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Inspiring Conversations with Drs. Ryan and Andrea Schrock of Life Alive Chiropractic

Today we’d like to introduce you to Drs. Ryan and Andrea Schrock.

Drs. Schrock, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Both Dr. Ryan and I have experienced transformational healing through chiropractic care that we didn’t even know was possible while growing up. Our healing stories are what propelled us to do what we do and ultimately find each other and get married.

Dr. Andrea’s Story:

When I was a child, I was in and out of doctor’s offices from very early on with pneumonia, asthma attacks, and allergies. I remember going across the street to the doctor every year for nebulizer treatments and never being given any hope of things changing. I could count on being home from school for a week in the winter when I got a cold and it then went to my chest and the next thing I knew I was loaded up with steroids to overcome an asthma attack. This was my life.

When I graduated from college, I took a job that moved me around the country. By the age of 29, I had moved from Wisconsin to Colorado Springs to Los Angeles to Miami to Charlotte within six years. I was in sales and every year or two they’d move me to a different location for a new role. It was exciting, exhausting, adventurous, and stressful all at the same time.

When I was in Charlotte, I was in an incredibly stressful role and worked 7 days a week for months. The yearning to settle down, meet someone and start a family was heavy on my mind, but that was very difficult with my lifestyle and all the stress I was under. Then suddenly, what seemed like out of nowhere, my GI tract shut down and I couldn’t poop for 8 months.

This is where I get a deer in the headlights look – are all kinds of thoughts swirling through your mind? You did not hear that wrong – I couldn’t go #2 for 8 MONTHS. I know it sounds CRAZY, but you know that no woman would ever make up a story like this and put it out for the world to hear because it is embarrassing to talk about!

At this point, I was beyond miserable. I tried all kinds of things to alleviate constipation and nothing seemed to work. Most people, in this case, would be going from doctor to doctor to doctor, but since I did that my whole childhood growing up being sick all the time, by this point I was tired of it and knew deep down that something must be CAUSING this and there must be SOMETHING I could do that wasn’t resorting to a drug or a surgery – I absolutely did not want to go that route that anymore.

It seemed hopeless going through this for so long, but suddenly there was a ray of hope. I was flying from Charlotte to Chicago to Madison to interview for a job with my family’s business (I NEEDED to quit my toxic job) and while connecting in O’Hare, I ran into my lifelong friend, Holly, at my gate.

Holly was a chiropractor and happened to also live in Charlotte at the time – she was on her way home to visit family as well. When we got back to Charlotte, her chiropractor boyfriend (now husband), Kyle, asked me if I wanted to get adjusted. Quickly he pointed out some serious misalignments in my spine and that really concerned me.

A week later, I was lying on the couch, absolutely miserable, and something told me to ask Holly if she could help me. I didn’t really know anything about chiropractic, but I knew she lived this really healthy, holistic lifestyle, and that’s what I wanted for myself.

The next thing I knew, I was in her office getting examined. She found some really glaring issues with my spine and nervous system and sat me down and then explained to me something that changed my life forever. She explained how the brain sends signals down the spinal cord and out the nerves to my organs, tissues, and cells, and then messages go back from the organs, tissues, and cells, over the nerves, and up the spinal cord to the brain.

Then she showed me how those messages can get interfered with if there are misalignments in the spine called “subluxation”. Everything she shared with me that day from that moment resonated with me – I couldn’t believe no one had ever told me this before or shared how THIS could actually be why I was having all the issues I’d been having.

I started care with her immediately, and two months later my GI tract was functioning normally again. And not only that but my asthma and allergies I’d had for 30 years were completely resolved. I haven’t taken medication in about nine years.

This was life-changing for me. Beating on my heart day after day was that “everyone deserves to know this” – so much so, that I quit my new job and went back to school to be a chiropractor so I could share it far and wide. I met my husband while I was at Life University in Atlanta – he had already graduated from chiropractic school and was practicing in the area.

Dr. Ryan’s Story:

I was a healthy and happy child. My friends and I played all day until the streetlights would come on, and then it was time to go home. Nothing ever kept me from playing until one day at 12 years old when I fell face-first roller-skating (yea, I was an 80’s kid) and smacked my head really hard on the concrete garage floor. Everything in my life changed in that one second, for the worse.

Instead of my only fight being to race the sun home as the streetlight went on, I started getting persistent and worsening migraine headaches over the next 12 years, which meant missed playdates, school, and ultimately being heavily medicated in a dark room. I went from being active, strong, and free, to feeling completely alone, lying in a dark room for several hours and sleeping off the pain and medication that would “knock me out.”

If you have ever had migraine headaches, you know “that feeling” that starts to happen, the one that makes you anxious, depressed, and worried about getting into a safe, quiet place before it takes over. This injury to my head and neck continued to evolve into worsening migraine headaches, tingly sensations in my body, asthma, and depression at one point in my teens. I eventually learned how to just “live with it” – I didn’t feel like I had any other option.

When I was 23, I felt completely defeated after getting in a 5-mph fender bender, because my whole body locked up and I couldn’t move my head and neck without turning my entire body. I went on a search through the only option I knew, the medical system. My mom was a nurse practitioner, so habitually I migrated to prescribed medications and physical therapy, but this couldn’t help me this time.

The reality I know now that I didn’t back then is that modern medicine does not help or heal chronic dysfunction, other than numbing the pain. After searching for answers for months in a system that was not equipped to help me, God inserted a man in my life that noticed that something was “off” about my neck – he was a chiropractor named Dr. Pete Lopat, and he worked out every day at the gym I managed.

After greeting him, he noticed something different about me and very directly asked, “what’s wrong with your neck? I told him about the accident, how miserable I was, and how I desperately wanted to get back to exercising, and he promptly stated, “Ryan, you have a physical problem, you need a physical solution, I can help you, come over to my clinic at 2:30 pm.” One man, in one moment, spoke truth to me that I hadn’t considered – there’s another choice: chiropractic.

Up to that point in my life, I had never even heard of chiropractic. I called my mom SO excited with hope, and she said, “oh, I’m not sure about that, it’s risky, I think they can be dangerous.” Well, praise God Dr. Pete’s confidence won me over and I didn’t listen to my mom this time, because I got my life back in a way I never could have imagined. I am so grateful for that moment in my life – it was truly a coming-of-age moment for me.

After several months of care, not only was full range of motion in my neck restored, but in a short amount of time, I felt better, returned to exercise, and my migraines and asthma I had had since I was 12 years old were gone. Dr. Lopat got to the root of why my health started to fail in the first place – he was the one – and the only one – that correlated the roller-skating accident to irritation and interference in my nervous system, which ultimately was creating my headaches and asthma.

My spine and nervous system were so irritated and had healed incorrectly from the trauma, creating a misaligned curvature in my neck. Through chiropractic, which worked with my body’s own ability to heal, along with time and repetition, I started to heal and really recover and feel like a new man again. He was providing the physical solution to the physical problem I had – it was that simple.

Just in case you thought there was a typo, you read it right, my migraines and asthma of 12 years were replaced with vibrant health. That was in my early 20’s. This summer, at 38, I just ran two 50-mile races in the Colorado mountains within a month of each other. I am living my best active life, and I continue to be a fighter for choice. Chiropractic has touched every area of my life, from physical to spiritual, it was the choice that made all the difference.

I didn’t know I had a choice, and I suffered for years after hitting my head, and months after getting in an accident that seemed like “nothing.” We’d love to help you, and if nothing else, we want you to know you have a CHOICE. I am grateful Dr. Pete was bold enough to speak up, and say, you have a choice, there is another way, and that way of natural healing has been a road of blessings in the challenges, changes, and triumphs of my life.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We were only 5 months into practice when March of 2020 arrived, so that was a pretty big bump in the road early on. Being in the infancy period of our business and knowing how vulnerable small businesses are in the early years, yet not knowing what was going to happen in the world, it was stressful! We focused our hearts on working really hard and serving the people by loving up on everyone that came through our doors, and in the meantime, trusting that God would take care of us as we all walked through this time.

We know how powerful and imperative chiropractic is for taking stress off the nervous system – something EVERYONE needed at that time, so we shared our message with everyone we could. In a world where the messaging was so focused on fear and sick care, we wanted people to hear a message about hope, health, healing, and how you can empower yourself with your health. The hardest part was that some people didn’t want to hear that message, but we focused on helping those who wanted what we had.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Having had our own lives transformed by chiropractic and being given the opportunity to have life in our years (after living for years with sickness and no hope), we named our practice “Life Alive Chiropractic” because we want our practice members to experience living life truly alive – as we do!

Getting to do the things that matter to you – whether it’s getting on the floor to play with your kids or taking them for a run in the stroller, climbing a 14er, running an ultra marathon, traveling the world, or being fully present with your family and friends – your profiting from life’s experiences is what matters to us. That’s what life is all about… it shouldn’t have to be spent focusing on sickness and disease.

For this reason we specialize in drug-free pediatric, prenatal, and family healthcare, because the pathway to great health begins from day one (birth). Our most unique focus is pediatric neurological restoration, which is designed specifically for kids struggling with challenges related to prenatal distress, birth intervention and trauma, traumatic brain injuries, autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, and chronic digestive or immune challenges.

While stress early and often is the biggest culprit in kids who are struggling, we see that children don’t usually “grow out” of early issues such as colic and ear infections, but rather grow into other challenges such as asthma, allergies, and deficient immune systems. The wait-and-watch method is overused and we are all about taking action because kids’ (and their families’) lives are on the line!

A challenge facing most families looking to help their children heal is that they are simply overwhelmed. What we do differently – and you won’t find elsewhere – is that we focus on the “whole” child through accessing their nervous system, which controls all the functions in their body. We simplify the process by tracking progress on our objectively designed nervous system scans. We can communicate to parents in plain language and adapt the care as the child starts to heal and experience improved sleep, digestion, balance, movement, and immune function.

Once we see these “basic” neurological functions get back online, we can then get to work on “advanced” functions such as sensory processing, emotional regulation, social development, speech, and cognition – most of sensory and cognitive deficits are preceded by motor development issues. This also boosts the likelihood that other therapies will be successful – a win-win!

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
Being a family, prenatal, and pediatric chiropractic practice, people we LOVE to collaborate with are birth professionals like midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, pelvic floor therapists, prenatal massage therapists, and others working in the birthing world.

The reason we care so much about birth is that birth and the prenatal period are when the first interference occurs in a baby’s spine and nervous system, and it’s imperative to the health of a child that we minimize intervention in the birth process (like c-section, vacuum extraction, forceps, pulling on the baby, etc.).

The support of birth professionals who value this as well can be a great way to minimize intervention at birth. We have found that these interventions put great distress on the most vulnerable part of a baby – the head and neck, and lead to a cascade of issues down the road.

Sometimes they are necessary and used in emergent situations, however, they are used far too often when they could have been avoided. We are concerned with setting people up with the BEST chance to have a healthy life from the get-go, so working with these providers for mom and baby is a great way to achieve this!

Another very important set of professionals that we collaborate with is those who work with kids with neuro-developmental disorders such as autism, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, ADHD, and autoimmune challenges (such as OTs, PTs, SLPs, vision therapists, etc.). We have big hearts for these kids who are struggling and their families who are desperate for hope, answers, and support.

We specialize in restoring health and function in these kids and completed a 60-hour training certification with a chiropractic organization called The Pediatric Experience (or PX) that has found what we believe to be the root causes of these disorders. Getting a child’s nervous system online again through chiropractic care is instrumental for the child’s health, growth, and future, and it very often transforms the work the various therapists can do with a child once the function is restored.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Ashlee Crowden Photography

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