Dr. Chelsey Spano is an athlete at heart, who is passionate about exercise, nutrition, and health. She played competitive soccer for her hometown of Hamilton, Ontario. It was this passion for sport and athletics that has guided her career path towards the health profession.
She is a graduate of Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, located in Toronto, Ontario; where she achieved a prestigious clinic honours designation. Prior to attending CMCC, she graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Kinesiology from McMaster University. She also completed the McMaster University Medical Acupuncture course, earning a certificate and designation as an acupuncture provider.
Dr. Chelsey is an energetic, positive, health-minded mom of two. She aims to live by example for her babies, and her patients. She has joined the Healthy is Hot squad as a contributor to encourage others to be an advocate for their own health, and live their best life.
Hey Dr Chelsey, can you take us through your journey to where you are now as a chiropractor?
It’s a pleasure to be featured with you! My journey to becoming a chiropractor began at a young age. My passion for health and wellness started in sports. I played everything I could in elementary school, and began playing competitive soccer …football for those on the other side of the pond.With sports, comes the inevitable injury (or two). I sought out treatment from physiotherapists and athletic therapists and chiropractors.
The more I looked into each health discipline, the more I fell in love with chiropractic. In this field I would become a Doctor with the privilege to diagnose, and treat a wide variety of neuromusculoskeletal conditions (try saying that 3 times fast). I went to McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario, and studied Kinesiology where I could dive deeper into the study of the human body and its movement. From there I was accepted into Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College located in Toronto, Ontario. Upon graduation, I began my entrepreneurial career and decided to work in a multidisciplinary health clinic alongside other chiros, naturopaths, physios, registered massage therapists, and athletic therapists. We all have our place and our expertise so working with a team provides well rounded patient care.
What is a typical day for you like?
Every morning I start my day with self-care. This is my time. I lift weights, do yoga, or HIIT training, and some form of cardio. Afterwards I’m on mom duty. I make sure that everyone is fed, dressed, and ready for the day. A typical clinic day can include assessing new and treating existing patients, providing treatment plans, consulting with the team regarding case management, charting, meetings, marketing, social media content creating…it’s busy! And then once again I’m back to mom life of making meals, playtime and doing the bedtime routine. The evenings are spent catching up on tasks that were not completed in the day. As an entrepreneur there is always something to work on. I’m passionate about it all so it doesn’t feel like work. But I do try to make time to unwind and relax each night. I must admit there isn’t always time for everything. I aim to balance it all and listen to my body and my mind; and do whatever I feel I am in need of – rest or work!
As a graduate of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, can you tell us why you are passionate about the health industry and at what point did you know you wanted to make this your career field?
I have been interested in the health industry for as far back as I can remember. I have watched sports all of my life with my father’s influence. I would follow along with my mom to Jane Fonda’s exercise videos. I remember I wanted to create workout videos of my own! I quickly realised that taking good care of my health made me feel good, and it has always paid off. I have been lucky to be healthy, and I have chosen to nurture that health. I chose chiropractic because it is a drug-free healthcare discipline. I knew this was my calling when I was completing my undergraduate degree. I took a spinal cord injury class, which was incredibly eye-opening for me.
I found a new appreciation for the body’s information superhighway that is the spinal cord. Graduating from CMCC helped this passion for health care to grow, and enlightened me in natural wellness solutions. It gave me an incredible education, and a deeper understanding of the body’s ability to function when properly cared for. This is inclusive of activity, nutrition, and care. Take high performance athletes for example—they are constantly working on their health and fitness. But what keeps them in top form is the CARE that they receive from team docs, and trainers. This is why I chose chiropractic care. To help others live fully in their own health and take control of it through wellness! Prevention over correction; it just makes so much sense to me.
Do you have any anecdotes to share, or unusual circumstances you have had to treat for a client?
I had the incredible experience working as the resident Doctor for the Canadian Touring Car Championship, which is Canada’s only professional touring car racing series. I was trackside with my table and my diagnostic tools caring for drivers of these high performance vehicles and the crew. I have always been interested in cars, and am a Formula 1 fanatic; thanks to my dad once again as he and my uncles are entrepreneurs in the auto body industry. So this experience was one I’ll never forget. Most people wouldn’t think of the drivers as athletes. But they are! Their bodies have to withstand incredible g-forces, while displaying split-second reaction time. This requires intensive musculoskeletal and mental acuity training. Having the chance to work with these teams was exhilarating! And to be a female doctor working in a traditionally male dominated sport is something I will always be proud of.
Can you explore the common misconceptions of being a chiropractor as some of our readers may not be aware of what your work entails?
Absolutely! First off, chiropractors are doctors! Some people do not know that, and do not realise or appreciate that the education a chiropractor has is extensive. A chiropractor is required to complete at least three years in an undergraduate university program. Afterwards, we spend another four years at an accredited chiropractic college. This program of study includes more than 4,200 hours of specialised clinical training. Curriculum consists of anatomy, pathology, radiology, biomechanics, diagnosis, treatment techniques, and more. It is a long road.
Secondly, in my experience most people think that chiropractors crack your back and realign your spine when it is out of alignment. But that’s not entirely true. As a chiropractor it is my job to investigate, diagnose and care for conditions related to the nervous system, musculoskeletal system. This is commonly understood as neck or back pain, or often sciatica. It is manual medicine, whereby as the doctor I apply a highly skilled and precise movement to the joints of the spine or extremities (which is known as an adjustment or manipulation) where it is needed. Adjustments allow the joints to move freely which optimizes their function, and ultimately decrease pain. Sometimes a crack or a pop is heard and felt. Please note we are not cracking any bones when we deliver the adjustment. What is actually happening is this: there is fluid (synovial fluid) within the joint space. When your chiropractor applies their hands to the joint, and moves the joint through its natural range of motion, the fluid inside sustains a change in pressure…getting really science-y here but stay with me kids…. and a “pop” is heard and/or felt. This pop is gas being released within the joint space. Much like when you open a can of carbonated soda. The pop is the carbon dioxide escaping once the seal is opened. Got it? I’m not cracking any backs or realigning your bones. I’m helping joints that have become stiff (for reasons that are patient specific) to move better, so that my patients can ultimately function better!
Where can you see yourself within the next 5 years and what plans do you have in place to expand and further develop the growth of your career?
The top of the list is without a doubt to be a good mom who lives by example, working hard in my career and on the home front. I really hope to inspire my two growing girls and to make them proud.
I hope to continue to grow my practice alongside the vibrant team I’m currently a part of. I will further my education on paediatric care for my young patients. I plan to expand my entrepreneurial career by doing continued outreach within the community, and already have some events lined up with other small businesses! And lastly I plan to do more in fitness industry, providing my expertise and working with local businesses and other influencers.
I would love to write for more publications, and possibly write a book (that’s definitely a longer-term plan), and be an overall positive health and wellness influencer.
What outlets do use to promote the health and wellness industry?
I use Instagram and Facebook as my main platforms for promotion. I am also a contributing writer for the digital publications Healthy is Hot and Seek Minimal. It is through these outlets that I am able to expand my reach, and share my passion that is health and wellness with people outside of my clinical practice.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
When a patient tells me that they are out of pain, or have crushed their latest fitness, health, or life goal which requires their physical health. It is the best feeling in the world knowing I have helped someone else to live and feel better! I am so grateful that my patients trust me with their health.
What challenges have you seen to have been presented during the growth of your career?
The biggest challenge has been understanding that even health care is a business. This was a foreign concept to me when I first started practicing. I just assumed that people would be excited to have a natural solution for a health concern or an injury. I can preach all day about the benefits of taking care of ourselves, seeing the right health care providers for different issues, eating right, exercising, etc. But at the end of the day it is up to the individual to invest in their health, which for some is unfortunately not an easy decision.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
The girls from Tone It Up – Katrina Scott & Karena Dawn. They are positively vibrant and full of life with a true passion for health, fitness, and connecting with others.
Rachel Hollis is an extremely inspiring author and speaker. She is honest and real, and I respect that so much because in the Instagram vs. Reality world, we need more real people like her!
Lauren Conrad who has become an author, created a brand, a business, and grown her personal & family life all while doing it under extreme media pressure.
The Bella Twins. Nikki and Brie Bella, of WWE who have transformed from superstar athletes into wildly successful entrepreneurs with multiple businesses to their name.
All of these strong and intelligent women are entrepreneurs who seem to really be in tune with who they are, what they are passionate about, and have a strong work ethic pushing them to reach their goals. Like, just wow…yes girls, I see you!
How do you define your own success?
I define my success as managing to balance my career and my personal life. As an entrepreneur, your work never stops. As a mother, caring for your little ones and all of their needs never never stops. It’s true what they say in regards to both. There are days when I feel exhausted and like I can’t possibly add any more tasks to my to-do list. And then there are days when I feel completely up-to-date, and am looking for the next project. I feel successful when I am able to care for myself, so that I can care for my family, and go to work and care for my patients.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
I love this question, because there are so many things it could mean! What immediately comes to mind is be your own boss, be your own self, be your own cheerleader. But I guess if I had to pick one (I think I am aligned with so many other brilliant ladies featured on this platform)…it means be your own you! When we can embrace our own uniqueness, and love ourselves for who we are, that is when we will find our place and our purpose in life. So be your own self! And be your own best friend who would never let you sell yourself short of all that you are meant for…okay so it means two things to me lol!
Finally, what are you working on throughout 2019?
More collaborations! No woman is an island, and when we connect and support each other incredible things truly happen. Networking with other women in my community (real and virtual) is proving to be the best way to gain exposure to those who don’t know who I am, what I do, or how I might be able to help them.
I will definitely continue to write for publications I respect and admire, for my followers, and for myself! Maybe I’ll finally create some exercise videos to make the 7-year old Jane Fonda fan in me proud.