Dr. Miller celebrates 25th year in Woodburn
The story of Dr. Daniel Miller's 25-year chiropractic career in Woodburn began on a Christmas tree farm in Silverton in the early 1980s.
A student at Silverton High School, Miller was best friends with the son of Dr. Steven Deshaw, a Woodburn-based chiropractor who built the Northwood Health Center.
Deshaw happened to own a Christmas tree farm, providing seasonal work opportunities for Miller and his friends, harvesting trees for the holiday season and getting them ready to ship.
"I remember some times it was midnight and snowing, and I was in tennis shoes and jeans," Miller said. "We would literally go up to the house at midnight and just sit around the table in our wet skivvies eating a big ole gigantic bowl of chili.
"They were great memories, but at the time, it was just miserable."
Miller knew Deshaw as a tree farmer, not as a chiropractor. In fact, Miller didn't even know what a chiropractor was or did. His post-high school plan was to go into the psychiatric field, but when Deshaw built his business in 1984 on Ray J. Glatt Circle, he gave Miller a tour of the place and changed his life forever.
"I knew at that point, when I researched chiropractic, that's what I wanted to do, and this is where I wanted to be," Miller said.
That decision solidified itself going into his senior year when a seemingly small football injury turned out to be much more problematic than expected.
A receiver for the Silverton Foxes due to his slight build, Miller was participating in fall tackling practice when he injured his back in a routine 1-on-1 drill picking up a player much bigger than himself.
"I picked him up and (my back) just went out," Miller said. "Just tackling drills. I probably shouldn't have picked him up."
Miller could barely bend his back without feeling pain, but his doctor gave him a positive outlook — recovery would be three weeks. The weeks came and went, and he was still in pain. Six months passed before he could sit for more than 30 minutes.
Finally, he consulted with Deshaw, who was able to get Miller limbered up and his joints back moving the way they were supposed to move within a couple of visits. Miller could sit, stand and get back to a relatively normal range of motion, though his back continued to cause problems for the next half-decade.
"There were a couple of times when I was working here, my back went out, and I was on the floor for five hours. I couldn't move," Miller said. "Those are the type of things that give you empathy for the patients that come in and say my back hurts. I know what you're going through. I know what to expect if I were you."
Traumatic injuries are a frequent catalyst for future chiropractors, according to Miller. While he went to chiropractic school just out of high school, most of the people were much older.
"Most of them were second careers, and most of them were after a personal experience," Miller said.
Miller graduated from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland in 1994 and joined Deshaw's practice three months later on Sept. 26, and he been there ever since.
Over the years, Miller has been awarded Chiropractor of the Year in 2004 from the Chiropractic Association of Oregon. He was similarly honored in 2018 by the Oregon Chiropractic Association. In between, he purchased Deshaw's practice in 2016, further digging his roots into the Woodburn community that he has enjoyed being a part of this past quarter-century.
"Why would I leave?" he asked. "I love the people here. I love the diversity."
Miller's philosophy boils down to one of wellness. Not just physical wellness, but mental and social health as well. The goal of his practice is to make a healthier society, one in which people are aware of how their body works and how they affect others.
"When we have a society that is more aware of how their body works and they're more aware of being healthier, that's a more tolerant society," Miller said. "I want people to love each other, respect each other and be tolerant of each other."
That's part of why Miller stays in Woodburn.
"Think about a tree — if the roots don't grow strong enough, it's not going to be a healthy tree. Sometimes you have to cut off your head, which is your ego, and allow your roots to develop first. If I move from community to community, I don't have the ability to be an influence that can keep expanding."
And as his 25th year at Northwood passes this month, he'll spend it much the same as any other day — going to work.
"We're going to Las Vegas for the third module of a wellness conference to get my certificate to be a wellness practitioner," he said. "Try to figure out how to get people from 'I hurt' to 'I'm thriving.'"
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