It’s a long journey from a small New Hampshire town to a small town outside Chicago, especially when there’s a detour through Bolivia. Brian Fuller, DC, however, is happy with his final destination, as he recently opened a chiropractic office here at 7413 Madison. Fuller hasn’t just covered a lot of ground geographically; he’s continuing a family tradition that stretches back three generations to the dawn of chiropractic treatment.
Fuller’s grandfather, Dr. Robert Pervier, lived in the home of Daniel Palmer, the developer of chiropractic, for part of a cold Iowa winter while he studied at the Palmer School in Davenport. After graduation, Pervier found that returning to Massachusetts would not be easy as chiropractors in the 1950’s were being arrested for practicing medicine without a license. Pervier settled on moving north where the state motto “Live free or die” allowed chiropractors to practice unmolested.
Times have certainly changed since then, as Fuller became the first student from the National College of Chiropractic to be accepted into a Clerkship in Emergency Medicine at Stanford University. During his time at Stanford, Fuller worked along side other medical students in the non-critical care department of the ER. “Chiropractors can effectively diagnose, treat, and work alongside our medical brethren in the ER,” Fuller admits, “My grandfather would be amazed at how integrated chiropractic has become.”
After Fuller obtained his degree from the National University of Health Science in Lombard, he searched for a place to start his practice. To say that finding an office in Forest Park was fortuitous would be an understatement. Fuller and his wife, Sarah Cullen Fuller, were driving through Forest Park on a Sunday afternoon, when they happened to turn down the alley behind Circle Video. At that moment, Deb Jensen, a master acupuncturist happened to come out her clinic door.
“She invited us right in to look at the office,” Fuller recalled. Jensen confessed that she is normally never at her office on Sundays but had just treated an acute patient in need of help. “It had two treatment rooms and a beautiful waiting room,” Fuller said, “It feels more like a home than an office.” Fuller also felt at home with the office’s other practitioner, Debra Hill, who is a veteran massage therapist and former occupational therapist.
Having grown up in a town with only one traffic light, Fuller was also comfortable with the fabric of Forest Park. “Elaine Biester, MD is right across the street at Partners for Women’s Health. Our clinic offers a holistic alternative that complements other practices.” He also enjoys strolling down Madison Street for breakfast at one of the local institutions, Louie’s Grill. Fuller recalls. “Hillsborough had an old diner, made out of an old railroad boxcar, where the coffee came fast and so did the humor. Louie’s has that same small town feel.”
Easy interaction also occurs during chiropractic treatment. Fuller saw firsthand the personal bond that develops between chiropractors and patients, when his mother, Dr. Lorna Fuller, treated patients in a clinic attached to their home. “As kids it was horrible! We could never get away with anything because her patients would always tell on us,” Fuller said. “We had to be extra sneaky because of her spies.”
Lorna Fuller, DC started out adjusting patients right in the living room. As her practice grew, the garage was remodeled and she kept expanding her workplace. She not only treated generations of Hillsborough residents from infants to the elderly, she met her husband, Don Fuller, due to an old football injury. As a child, Fuller observed, “People were always coming in crooked and walkin’ out straight.”
At the time, Fuller had no intention of becoming the third generation chiropractor in his family. After graduating with 69 fellow Hillcats from the local high school, Fuller decided to leave rural New Hampshire. “I had to get out to stay sane, but I didn’t get too far.” He went off to the University of New Hampshire, in the coastal town of Durham just two hours from home. “I wasn’t exactly spreading my wings,” Fuller said. “But it was the best decision I ever made.”
After graduating with a degree in environmental economics, Fuller “really got to take off” by joining the United States Peace Corps and traveling to Bolivia. He spent 2 ½ years as a small business developer at a school for handicapped children. “I spent more time with the kids than balancing the checkbook.” Nevertheless, Fuller started programs to boost the school’s finances. “We raised chickens, opened an Italian restaurant and a blacksmith shop to teach the kids a vocation. It was the most rewarding time in my life!”
When he left the Peace Corps, Fuller wasn’t sure of his next move. A tragedy shocked him out of his indecision. “My best friend, Patrolman and ex-Marine Jeremy Charron, was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop his rookie year. My world was shattered.”
“I decided that I wanted to have a community connection, to provide hands-on service, to make a difference in people’s lives.” There are not many professions more hands-on than chiropractic. Plus, for Fuller, “Going into the family business was more than just making money; it was part of me, my history.”
Now that he’s serving the community of Forest Park, Fuller finds, “People and their stories are the best part of my job: and the fact that I can have a positive impact on their lives.”
To supplement the income from his practice, Fuller teaches nutrition at the National University of Health Science to massage therapists and chiropractic students. He also is one of the physicians for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, where his wife Sarah is in the main company. “I met and fell in love with my wife before I saw her dance. Good thing too because I cried the first time I saw her perform, she was so beautiful. She is the best part of my life.”
Fuller’s one-of-a-kind life journey from a small town in New Hampshire to this small town is off to a good start. Fuller Health can be reached at (708) 705-9494.