For Dr. Kristin Ehster, becoming a chiropractor was in the back of her mind from the time she was 11 years old.
That is how she was when she fell while figure skating.
“My hip went out and pulled my muscles with it. When my hip went back in, the muscles stayed there,” she said. “I had lots of pain. I couldn’t walk.”
Medical doctors gave her two options – quit skating or take pain medication.
For Ehster, who began figure skating at age 3 1/2, quitting the sport was not something she wanted to do.
She was in second grade when her parents started a figure skating club in her hometown of Mosinee and by the time of her fall, was already helping out there.
Ehster’s mother made an appointment for her to see a chiropractor.
“I remember him asking me if I got headaches a lot, because that is a sign of neck issues,” Ehster said.
The chiropractor was the one who told her that her hip had probably gone out and then back in – something he worked with a lot.
“So, chiropractic was always at the back of my mind from that time on,” Ehster said.
In addition, she always had a knack for working out the knots in her mother’s neck. Her mother is a transcriptionist.
Now, Ehster is working with Dr. Miriam Leean at Waupaca Chiropractic Center, 304 S. Western Ave.
Ehster started on a part-time basis in early October and then became full time on Nov. 17.
Prior to joining the practice, she worked in Wausau.
Ehster considered a career in elementary education or pharmacy before deciding to become a chiropractor.
She loves children and started as an elementary education major when she was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Marathon County.
Her brother, who is a pharmacist, encouraged her to consider a career in pharmacy.
Ehster took science classes and began working at a pharmacy, something she continued to do after transferring to UW-Stevens Point.
She was in her final semester there when she realized pharmacy was not what she wanted to do.
“I saw all the medications people were taking,” Ehster said. “I was from a family that didn’t take medications.”
She thought to herself, “Why am I not doing chiropractic? I would be helping people. It’s more natural.”
Ehster talked to her mother about it, and they visited several schools.
She chose Northwestern Health Sciences University, which is by the Twin Cities.
Her bachelor of science degree in biology from UW-Stevens Point was a good background for the three-year program.
Her studies ended with a four-month internship in Milwaukee, and she graduated in 2010 with a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree.
After working in Milwaukee and then in Wausau, Ehster said, “I just kind of was looking for something else.”
She saw the Waupaca Chiropractic Center posting online last summer.
“I don’t know anything about Waupaca,” she said to her boyfriend, Jeremy Hackbarth.
Actually, Ehster knew the community had an ice rink. She taught figure skating at the Waupaca Expo when she was a teen.
“I only knew the exit to the (Waupaca) Expo,” she said.
Hackbarth encouraged her to check out Waupaca, and she did.
Ehster described Leean and her staff as wonderful and the clinic as beautiful.
She said Leean has a positive vibe.
“I felt the need to be here. It was what I was looking for,” Ehster said.
On Aug. 15, Leean offered her a position, and on Oct. 1, Ehster moved to rural Waupaca.
Hackbarth is based out of Waupaca for his job, “so everything worked out,” Ehster said.
She continues to teach figure skating twice a week in Mosinee and also likes running 5Ks, traveling and spending time with friends and family.
“I love kids,” she said. “Jeremy has two boys. Weekends are with them.”
She looks forward to educating people about chiropractic, being a positive role model for women and becoming involved in the community.
“Sometimes you just know at a young age,” Ehster said in regard to hunches about future careers. “I went away from it but was brought right back.”