The Unexpected Adventure Of Really Becoming A Gonstead Chiropractor

Feb 13, 2023


When I was 16 years old I had a lower back injury. At that time I was attending Xavier High School and Football was a big part of my life. During the summer I would attend our team lifting program where we would train. One day the team was performing our max lifts for squat, bench press, power clean and deadlift. When I was performing the squat I lost proper form and ended up paying for it. While I was completing the lift I felt a pop in my lower back. It went into spasm but I walked it off. Then my lower back got stiff but I thought I could walk it off. Fast forward a week or two when school started. I remember exactly where I was when I realized something was not right. While sitting in trigonometry class I looked down at the paper on my desk and felt a burning pain travel from my lower back down the back of my right leg and underneath my right foot. I was having trouble walking from class to class due to the pain and I couldn’t see myself performing my best on the field. That’s when I realized something is wrong and I need to fix it. I talked to my mom about it and she ended up taking me to an orthopedist. After his exam he recommended that I take muscle relaxers and pain medication. At that time I knew the medications wouldn’t fix my back and I didn’t want to get hooked on these medications for the rest of my life. So, I refused them and told my mom we need to find another option. She ended up bringing me in to a chiropractor, Dr. Jim Milone. I was lucky because he was and still is a Gonstead Chiropractor. At the time the only thing I knew about chiropractic was that they crack backs. He did an exam, took an X-ray and explained what he found. I was amazed at the X-ray, I couldn’t believe that was me on the inside. Even without the knowledge that I have now, I could tell that my lower back didn’t look right. He told me that I had an L5-S1 disc injury.

Dr. Al playing football at Xavier High School

So I started getting treated by Dr. Jim and within about 2 weeks I felt about 80% better. That’s when my world changed. I knew the body could heal itself but I didn’t understand how or why. While I knew that I was not 100% I was able to get back on the field to play football. We both knew that I would be in many collisions while playing football so we agreed that it would be best if I continued care throughout the season to make sure I didn’t re-injure my back. I ended up finishing the season free from injury and was awarded the “unsung hero award” by my coaches and was named a scholar athlete and awarded “the Gene Casey award of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame”. I knew that could play college football but realistically I wasn’t going to make it big so I decided to attend Fairfield university in Fairfield CT. I stopped seeing Dr. Jim since I was at school even though I was playing collegiate Rugby. During my senior year I was voted team captain but my body was so beat up. I knew I had to get myself right before the season started so I went back to see Dr. Jim.

Dr. Al playing rugby at Fairfield University

At that time I knew that I wanted to work in healthcare. I thought I would become an orthodontist because giving people a perfect smile seemed like an awesome job. After getting chiropractic treatment while in college I realized that I should really consider becoming a Gonstead Chiropractor helping to optimize patients nerve system & movement. I learned more and more about the profession and about Gonstead Chiropractic specifically and realized that I would be taking a mechanical engineers mindset and applying it to the body. I loved that idea and I loved the idea of being able to help others overcome the physical challenges that I went through myself. At the end of the year I was accepted to Palmer College of Chiropractic where I was voted Gonstead Club president. I learned all that I could, I took over 300 hours of Gonstead Chiropractic seminars outside of classes while still in school and preparing for board exams. One of the most fulfilling things that I did was go on chiropractic mission trips to Haiti & the Dominican Republic. For me, I’m glad that I found Gonstead chiropractic as its been a great way for me to serve others. There are only 450 Gonstead chiropractors in the US and I am proud to call myself one of them.