Updated: May 5
Hello everyone and welcome to my third post. I’m beginning with a small back story about who I am so people will have a better understanding of the person writing. Without further adieu…I am Stephen Knoyer and grew up in West Virginia. Take a moment, I’m sure you will need to let that sink in. I grew up in the northern panhandle of WV in a city called Wheeling. There are usually three reasons why people have heard of it: one, they are traveling west and drive through on Interstate 70; two, they gamble and visit the dog track; three, they have family who lived close to the area. Fun fact: Dean Martin grew up in Steubenville, OH, which is 15 minutes north of Wheeling. No one else is famous from where I grew up.
My undergraduate degree is from West Liberty State College, which no longer exists. At least not as that name since the school is now West Liberty University. I was the last class to graduate with the former name. I then went to New York Chiropractic College (NYCC) and graduated in 2012. I don’t recommend going from undergraduate to graduate studies with just five weeks between. Looking back, I would say a semester off is best. My first job was in Annandale, VA. After two-and-a-half years, I moved on to cover a practice in Gaithersburg, MD, and If anyone knows the real story about that place then you are aware that is the nicest way of saying that. I then spent 4.5 years working in Columbia, MD, before realizing it was time to open my own place. Still awake?
On to my view on Chiropractic medicine. When it comes to the wild and crazy world of chiropractic, I was influenced by Motion Palpation Institute (MPI) combined with the best mentor you could ask for. MPI was pivotal in giving me an understanding that there is more to this profession than manipulation of joints. The company introduced me to motion assessment, gait analysis, dry needling, soft tissue manipulation, functional assessments, Mcgill method, Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization, neurodynamics, rehabilitation and, most importantly, how to bring these all together for practice. Without these seminars, I would have been a very different practitioner.
In my final year at NYCC, I was selected to go to the Canadaigua and Rochester Veterans Affairs health centers. This is where I met my mentor, Paul Dougherty. Paul challenged everything I knew, reinforced my knowledge from school and taught me to read research to become a competent provider for the real world. While at Veterans Affairs, I had to treat very difficult, and far-ranging patients including those suffering from strokes, Vietnam veterans with complications from agent orange, patients with Parkinson's disease tremors, dementia sufferers and many experiencing PTSD. I spent six months at one Veterans Affairs facility and three months at the other, working four days a week, 10-13 hour shifts while being a teaching assistance on the Monday off. Not sure why I agreed to all the hours but I don’t regret the opportunity.
After graduation, I interviewed at different practices along the east coast. I was in VA, MD, ME, CT, DE and PA. I think that covers them all. It was surprising how different providers practiced. The further north I went, the more philosophically-based the practices were, utilizing treatment plans, decompression tables, x-ray scare tactics, large payments up front and mandatory visits. It was not what I was looking for. I took the position in Annandale as an independent contractor and the only problem was physical therapy was not in the scope of chiropractic in Virginia. I looked for opportunities in Maryland because the scope of practice included physical therapy, allowing me to practice how I wanted.
Since opening my own practice, I continue to move forward. I have goals that span years, believing it is better to move forward slowly than to stay in the same place. An instructor told me the advanced techniques are only multiple basic techniques at the same time. It took a few years to understand and apply the concept clinically. I later read an article talking about the difference between junior and master clinicians that mentioned the moment you realize how much you don’t know, is the moment you begin to start learning mastery. The Dunning–Kruger effect below illustrates this concept nicely.