Meet Dr. Pannella – Co-Founder and Co-owner of Axon Health
"Why did you become a chiropractor?” This is a common question, which makes sense, but the answer is not what many expect. I originally moved to Florida to attend N.P.T.I, National Personal Training Institute, in 2010 with a few of my friends. I had dropped out of a community college in New Jersey where I was studying graphic design. I truly have no idea why I was even taking graphic design classes because I had no real interest in that field. At the time I was still smoking a cigarettes and had poor health and life habits, but overall I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. The depth of my thought process must have been, “Working out is neat… why don’t I move to Florida to attend a personal training program?”
I was about to turn 21 and my life was not going the way I had planned. I was still getting into a lot of trouble, driving my parents nuts, and had one single focus - having fun. After I moved to Florida it took 4 months to obtain my certification from N.P.T.I, which is the largest accredited personal training program on earth, requiring 500 credit hours. It didn’t take long before I realized I had a true interest in exercise science. I quickly fell in love with the fitness industry. Over the next four years, I would obtain my degree from UCF, University of Central Florida, with my Bachelor of Education in Exercise Science with a Coaching Degree Track.
Until I got closer to graduation, I still hadn’t given any real thought of what I wanted to do with my degree. It wasn’t until a few months before I graduated where someone asked me, “Have you ever thought about chiropractic school?” I had previously been acquainted with the field of chiropractic, as one of my best friends’ fathers was a successful chiropractor in New Jersey, but I wasn’t sold. Even my biomechanics teacher was a chiropractor and had his own practice down the street from UCF. I shadowed him, but I still wasn’t sold.
So, this is the beginning of my story – I had no real passion for chiropractic or the profession as a whole. I think it’s important to be transparent about this as many people say, “It was my calling”, which is probably true for some, but not all. It wasn’t until I started chiropractic school where I fell in love with the profession and being able to connect with my patients on a different level than the average allopathic provider.
I remember getting my schedule for my first quarter of chiropractic school. I would be taking an entire year’s worth of undergraduate credits (28-32 credits) in 11 weeks. This was a wakeup call. I thought, “I won’t be able to get away with the same stuff I pulled in undergrad, now, can I?”.
Over the next three years I fell in love with the process of taking a detailed exam, educating my patients, being able to spend more time with each person, and the overall experience I could give on each visit. To be honest I am not sure if it’s chiropractic itself or the model of being a chiropractor. In my opinion, the chiropractic model of care is one of the best ways to get to know patients. Many of my patients have become lifelong friends. I don’t see that very often with other professions. How many people have you heard say, “OMG I love my physical therapist/dentist/medical doctor, and they’re coming over for a BBQ on Sunday!” It doesn’t happen often. It’s not that these professions aren’t vital to the entirety of the health care, because they are, but chiropractic patients often get to know their chiropractor on a different level. Going to chiropractic school was, all in all, unplanned. I really didn’t know what to expect when I showed up for orientation. There were some obvious benefits that came from my time in chiropractic school!
1. I met my wonderful wife Erica – Erica has been the best thing to ever happen to me.
2. I worked on my ability to instill discipline.
3. I fell in love with reading – I don’t think I read my first book as an adult until I was 26. Since then, I believe I have read 75-100 books.
4. I learned the importance of completing a detailed exam and going above and beyond for my patients.
5. I have met many interesting people from around the country, even outside the country, and took in many great experiences.
Although chiropractic didn’t start out being my passion, it ended up becoming a stable in how I became the man I am today. It’s given me the ability to persevere, practice restraint, build discipline, and hold a marriage with my wonderful wife.
So what has my practice philosophy developed into?
1. I believe in spending more time with my patients - Taking the extra time to listen to your patients and get to know them benefits their care tremendously.
2. I look for problems outside of ‘joint dysfunction’ (aka “subluxation”) – Joint mobility is important, but many times there are other issues at play, such as disc problems or psychological complications.
3. I don’t believe in high frequency treatment plans – I think it’s important to have a partnership approach with my patients. I want us to be on the same team. I help them when needed and teach them to help themselves. My ultimate goal is to move patients to a monthly schedule or as needed.
4. I utilize exercise and rehab – This is an important piece of my care. If someone comes to see me, my goal is to move them to active care (where they are taking an active approach in their treatment), as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Well, there you have it. If you’re still with me thank you, I appreciate you taking time out of your day to read an article about my life and my approach. Each patient is very important to me. Being able to educate, help, and become friends with my patients has been a great pleasure in my life.