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Josh West runs one of the only Scoliosis clinics on Island

He’s got your back

Growing up in a tree planting camp somewhere in the interior of B.C. taught Josh West a lot of things: the value of hard work, enduring the elements of nature, and dealing with bugs, the rough terrain and weather events.

But despite it being the family business, he always knew it wasn’t something for him, long-term.

“I grew up in the Nelson area, like the West Kootenays, went to high school there… in the 70s and 80s. My father was a tree planting contractor, so I spent a lot of my younger years at a tree planting camp,” he says.

It was another childhood love that set him on his course. West played Junior B hockey with the Nelson Maple Leafs, earning a scholarship to the first year of college at Selkirk College. He then went to UBC and graduated from a four-year microbiology program. From there, he went on to chiropractic college, which would be another four years.

“School always came pretty easy, in a sense. It wasn’t until I took Grade 12 (and) dissect(ed) the pig that I became interested in the health sciences,” West says.

“We were all told we had to figure out something (to do) with our lives, and I thought this was amazing, learning about dissecting the pig, which transfers into the human body. So I started my journey into sciences then.”

Once West had the thought of going into medicine, he remembered back to his time spent tree planting since he was 10 years old. Everyone, he says, would complain about a sore back.

“After I did my undergraduate degree, I met a chiropractor and thought this was a great way to help people. It fulfilled my wants of dissecting the human body, and diagnosis, and being able to take x-rays and helping people more importantly.”

West moved to Campbell River in May, 2000, drawn by the lifestyle and community. His wife, also a chiropractor, is also from the area.

“When I first came to Campbell River back in 2000, I joined the Rotary Club within six months of being here and was part of Rotary for 18 years. I was president of the Daybreak Club at that time and was quite involved in the community as a whole, so I got to see a braced spectrum of what it (Campbell River) had to offer and the people in this town are just amazing.”

In that time frame, West and his wife had three kids (including twins).

“I had to find a balance between family life and work and community, so I stepped away from Rotary at the moment. I do plan on getting back involved at some point, but as anyone with three kids can tell you (is) that you are being pulled in a lot of different directions.”
Some of those directions he’s being pulled in include soccer and hockey practices, skiing, and piano classes.He still does volunteer his time with the activities his children are involved in and says he would love to go beyond that.

West has been in practice for 24 years now.

The clinic West works at, Discovery Chiropractic, started as a smaller clinic years ago by Dr. Larry Reynolds. Dr. Richard Kronk took over the practice, and in 2000 West and his wife joined Kronk. They eventually became partners with Kronk roughly 15 years ago and built a new clinic.

Six years ago, things changed again when he took a course. The course had a speaker on scoliosis. Scoliosis is a sideways curve of the spine, which often appears as an abnormal S- or C-shaped curve. Severe cases of scoliosis can affect breathing and movement, can be painful and can get worse with age. It can change a person’s quality of life.

“We have always been taught the same medical approach being just a ‘wait-and-see’ approach. So, I didn’t really think much about scoliosis except for just helping people deal better with it, but new research was coming out and the ability to actually help progression and the overall condition of (living with) it.”

After the presentation, West decided to take in all the information he could on the condition. He signed up for a World Masters course provided by an Italian institute, which took a year. He was certified in Scoliosis bracing and Scoliosis-specific exercises and rehab.

He now has a whole team and a specialized department at his clinic dedicated to Scoliosis.

“It uses all the skills that you need as a chiropractor. You need to be able to rule things in that are in your scope of practice, so the diagnostic part of it. You need to

100 per cent be able to take x-rays because you can’t manage scoliosis without having that skill ... and to transfer that into understanding all the latest research.”

About the Author: Brendan Jure

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