First female chiropractor in Enterprise 'adjusting' well

The first female chiropractic doctor in Enterprise, Rachael Brunson, describes the health science in front of a bust of the first chiropractic practitioner in the United States, D.D. Palmer.

Chiropractic is, by definition, health care using spinal adjustments to correct misalignments and to restore proper function to the nervous system.

“It's a way to help your body to heal naturally,” explained Rachael Brunson, the first female chiropractor to practice in Enterprise. “Chiropractic doesn't use drugs or surgery.”

Brunson moved to Enterprise with her husband, Eric, the son Jackie Brunson and the late Dr. Emmett Brunson, and their three children. “We came back to Enterprise to be closer to family,” she said.

Brunson joined long time chiropractor Dr. Donald Williams in offices on Glover Avenue in March 2016. “I think it was a ‘God thing,’” Brunson said with a smile. “My husband, who works on the special needs school bus, knew Judy (Williams) through the school system.

“But originally, when I took my state boards in 1997, Dr. Williams was the doctor that I worked with on the X-ray part of the exam,” she said. “My daughter was only about 10 days old when I took the boards.”

Brunson, a Greenville native, met her husband while the duo attended Troy University. After earning a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Troy University, Brunson attended Palmer Chiropractic College in Davenport, Iowa.

Palmer College is the first chiropractic college in the United States, named for Daniel David Palmer, who founded the school in 1897. Palmer choose the name chiropractic, which comes from the Greek words cheir—meaning hand—and praktos—meaning done.

Brunson explained that Palmer performed the first chiropractic adjustment in September 1895 while examining a janitor who had become deaf 17 years prior. Palmer gave an “adjustment” to what was felt to be a misplaced vertebra in the upper back. The janitor reported that his hearing subsequently improved.

A bust of Palmer is displayed in Brunson’s office. “It was a gift from my mother-in-law,” Brunson said, as she outlined the history of Palmer Chiropractic College. “Palmer was the original chiropractic school.”

Brunson said she felt called to the medical profession from an early age. “I always knew that I liked the medical profession,” she said. “I knew I liked the concept of helping people and really thought I wanted to be a surgeon.”

What that career choice in mind, Brunson shadowed Dr. Norman McGowin, the family’s physician in Greenville. “He got in at 6 a.m. every day and left his office at 10 p.m.,” Brunson said. “I liked the surgery part but he said to me, ‘Rachael, if you want a family, you are really going to have to think this through because so much of your time is not your time,’ so it really started me thinking about other options where I could still help people but I realized that surgery might not be my best fit.

“My grandfather had gone to a chiropractor, Dr. John Stephens, C.D. of Greenville, and it helped him clear up his sinuses and he talked about that all the time,” Brunson said, about the doctor she calls her mentor. “That started me on the journey because I thought if chiropractic was so impressive to my grandfather, I should research it.”

Brunson talked to her grandfather’s chiropractor. “I realized that it would be a better fit for me because I could help people by being a health care provider and also have time for a family.”

A stay-at-home mom for years, Brunson said that her return to the work force is the result of a lot of prayer. “I had been staying at home with my kids but as they got older, I had been wanting to get back into practice,” Brunson said. “I had been really praying about this decision. I know it was a God thing.

“I do love what I do,” Brunson said. “I think my favorite part is helping people enjoy the life God gave them.”

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