Chi­ro­practor Christopher Natley. Elyse Hawkins | Collegian

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.