Hillsdale students now have the opportunity to visit a chiropractor on campus since Christopher Netley, D.C., started as a chiropractor at Hillsdale College Health Services last year.
Netley has served the college community since the beginning of the fall 2021 semester and he is the first chiropractor to fill this new position at the Health and Wellness Center.
“Dr. Netley helps us to fill out a wider array of services at the Health and Wellness Center,” staff nurse Kari Coupland said. “He is a nice addition to our team and a joy to work with.”
Netley and his family fled California because of the COVID-19 policies and moved to Hillsdale in the spring of 2020.
“Things in California at the time, early in the pandemic, were looking pretty bleak,” Netley said. “We didn’t know how long the state was going to make it last, so it just seemed like a good time to leave. So we just decided, let’s move back to Michigan.”
Even though Netley did not have a job lined up before moving, he chose Hillsdale because Marissa, Netley’s wife and an alumna of Hillsdale College, has family living in the area.
Netley had a long journey toward becoming a chiropractor. After receiving his undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of California, Riverside, Southern California University accepted Netley into its Ph.D. program. However, he decided to join the Marine Corps instead.
He served eight years as a captain and was primarily stationed in San Diego. He spent 2010 and 2011 deployed in Afghanistan and his last three years in Chicago.
“I decided I didn’t want to make the military my career. So, when I decided to leave the military, I wanted to make the switch into a profession that I thought was going to be worthwhile,” Netley said.
He said he felt the medical field was a good fit, and his early experience with good chiropractors inspired him to pursue the profession.
Netley’s focus in graduate school at Southern California University of Health Sciences was college health centers.When he heard of the Hillsdale Health and Wellness Center’s search for chiropractic care, he offered his services and was eventually granted the newly-formed position.
“When we came out here, I was primarily working in a more traditional chiropractic office, but I wanted to get back to what I was doing before because I really enjoyed doing it,” Netley said.
Brock Lutz, director of Health Services, said Netley is a great addition to the current team.
“I think he is a great fit with the services we currently offer and complements our current medical and psychological staff well,” Lutz said.
Netley also said he appreciates the ability for integrated care for patients that the Health and Wellness Center offers.
“In a more integrated setting like this, I’m working with nurses, doctors, and mental health professionals,” he said. “You get the patients better care and it’s easier to provide the care when you are working in an integrated team setting.”
Netley said his patients resemble the demographics of the patient base he is used to seeing in private practice: about half students and half staff and their families.
Netley primarily sees patients for neck and back pain. These are issues that he thinks are exacerbated by the anxiety caused by a stressful school environment.
“I think a lot of it is lifestyle-based,” Netley explained. “Psychological issues are also heavily linked with spine pain, so it’s not unusual for someone to come in and be dealing with lower back pain and there’s some kind of stress going on.”
To avoid these issues, he recommended students to be conscious of being active on a regular basis.
“Once things get stressful and time runs short, physical activity usually goes down and that tends to be when you see a lot more issues,” Netley said. “Make time to go to the gym, or play a sport, or do something active whether it’s just walking or swimming, or going on a treadmill, or just anything to get you up and moving around.”
Netley is helping students form those habits by recently adding a program to assist that portion of the student body that aren’t athletes and don’t have access to fitness coaching.
“When the pain is starting to go down and we’re trying to get them back moving again, and a lot of people just don’t know what to do at the gym or they don’t know how to program fitness routines, so I’ll take them to the gym for about an hour,” he said. “We go through a workout and then the next day, I’ll get their feedback and then, based off that, I can build programs for them.”
Netley said this project acts as a transition in care for his patients and is something he hopes to expand.
“I think it’s something that is needed on campus and we are working on some ideas to potentially expand the program and make it more affordable,” he said. “It’s a way to blend fitness and healthcare.”
Netley encouraged students to also reach out to him with any questions about general health, exercise, and fitness.
“I can be a really good source of knowledge, especially if you have those general questions and just don’t know who to ask,” he said.
To schedule an appointment with Netley, call the Health and Wellness Center’s front desk. Netley charges $50 for the first appointment and $30 for follow-ups. He also offers personal therapeutic exercises for $60.