According to the U.S. Labor Department Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American worker stays with an employer for four years.
Tami Wall-Feyen, D.C., has had the same job since July 1988, one month after she graduated from chiropractic school.
Wall-Feyen is one of the owners of and one of the four doctors at Chiropractic Associates of Platteville.
Wall-Feyen, a native of Seneca, went to Winona State University after graduating from high school intending on a nursing degree.
“I always knew I’d end up in some form of health care, and I always liked the concept of natural and holistic, and I like the fact it’s drug-free,” said Wall-Feyen. “It’s something hands-on, and I get to help all ages, infants to elderly.
“Patients are aware that the body has the innate ability to heal itself. After all these years, I’m amazed every day — it’s pretty amazing what the human body can do to heal itself.”
Wall-Feyen’s job involves treatment and education.
“We help to educate our patients; we help to inform them of ergonomics, of posture, of the balance of diet, rest and exercise,” she said. “It’s helping our patients make informed decisions on their health and health care.”
For instance: “Sitting is the worst thing for you,” she said. “It’s the hardest because not all chairs are supportive in the way they should be.”
Wall-Feyen’s career began one year after the state Legislature passed a law to require that health insurance cover chiropractic care. Fifty years earlier, chiropractors were jailed for practicing medicine without a license.
“To be reimbursed for our services was huge,” she said. “We live in an area where people hugely utilize chiropractic care, and it’s wonderful.”
As a result of insurance coverage, Wall-Feyen said chiropractors and other health care providers can “co-manage patients, and we share the patient very well. We have a lot of wonderful back-and-forth, a great working relationship.
“If we can’t help the patient, we get them into that proper portal of health care — if we can’t help them, we get them to somebody who can help them.”
The other trend that has helped grow chiropractic is interest in nontraditional medicine.
“I think it’s going to continue to grow,” said Wall-Feyen. “People are looking for alternative care. If this situation doesn’t require surgery, they may look for alternatives. People are definitely not looking to grab a prescription if they don’t have to — they’re coming to a chiropractor to get their problems fixed … getting everything lined up to help your body’s defenses work better.
“It’s a very viable alternative for health care. It can’t fix everything, but it can improve a person’s overall health, and improve their quality of living.”
Wall-Feyen’s patient base — the clinic sees more than 100 patients per day — includes people with work-based injuries, headaches, pregnancy-caused back pain, arthritis and other acute and chronic medical conditions. Chiropractic care has branched off into pediatric, sports medicine and nutrition specialties.
“They do touch your heart, and they shape your life forever — those infants and teenagers, and everybody in the middle, and elderly,” said Wall-Feyen of her patients. “They’ve influenced me; I have been able to become a better listener. I’ve established friendships that I can’t imagine not having in my life.”
Wall-Feyen has had mothers bring their new babies from the hospital for adjustments after difficult births. She also has patients in their 90s.
“You’re not going to adjust a 90-year-old body the same as you do an infant,” she said. “It’s an ever-changing presentation — even if two people come in with headaches, you won’t treat them the same.
“We have a very different rapport with our patients because it’s hands-on. It’s professional, but it’s also personal; we have a lot of patients who become friends.”
Because health care is a business, Wall-Feyen and the clinic’s other doctors spend time each day with documentation and records, as well as other business aspects of the clinic. Chiropractic Associates went to electronic medical records in September 2013.
“After all these years, chiropractic makes me very enthused,” she said, “and I just love going to work each day, because behind the door there’s a challenge, and a person that needs my help.”