Body work series: Meet Dr. Mike DeBole, D.C
December 2015, I severely injured my back while deadlifting. If I knew this injury would have been as devastating as it has been, I would have never picked up that barbell. For almost 4 years now, I’ve dealt with daily pain - sometimes just slight pain, and other days it’s almost impossible to walk. About 7 months ago, I realized that this needed to stop. I’ve gone to many chiropractors and physical therapists throughout the years, but Dr. Mike DeBole has truly helped, and changed not only my posture and injury, but has educated me on what is happening to my body.
Being a chiropractor is A LOT of work. It’s a ton of schooling, lots of clinical hours, and once you graduate, you are thrusted into your practice. It takes a (literal) strong person to complete the recommended schooling, but from Dr. Mike, it’s 100% worth it.
Hi, my name is Michael DeBole. I’ve been working full time as a chiropractor for a little over 1 year, and 2 years if you consider clinical rotations where you see patients in your last year of schooling.
How did you decide to get into this field?
When I was in my first year of tackle football, I suffered a “stinger” injury. This is where you get sharp nerve pain down your back and down your arm. After 2 visits my pains were gone and I continued being a chiro patient to prevent and treat other injuries suffered through playing sports.
What was the schooling like? How long was the program/what was the financial investment for this program/what program/school did you go to?
Schooling is A LOT! 4 years of undergrad where you typically get a Bachelors of Science to have all pre-requisites for chiro school. Chiro School is 3.5 years of full year schooling because it’s trimesters to fit in all required hours to get a Doctorate of Chiropractic degree. Schooling is tough and requires a ton of studying and long days of class work, anatomy lab…. I went to SUNY Cortland and majored in Exercise Science and went to New York Chiropractic College after. Chiro School is about $175,000 all said and done on top of what your 4 year degree costs.
Would it be better in this field to join a practice or create your own?
It’s difficult to come out of school and start a practice. Financially its tough and you also don’t have much clinical experience and business experience to practice properly. Most try and work with a practice where the owner may be ready to retire or slow down in the near future so you can buy into the practice.
Would I need to get acceptance from an insurance company to be able to reach more clients?
Most chiropractors accept insurance. By being on the popular insurance panels, you are able to reach more patients.
What is a normal day for you?
Normal day consists of seeing a new patient and doing new patient intakes, examination, and taking x-rays. I usually do a report of findings where I will explain the x-ray findings as well as other findings to the patient and talk about an appropriate care plan. I will also treat patients and do a LOT of paperwork. We have morning hours and afternoon hours so I usually get caught up with everything in the middle of the day when we are not seeing patients.
What is the expected amount of pay for someone in your field?
This depends on many things. Where you practice, what type of practice you work for, if you are an associate or independent contractor, are you owning your own practice. Some associate doctors will make a salary while most independent contractors will make a commissioned income based on the visits they see. Salaries and wages vary a lot due to majority of chiropractors being employed in private practices. I would look up salary information based on the area in which you are going to practice.
What are the negative aspects of this career?
The negative is trying to overcome people’s misconceptions about the profession at times.
What are the positive aspects of this career?
The best part of being a chiropractor is the opportunity to change someone’s outlook on health. People are very re-active. Example: Person gets a headache, person take an advil. I get the opportunity to explain why people have SYMPTOMS and how symptoms are merely your body responding to either physical, emotional, or chemical stressors. By addressing these areas and educating people, I can help change people into more proactive thinkers and ultimately healthier. Not to mention, I get to make people feel better leaving the office than they did walking in. That’s cool!
Did you ever have an “AHA” moment that made you go into this career path?
I realized going to the chiropractor when I was younger, this was the one doctor appointment that I actually looked forward too. This was a big “AHA” moment for me and I always admire that.
Where do you see your career in 5 years? 10 years?
I see health care much different in 10 years. I think we will see integrated health practices with different specialties under one roof. This is an area I can see myself associated with in the future.
If you could tell yourself anything from before you started this career, what would it be?
Look at the big picture! I now know that what I do is one part of a healthy lifestyle for people. You don’t have to do everything.
Do you have any hobbies that also coincide with your career?
Exercising and traveling are my favorite hobbies. For me, going to the gym for an hour is a time where I can put my headphones in, listen to a podcast or music and disconnect for a bit.
Tell us about working with the Rochester community - what is it like?
Rochester community is very MEDICALLY minded. Much of that is due to our great hospitals. This at times lead people to think quick short-term methods of health. Examples would be getting a gastric bypass surgery because it’s quick and easy instead of learning how to eat and exercise.
Have you ever had any moments in your career where you said “what the hell am I doing?!”
When you first get into practice, you will find out it’s much different than clinical rotations at school. You begin to take yourself out of the books and start looking at the big picture. Most people have multiple health conditions which on the surface may only manifest into one or two symptoms. It takes clinical experience at times to make good practice decisions.
What type of advancements could you make in this field?
I believe having a good understanding of not only chiropractic and how it relates to the spine, but also being well versed in nutrition, supplementation, exercise, medical interventions will help make advancements in this field.
Any other thoughts?
When picking a career, make sure you shadow. Make sure that whatever you are going to do you have MENTORS. If you want to learn something, find the people in your area that are doing it well and talk to them. Become friends with these people and surround yourself with them. READ! Make sure you pick up books and become inspired in areas that interest you. Ask questions and stay curious. Finally, one of my favorite quotes: “sell the problem you solve, not the product”. Find a career in which you help people do things that they otherwise couldn’t do. By helping others, you make a big difference. By making a difference and being a positive impact on someone, you will find great happiness.
Thank you, Dr. Mike, for educating Rochester on what it takes to be a chiropractor. If you’re interested in chiro, I highly suggest making an appointment with O’Dell Chiropractic - Dr. Mike has truly helped my back and neck injuries, and I couldn’t be more thankful!