells us whether that correction is staying put and there’s no nerve interference, or that joint locked back out of position and the interference has returned. I always, and I’m sure you do and the rest of us, we always say it’s not the adjustment that gets people better. It’s it staying in position while there’s no nerve interference from that misalignment. If it stays checked out, that’s what allows the body naturally to go back to how
it should be. If I had to encapsulate what I just said, what separates Blair from full spine regular work is precision; the principle of holding is healing, and knowing when to leave it alone.
These adjustments can hold weeks to months to years. We don’t want you in our office three or four times a week, and get your neck cracked. We want to hopefully put one adjustment into the spine and have it hold for as long as possible.
I wish I could say all of my patients held years at a time, they don’t. But that’s our objective of course.
Where do you see Blair going in the near future?
All the people who are the forefront of all the Upper Cervical techniques, just for the listeners, within Upper Cervical, there are eight different techniques now. All of them have the same objective. They have different analysis systems, from the x-ray to the objective testing. We’re all trying to accomplish the same goal. Obviously, it’s already happening. All the Upper Cervical procedures are growing. All of us are gaining a presence on the internet.
Twenty years ago, if you were told that it was all in your head by a medical professional and you’re just going have to live with it or take these drugs, really your only option was hearsay from a friend or you read a book somewhere or you ran into an Upper Cervical Chiropractic patient. These days, people are getting on Google and they’re researching for answers and a lot of people are getting to Upper Cervical offices that way. I’m a huge fan of podcasts and blogs and the internet because it’s leveling the playing field. It’s leveling the pharmaceutical overreach of media awareness to the population. The internet is leveling that. Thank God. Upper Cervical is going to continue to grow. There’s research. NUCCA’s published a lot of great research and some of the other knee, chest, Dr. Ray Drury out of North Carolina published the MS study. The Blair procedure is getting its act together.
What are some of the rare neurological conditions that you see that get better? You just mentioned MS. You see anything with Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s or ALS, any of that stuff?
I’ve had lots of Parkinson’s cases. MS, of course the neurodegenerative diseases would respond much better if we got to them when their symptoms started. Unfortunately, most of these cases that get to us have been symptomatic and heading the wrong direction usually anywhere from three to ten years before they get to an Upper Cervical doc. Why? Because we’re all told if we get sick we go to a doctor and that they have the answers. Most of these people are already in mainstream medicine before they get into our office. Prior to them developing Parkinson’s symptoms and MS symptoms, there’s been something wrong in the body twenty years prior to that. There’s been a disease process for thirty years going on in the system before they even get to us. With that said, do these cases do better? Absolutely. Would it have been better to catch them 25 years ago? Absolutely.
Some of it has to do with what they’re doing in other aspects of their life. If a patient comes in and they’re on ten pharmaceutical medications and they eat like garbage, there are so many other factors that are working against healing that it’s sometimes difficult. I had a case two years come in to me with primary progressive MS. She was headed for a wheelchair. Her legs were giving out with her. But she was adamant that she wasn’t going down the medical path. She went to the neurologist and they didn’t have any answers for her, “Here take these drugs.” “Show me someone who has taken these drugs and got better.” They can’t, it just slows the process. She’s like, “Forget about it. I’m going to do this naturally. Those cases are getting worst in doing the medical approach. Let’s see what we can do with the natural approach.”
She didn’t take any medications. She ate a very clean diet. She did vitamin IV drip, which is called Klenner’s Protocols which is a protocol that was developed 40 years ago by a medical doctor that had quite great results. It
helped her but she was still headed downhill. She got into our office, thankfully from Dr. Julie Mayer Hunt, an Orthospinology doctor in Florida. One of her friends was seeing Dr. Hunt. Dr. Hunt referred her to us because she was out here in Los Angeles. She got under care and she’s been under care for about six years. It’s been a slow uphill climb. She’s back at work. She’s walking a mile or two every day. It’s just completely changed her life. Upper Cervical, it’s not like we just clear people and all their problems just go away. Our job is to clear the central nervous system of
the interference and give the body its best opportunity to heal and repair. You’ll see a variety of responses, and of course there are other factors.
Can you touch on what innate intelligence is really quick?
All of us know that if we cut ourselves, that we are not the ones that think about that tissue healing. It does it automatically. If we go to bed at night, we don’t educatedly, through our thinking brain, make our heart work, we don’t make our breathing work, we don’t keep our blood pH at seven or whatever it’s supposed to be, we don’t keep our blood pressure at a certain rate. There’s something, I like to quote the originator of all this, “Who or what is it that beats your heart? Who or what is it that transfers the oxygen from your blood cells to your tissues? Who or what is it that heals a cut, a broken bone?” There’s some inherent wisdom that exists inside of all of us. “Who or what is it that takes a sperm and an egg and turns it into a human being?” The scientific man would say, “It’s the DNA.” There’s got to be something that’s running the show.
When I was in chiropractic college, Dr. Chalhub from Orange County came in and he wrote up on the whiteboard, “We don’t see the world as it is. We see it as we are.” That was the name of the topic of the speech, which stuck with me forever. Let that sink in and you’ll start understanding exactly what that means. He told this story, he was making the case for an intelligence in this universe, and this also stuck with me forever. He said, “Imagine you are the only person on the beach and you were digging in the sand and you pulled a Rolex out of the sand and you somehow were able to take it apart. Inside, you saw these gears that fit perfectly. You saw that as you turned the gears, that some of them turned faster based on their diameter and others moved slower. There were a couple of hands that moved at a constant rate depending on how fast you turned those wheels.” His point was, if you knew nothing of who made that, you would have come to a conclusion that something intelligent did it, which obviously is man.
If you extrapolate the same idea, I mean for crying out loud, I remember being in cadaver lab and looking in the body and then taking Histology and looking at the moving parts of one cell and then later on realizing that every cell in your body has over 200,000 chemical reactions every second. We have trillions of cells in the body. Think about this, 200,000 chemical reactions in trillions of cells, all coordinated by the brain and spinal cord and innate intelligence. There’s something that’s intelligent that created that. There’s something that’s intelligent that flows through our nervous system that runs the show. Regardless of whether you want to acknowledge it or not, it’s there working for you, whether you go to an Upper Cervical doctor or not, doing his best for you to heal, adapt, repair and do whatever it can while you’re living.
I find B.J. Palmer is the most fascinating guy I’ve ever read about. His books are unreal. Nobody has ever heard of him. Who is BJ to you?
If it wasn’t for B.J., neither you nor I would be sitting here with our atlas in adjustment feeling the way we did, number one. So many people have made the point, why in the hell hasn’t there been a biographical sketch movie on B.J. Palmer? Because when you understand what that man has accomplished in one lifetime, it’s truly staggering. He wrote 41 volumes of books. He established the largest printing press. He was the first to have a radio station east of the Mississippi. He traveled the world, I believe, seven times. He had the largest collection of ivory chest. It just goes on and on. He was an expert in so many different areas. He was a true genius with no formal education.
If anybody ever has any downtime to do any reading, the Green Books will blow your mind.
Some people find them repetitive, but that’s just because they don’t get it.
Drew, where are you located?
I am in Southern California. I have two practices. One is in Koreatown, which is west of downtown LA, probably about ten minutes. My other office is south of LAX and Carson, about ten minutes south of LAX. Been practicing sixteen years and it’s been a hell of a ride, seeing people like you get better. That’s what it’s all about.
Yes, DrDrewHall.com. People are searching for answers so we’ve written 161 blogs on different conditions and research related to how the upper neck is involved in all these different conditions.
This podcast is called Expect Miracles. It’s strictly from walking around the corner and seeing “Expect Miracles” on that door from the very first visit I walked into your office. That changed my life completely.
You can thank B.J. Palmer for that because he’s the one that put that epigram up there.
Thank you, Drew, for all that you do. Thanks for coming on.