The injury forced him to drop out of the premed school at Washington State University as his back healed.
Eventually, as one door closed another opened.
“One day it struck me that chiropractic was calling me,” Murray said.
In the summer of 1981, Murray finished his organic chemistry at Portland State and enrolled at Western States Chiropractic College, graduating four years later.
In 1986, Murray opened Eastside Chiropractic Services, his Olympia-Tumwater area practice. Since then, he’s treated thousands of patients with the same holistic approach, treating spinal, diet and conditioning issues. Murray doesn’t just treat the ailment, he meets the needs of the patient. His approach is on a personal level.
“I treat the person,” Murray said. “If Bill comes to see me, it’s Bill I treat. It’s not the guy with the left sacroiliac problem.”
Some chiropractic doctors define their patients as the type of ailment they have. But not Murray.
“They’ll say, there’s little Johnny, he’s the ear infection kid,” Murray said. “Or that’s the high blood pressure person. It’s the condition. When I look at my schedule, I see the person.”
Knowing that a person’s job, hobbies, diet and activities can give Murray the insight to help improve that person’s health.
Since opening his practice 25 years ago, Murray has seen a common denominator to his patient’s needs.
“The biggest thing I see that influences people here is that they aren’t physically active enough,” Murray said. “They aren’t working out and stretching on a regular basis. And they don’t eat right. The most common thing that brings people through my door are these physical effects from poor healthy habits.”
Murray tries to change a patient’s lifestyle not by telling them to stop doing something, but by telling them to add something.
“The hardest thing is to get people to remove things from their daily life,” Murray said. “If you’re the guy who is drinking a pot of coffee a day, I wouldn’t necessarily ask you to stop drinking coffee. To start with, I might say you know all that coffee isn’t so good for you. What I’d do is say you need to drink more water.”
Murray’s priority with each patient is to find out what’s wrong and how to get the pain under control.
“But I don’t want them in here all the time,” Murray said. “I don’t want to make a career out of one person. I’d love to help get people so they don’t need me so much. I’ll do the tuneup. But the key is to avoid the train wreck. You to get them to do the things you’re suppose to do and they don’t need me so much.”
Murray said health care’s objective should be prevention, not recovery.
“When does someone find out things they should do to strengthen their back?” Murray said. “It’s after they get hurt. We have a wait-until-it’s-broke model for health care.”
The secret to good health includes steady exercise and a good diet. Murray said his practice is only part of the solution.
“The person who expects me to adjust them and make everything all rosy, that ain’t going to work,” Murray said. “The person who expects to go out and exercise and make everything all rosey, that ain’t going to work either. The same thing with a perfect diet.”
By itself, exercise, diet and chiropractic care aren’t enough. It’s a collaborative effort.
“Everyone one of those things is like a spoke in a wheel,” Murray said. “When ever spoke is the same length, we roll really smooth. You make one of them longer or shorter, the wheel is out of balance. The greater the imbalance the sooner that wheel comes loose.”
Murray continues to attend ongoing clinics, finding out more and more about the body.
“I can hardly wait for the next class as I continue to love learning about the amazing human body” he said.
Murray offers a free weekly health and wellness newsletter.