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Outside the Box: Meet Sandy Spines

Sandy Arthur, D.C. is a Chiropractor. Artist. Pilot. Tennis player. Web designer. And yes, much more.

Ask Sandy Arthur, D.C. (Florida, ’19), known to her patients and clients as “SandySpines,” who she is, and she’ll tell you she’s very hard to put in a box.

Dr. Sandy Spines sitting on adjusting table on beach.Dr. Arthur comes to curiosity and exploration naturally. Her mother is a veterinarian who studied chiropractic and acupuncture for her multidisciplinary practice. Yet she manages to find time in her busy schedule to participate in field trialing, a sport involving hunting with bird dogs. Her father is an airline pilot as well as a tennis-playing realtor. But it’s her grandmother from whom she derives much of her inspiration as an artist.

During summers spent in her grandmother Beth’s art studio, the self-proclaimed “artsy and sporty kid” was encouraged to experiment with various artistic media and textures, from drawing with crayons to spray painting leaves to create impressionist art. But even her grandmother — or “Tika,” as she is known to Dr. Arthur — had another passion: archeology and paleontology.

“I learned from an early age how important it is to be multidimensional. My Tika loved to travel and get involved in digs, and a lot of her paintings were inspired by her work and her travels.”

Motivated by her love of anime, DreamWorks movies and Tika’s influence, Dr. Arthur thought she would become an animator… then maybe an illustrator. After being told she wouldn’t make any money doing either job, she took the “smart artistic choice” and opted for interior design. But even interior design didn’t do it for Dr. Arthur. “My heart just wasn’t in it,” she says.

After finishing her degree in art history at Florida State, Dr. Arthur shifted her focus. “I wanted to help people but didn’t know how right away. So, I started thinking about who helped me in my life, and my chiropractor came first to mind.”

Only one place made sense to go — Palmer College of Chiropractic. And it was at Palmer that “SandySpines” was born. “I admit it! I would doodle during class, which I would argue helped my listening and learning process. Classmates would see me sketching and ask questions and want to buy my art, which pushed me to paint more.”

When the pandemic hit shortly after Dr. Arthur’s graduation in 2019, she chose to lean into “SandySpines” as a means of survival during her first year as a chiropractor. That unexpected detour led to a highly rated Etsy shop-turned-website and an artistic presence in clinics and homes all over the country, including at Palmer College.

Dr. Arthur recently celebrated a milestone — her first year in her own practice, a place she designed on her own after spending a few years as an associate. And while growing her practice may keep her feet on the ground and off the tennis court, she will always find time in her art corner. Finding space for even a single hobby is a piece of wisdom she imparts on all the Palmer students she meets.

“I encourage them to have a hobby, something they can put themselves into besides being a chiropractor,” she says. “Whether it’s pickleball or painting, I believe your hobbies will help you personally and professionally in fostering deeper connections with your patients.”

In other words, stay out of the box.