A former Olympic athlete, champion discus thrower, and Canadian record holder, Dr. Borys Chambul knows a thing or two about pain. In fact, it was his own experience as a patient more than 30 years ago that set Dr. Chambul on the path to a career in chiropractic medicine.
“I was being treated for a neck injury, but after a series of misdiagnoses and severe reactions to anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers, I went to Dr. Leroy Perry, a chiropractor at Berkeley. His treatments made a real difference and I was able to go into successful competition shortly after.”
The year was 1976 and it was a pivotal moment for the young graduate of the University of Washington where he had been captain of the university track and field team for two years. He had just won the PAC 8 and NCAA Championship setting a record in the discus throw. He holds the Canadian Championship record to date. In 1978 he won the Commonwealth gold medal and has twice been a member of the Olympic Team for Canada, an experience he describes as unforgettable.
Today, Dr. Chambul is director of the Chambul Chiropractic Group clinic in Thornhill, Ontario, where he specializes in chronic health disorders and addresses fitness and sports injuries. In addition to chiropractic, he employs acupuncture, nutritional, homeopathic and herbal medicine in his practice.
You can learn more about Dr. Borys M. Chambul here!
Can you share some of your athletic accomplishments?
As a young boy, I didn’t care much for school but I loved sports, especially track and field. I tried my hand at everything: javelin, shot put, triple jump (not to mention hockey, football, and basketball), but it was on the advice of my coach that I shifted my focus and trained exclusively as a discus thrower.
I was a member and co-captain of the University of Washington track and field team and I remain the school record holder to date (1976-2018). I was the 1976 Pacific 8 Conference Champion and NCAA Champion and record holder that same year with a throw of 65.42 meters. I had the honour of being a member of two Canadian Olympic teams in 1976 and 1980, and I won the 1978 Commonwealth Championship for which I held the record until 1981.
What adversity have you had to overcome as an athlete?
I suffered a number of injuries including a stress fracture in my right foot, neck and back disc injuries, hip bursitis and a torn left knee meniscus. In 1975 I suffered further back and hip injuries from over-training. The medical approaches of choice at this time were cortisone injections (which I received in both hips, back, and my chest) and phenylbutazone, a powerful anti-inflammatory which had me passing blood in my urine as one of its many side-effects. I began my second season in the Pac 8 Conference standing and finished a depressing 12th and 13th place at the Conference and NCAA Championships. The medical “specialists” told me to forget about participating in the 1976 Olympics.
When did you become a Chiropractor and what made you choose this career path?
Two weeks prior to the 1976 Pac 8 Conference, injured again, my neck went into spasm. A regimen of physical therapy treatments and meds did not help. One of my teammates recommended his chiropractor, Dr. Leroy Perry. As no other options were available I decided to give him a try. The same day of the Pac 8 Championships, after one treatment from Dr. Perry I received more relief than the previous two weeks of therapy. I went on to win the competition on my final throw. From that point, I continued with chiropractic treatment right up to my record throw. I am a dramatic example of how powerful this approach to health care is. Chiropractic became my calling.
What type of challenges have you had to overcome in terms of people’s perception of Chiropractors?
In the early years of my 35 years in practice, many patients came to me as a last resort, much like my experience with Dr. Perry. After going to various medical specialists without relief, their reaction was always the same: “I should have come to you sooner.” Over the years chiropractic has become scientifically validated with a more open dialogue between health professionals. Patients come to me for relief and correction of numerous chronic disorders that traditional medicine often does not successfully address. I work with a number of medical doctors including Dr. Zoltan Rona who has been referring patients like you, Lorne, to my clinic for over 30 years.
Do you think diet and exercise have a bigger impact on wellness?
I educate my patients on the 5 steps to wellness: What we eat, how we move, how we think (our attitude), how we sleep, and how we manage stress are all important factors to regain and achieve our wellness goals. They all interact with each other and affect our health. However, if you’re asking me to choose only one, according to research, probably what we eat (or don’t) has the biggest impact on our health.
How often do you exercise and for how long?
I have just turned 65 and I make a conscious effort to engage in some type of physical activity or exercise daily. This includes daily foundation training exercises to improve posture, a one hour walk at least two to three times per week and strength training with free weights for 20 to 30 minutes twice weekly.
What is your #1 health tip?
Minimize consumption of animal-based foods such as meat and dairy. When you consider your diet, 3/4 of it should consist of plant-based foods: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and some grains. Meat should be the “garnish” on your dinner plate, not the “main course.” Don’t forget to incorporate the 5 steps to wellness and get regular chiropractic care. I’ve been a patient since 1976!