When there is an impending diagnosis looming around the corner for you, it can feel like the world is ending and we can’t help but lose hope. Dr. Daniel Judge, the owner of Dynamic Life Chiropractic, found a way to get his health back. Hearing that he might have multiple sclerosis, Dr. Dan was told to check out Blair Upper Cervical. Since then, his life changed—so much so that he became a Blair upper cervical chiropractor. In this episode, he sits down with Dr. Kevin Peca to share with us his story and how he is doing now amidst the current pandemic. He also talks about how he develops relationships with patients and helping them get their health back. Join this conversation and seek inspiration in transforming your health through Blair. —
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Transforming Your Health With Blair Upper Cervical With Dr. Dan Judge
If you are enjoying the show, please hit the subscribe button for weekly episodes and leave us a review. It helps spread our message. On the show, we have such an amazing guest, Dr. Dan Judge out of Birmingham, Michigan. His life was completely saved and transformed through Blair upper cervical chiropractic. During his last year of chiropractic school, he was having some frightening vision issues. All his tests were coming back negative, MRIs, CAT scans, bloodwork. His symptoms were similar to multiple sclerosis. A doctor even told him he might have that. He landed in an upper cervical office and it completely gave him his life back, his vision improved again. The looming diagnosis of multiple sclerosis was not hanging over him anymore. His health was restored and it had such a powerful effect on him that he became Blair upper cervical chiropractor.
Now he is helping so many people get their health back through upper cervical chiropractic. I truly believe that’s one of the reasons why Dr. Judge is such an amazing Upper Cervical Chiropractor. When you have something like that happen to you, you have such a passion to get other people better and a strong belief in what you do that he gets such great results in his practice. He has been doing it for a very long time. I learned a lot sitting down and having a conversation with him. It’s always a pleasure of mine to sit down with another Blair doctor who has been doing it for a while and very talented in what they do. I love picking their brain. He has gotten so many people better. It was such a pleasure to have him on the show. Without further ado, please welcome, Dr. Dan Judge.
We have a very special guest, Dr. Dan Judge. He is a Blair Doctor out of Birmingham, Michigan. I’m very excited to have him on the show. He has been doing Blair for a number of years now. He is very good at what he does and passionate about it. It’s an honor to have him on the show. Doc, how are you?
I’m great, Kevin. Thanks so much for having me. I look forward to the conversation.
Doc, I’m always curious about how people got into upper cervical chiropractic. As you know, there are not a lot of doctors doing it. I have great respect for anybody that has been doing it for several years. At times it can be challenging, but also very rewarding. I would like to know how you’ve got into upper cervical chiropractic or even chiropractic.
It’s a good story. I’ve got into chiropractic from the time I was 12 or 13. I have scoliosis. I started seeing a chiropractor, which helped a lot. I would see my chiropractor periodically, growing up and playing sports into college. My undergrad degree is in Psychology. That is a great background. I found it fascinating and it wasn’t until the third year that I realized as fascinating as this is, I don’t see myself doing it as a career. I had developed an interest in health. I was into exercising and nutrition. I was looking for something health-related. My mom especially, my family has always been more holistically minded. I had that input growing up. I have been seeing a chiropractor so that was a natural fit.
I knew nothing about the upper cervical. The approach that I was under was called applied kinesiology, which your readers might not be too familiar with it but it’s a good approach. It is very interesting. I won’t take the time to explain it but it definitely helped me a lot. In my head, that is what I wanted to do. I went into chiropractic school. An interesting thing can happen in school. You learn a lot that you don’t know. You also are practicing with each other a lot. I ran into a situation of too many cooks in the kitchen and getting a lot of adjusting, more than I needed. I began to feel pretty shitty. I would get adjusted by friends three times a week and the other four days of the week, I would be feeling uncomfortable and wanting to crack my own neck.
I went to Logan, which is not an upper cervically oriented school. I had a few friends in class who were into upper cervical. I remember this transition from the first trimester started school, being annoyed with them like, “What are you guys talking about? You can adjust the neck and that will help other things,” but that doesn’t make any sense. When we were into neurology, I could start to understand why that would work. By the time I was 3/4 of the way through school, I was uncomfortable and feeling like I needed to try something different. I tried an upper cervical doctor in the area. It was pretty amazing to get one neck adjustment and I’m like, “That is so much less than my previous experience,” but then to feel over the next couple of days that my whole back felt better, I didn’t feel like I need to crack my neck or my back. I was like, “This is really working.”
When you come back, you don’t need to do much either. It’s like a complete 180 to what you are used to.
On an intellectual level, it had started to make sense and then experientially, it sold me how I felt. How I ended up in Blair is a little bit beyond that. I started developing optic neuritis and visual issues. The upper cervical care that I had was very heartfelt and genuine but I wouldn’t say it was as precise as Blair. I started developing these problems six months before graduating from chiropractic school. I saw a neurologist and they said, “Possibly this is multiple sclerosis developing.” It was a scary time. One of my friends had been saying, “If you like upper cervical, you have to check out Blair because it takes all the asymmetries into account and it’s even more precise.”
I drove up to Palmer. I went to a weekend seminar with Dr. Hubbard and Dr. Forest. Dr. Michael Lenarz happened to be there, co-teaching or helping assist the teaching and he was looking for associates. I said, “It wasn’t in my plan to go to Washington State.” I’m from Michigan. I was planning on going back to Michigan. My wife is from Michigan, too. I thought this is a great opportunity to both learn from a good doctor and selfishly try and get fixed. I thought maybe that with upper cervical, will help.
** For those who are wondering who Dr. Lenarz is. He is definitely considered one of the best to possibly ever do it. Not a bad mentor and somebody to learn under.**
He was a great mentor. When I’ve got out there and got Blair X-rays and gotten under his care, my vision improved about 50% within the first two weeks. It took about three months before it was 100% resolved. By the time I’ve got out there, it had been going on 9 or 10 months that I have been having those vision problems. I feel pretty confident it wasn’t self-resolving without that intervention.
Did you have a Blair adjustment before you accepted the position?
I did not.
You pretty much went out there on faith and that it was going to definitely help you out and learn. That is pretty amazing. What was it like learning from Dr. Lenarz and practicing in Washington State and how long were you out there for?
It was a great experience learning from Dr. Lenarz. I was out there for a year and a half or so. My wife and I are from Michigan. She was pregnant with our first daughter when we went out there. When we were making the contract with Lenarz, we said, “As much as I want to come up there and learn, we want to be back in Michigan eventually.” We had a one-year plan of going out there, filling a gap for him. It ended up being great because it was fun to live in Washington for a while. It’s a beautiful state. It’s nice to have the mountains and the Puget Sound. We had a great time, adventuring out there. We have always lived in cities. Lenarz practice at the time, at least, was up in the foothills of the cascades in a little logging town called Sedro-Woolley. It was beautiful and the smallest place we had ever lived. We were like right out in the farmland.
That was a neat experience. I learned a lot from him about Blair and running a practice. That is one of the things he has known for is helping people to learn how to run a practice. I’ve got a lot of good lessons from him and then ended up partnering with him when I moved back to Michigan. We worked so well together that he offered to help me start out. He was the original owner of my practice and I was an employee of his. Even though I was many states away in Michigan, I bought the practice out from him a few years after that. It was a great experience. We brought on an associate, Dr. Chris Perkins. We opened a satellite office to my office in Michigan. Dr. Lenarz and I were co-owners of that office for about five years before we sold that one to Dr. Perkins.
What was it like going back to Michigan, starting up a practice, being where you wanted to be and practicing Blair?
It was good. It was a little stressful starting a practice but it was so great having the experience with Dr. Lenarz ahead of time. When I was working out there, he had two offices. Initially, I was working in his office and then I ended up transitioning to running the second office for about 8 or 9 months while I was out there. I had the experience of running an office. It allowed me the skills in a scalable way. At first, I could focus on the doctor aspect, patient communication, getting out in the community and marketing myself. After 4 or 5 months of doing that, then I had the opportunity to add on the skill of managing an office. When I moved to Michigan, I added on more skills from backend ownership, payroll. It’s a lot to do when you run a practice, as you know. At least for me, it worked out well to be able to learn some of those things incrementally rather than all at once.
I recommend anybody that is doing upper cervical to try not to at least jump right into it no matter how ready you feel you are. It’s so great to be in a situation that you were in with Dr. Lenarz. I had the opportunity to learn under Dr. Banitch, for about ten months where we see a lot of difficult neurological cases. I think the first patient I ever had the whole left side of her body was numb. If you draw a line down her body, she could not feel the left side. I was in my office by myself without any help. I ran right to Dr. Banitch, I was like, “What do we do here? What’s going on?” It was so helpful to have that second pair of eyes looking at everything with all that experience behind it. She helped me out tremendously, taught me how to take care of people, to run a business. Even if you want to run your own practice, I highly recommend taking that step back learning from somebody, it helps out so much.
I know people who have done it, starting out on their own, have been successful and that has worked for them. It’s so helpful to have that mentor figure right there where you can go ask them, “Can you look at these X-rays?” Lenarz did a lot of adjustment coaching so that was good especially coming into Blair, near the end of school. It was helpful for me to have that mentorship in my adjusting skills with Blair as well. It helped me open the practice quickly. I did a lot of marketing ahead of time and did spinal screenings.
I went door-to-door in January and February in Michigan, which was pretty cold. I would go knocking around the neighborhood, saying, “I’m a new chiropractor in town. I wanted to introduce myself and we are going to have an open house. I would like to invite you.” It was intimidating at first but people were generally pretty welcoming. A funny story was about one woman that I knocked on her door, she said, “I was just looking for a chiropractor for my migraine. Do you specialize in the upper neck and migraine?” She is still a patient to this day many years later. One day, I was trying to write someone’s name down and I realized my pen was frozen. I thought, “Maybe now is the day that I hang it up just do something else now.” Persevering through some of those situations helps you get prepared for some of the challenges that come up in practice.”
It’s funny too, because a lot of doctors that started their practices many years ago say, they went door-to-door, knocking on doors, giving out cards and very successful at it. You don’t see too much of that going on now with the internet and everything. Especially kids growing up now, they will have no idea what door-to-door selling would ever be like.
It’s a different experience now in a lot of ways. It might be easier and nicer to mark it online. It’s different. Things evolve.
It’s definitely more intimate getting that face-to-face contact. I think that’s nice.
I did a lot of spinal screening initially and I found that it can be good to get that face-to-face connection with people. It’s very time-consuming when you are starting. Somebody will strike out and say, “I don’t have money but I have time.” That was something I could put in a lot of hours and it would make a difference.
That helps you hone in on your craft, the screenings, the door-to-door trying to recruit patients because you have to know what you are talking about. It helps you communicate your message well, as opposed to holding up a camera and be like, “I’m not going to use that take.” You have to be sharp and it helps you communicate your message nicely. It’s definitely some great value in that.
It was a good learning experience. Genuineness comes across, too. I found that what worked best for me was being able to have a genuine conversation with people as far as having people meet me and then want to come into the office. I think the more genuine I was, the more impactful that would be, which makes a lot of sense.
Dr. Judge, being that you went door-to-door and how things are now, they have changed a little bit, what are you doing for marketing? Obviously, the best way to get people in the door is to get great results in your practice and having them spread the message for you. What else do you do? I’m curious because you have had that experience of going door-to-door and now things have changed. What are you implementing?
Thankfully, I’m not putting any direct focus on marketing at this point for the last few years or so. We have had enough referrals. That is our marketing in patient care and professional connections. I have been able to learn from some people who are great at developing those professional networks. I have certainly spent time doing that. It’s great for patients and marketing. I have several different professions that I refer to regularly and that referred to me regularly.
Those are valuable relationships for helping your patients get the best results when you know good practitioners to refer out to. When they know that they can trust you with the upper neck, they are going to give regular referrals because they are seeing the same demographic of patients who need help. We have like a type of mild fast work acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, massage therapists, a couple of different types of MDs where you develop a good relationship with those providers then that’s going to be an ongoing source of referrals on top of your patients. The great thing about once you have those relationships is that then the marketing is getting good results. You take care of their patients in a good way, and then they are going to want to refer more to you. I don’t have a marketing plan other than patient care.
A lot of people these days you see have so much going on. It’s almost like you need a team to help you out. There are some times where we can get the patient 60% and 70% better, and then it plateaus a little bit. If you put your ego aside and say, “I think this person could help you out. We are doing great here but this person can get you back up to that 95% and 100% level that you want to be at,” then you refer them over to them. They get much better and everybody is happy. It’s a win for everybody.
That patient is going to remember you as the one who helped connect them. They will often refer to you when they have a referral. Even if you were only one part of solving their healthcare puzzle, they remember that you were the one who connected them with XYZ, so they trust you as someone who’s going to put the patient’s best interests first.
Doc, what do you think it takes to be a great Blair doctor? What are some key aspects for you?
Key aspects for me are attention to detail has got to be high up there. You want to make sure that you are doing the right thing for the patient. Subtle things on X-ray or patient examination can change what you do. Honing your craft, making sure you are taking X-rays well, got your right contact point on your adjustments, all the little details which are easy to start missing over time. You get busy in practice. You get used to what you are doing. You start slipping. We have this term slipping and checking. That’s where talking with other doctors, going to seminars. Ongoing education can help keep you on your toes rather than being in practice by yourself where you can fall into patterns where you are not doing everything that you should be doing anymore. A caring attitude I think is also important. That is probably for any successful doctor. It’s being there for the right reasons.
Any profession can see this and we see it, certainly in chiropractic where you have some people who are there more to make money and patient outcome is almost an afterthought. It’s more about, “How much volume of service am I doing? How many services am I providing? What is the dollar value?” That is important for a business. I think if you put the patient results and patient care first, the money will start taking care of itself. You are going to get those referrals. You are going to get those lifelong patients. It’s going to be a lot less work actually over time. When you have a money-first attitude, people feel that and they leave. You need that ongoing marketing effort going on all the time. Not to say that there can’t be good, honest reasons to always have a marketing effort, especially if you are trying to keep growing your brand, bring on more doctors. When your heart is in the right place, that goes a long way toward making the financials square up properly as well.
Doc, what are some of the patients’ cases you see in your office that you have been able to help with?
The nice thing about the upper cervical is that there are so many. I don’t say that in a bragging way because I know that every upper cervical doctor is going to say that, too. I love the name of your show, Expect Miracles and we are fortunate to see a lot of fantastic results in our offices. In a way after a lot of years, you can lose track or forget how impactful that is for the person that you are working with. It’s more common for you to see some results like that and certainly not every case is a miraculous result. I don’t want it to make it sound like that. There are a lot of difficult cases and reasons that I partnered with those other doctors. If I run into challenges with a patient where someone else’s approach is going to help them, I will try to think of a few that stand out to me.
Way back early on in practice, this was still in Washington, it was the case that I had where hearing improved dramatically. She had come in for headaches, migraines, neck pain, and numbness and tingling. After the first adjustment, she came back and said, “Can this affect your hearing?” I was like, “Crap, what did I do?” I was hesitant, “Yes, they do.” Is this going to be a good story or a bad story? She said, “I didn’t tell you this when I came in but I have had 80% hearing loss in my right ear that I think I’m hearing better after that adjustment.” She ended up going to get it checked out and it had reduced from 80% to 20%. That was cool.
I have had a few cyclic vomiting cases too, which was an interesting one for me. I know I have told this story before for one of the upper cervical movies that were being made, with just interviews of doctors but it’s such a good story. I can’t not tell it again. This was the first couple of years of being in practice here in my office in Birmingham, a young woman, 29 and her mom came in. The woman had been having cyclic vomiting during her menstrual cycle, ever since she was twelve. Ever since she hit puberty, she would vomit literally 10 to 15 times an hour. It was crazy. No one could figure it out. She had had a lot of care. She was on Medicare disability at the time that she came in to see me. She had racked up about $2 million of care on Medicare. She had exploratory surgeries, all sorts of hormone replacements, any type of care you can think of. It was so bad for her that every month, she would be in the hospital for a few days getting IVs because she couldn’t keep anything down. She hadn’t been able to hold a job or go to school consistently.
When they came in, I said, “I don’t know if I can help this but it’s worth trying. Let’s see if you have a subluxation. Let’s see if your neck is misaligned.” She had a significant misalignment of her atlas and her mom told me this cringe-worthy story. She was close to the baby coming when she went into the hospital and the doctor wasn’t there yet. The nurse told her to resist and she actually put her hand to help stop the baby from coming out until the doctor got there to deliver the baby.
My thought was, “There are probably some compression that happened at the time of birth that didn’t present as a notable symptom until she started having her menstrual cycle. This was one of those miracle cases. She got her first adjustment and then we waited until she had her next cycle. She didn’t have vomiting or a headache right away. It stunned me and them. For the next year, she had a few relapses where she had some symptoms again but it was life-changing for her to have her head on straight. Those kinds of stories will keep you going until you are 80.
It doesn’t get old and definitely the reason why a lot of us do it, which is great. Dr. Judge, towards the end of every show, I like to ask everybody, what is one piece of advice that has resonated with you that you would like to give the audience? It could be absolutely anything.
I would say take time to take care of yourself. That is important. I certainly have workaholic tendencies. When I first started my practice, I am sure I worked 80 to 100 hours a week seeing patients, six days a week and marketing. The first summer that I was in practice, probably 3 or 4 months, I did seven days marketing, seeing patients. At some point, it started to catch up to me and exacerbated some gut health issues I had. I needed to, for my own health, have a more balanced schedule. It has been a lot better for me. It’s good to share the lessons you learn the hard way. Make sure to take time for yourself. Make sure you are taking care of yourself. You can’t help anyone else if you are not in a good place and not healthy yourself. The upper cervical is great as it is. It doesn’t fix everything and solves all the problems. Enough sleep, exercise, healthy diet and gut, those are all such critical things and healthy relationships with the people you love. You have to start there, and then you can help others.
You can’t pour from an empty glass there. Dr. Judge, where can people find you guys online and make appointments with your practice?
You can find us on our website, DynamicLifeChiropractic.com. We are on Facebook also, DL Chiro. I don’t have a Twitter account and Instagram. I’m not the most tech-savvy in internet marketing but you can find us if you dig. We are there.
Doc, thank you so much for coming on. I enjoyed this episode and would love to have you back on anytime.
Thank you so much, Dr. Pecca. I appreciate it. I appreciate you hosting this show. It’s great to listen to the other ones too. I always learn something interesting and valuable.
Thank you so much.
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