Active Family Chiropractic and Acupuncture, 2457 33rd Ave. in Columbus, has only been in operation since February, but are off to a strong start, according to Dr. Chris Zabawa.
Zabawa, originally from Omaha, received his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer Chiropractic College in Davenport, Iowa, just over a year ago, and has been helping Columbus residents get back in action since.
“There are infinite ways to help people here. I’ve been trained in several different ways to move bones, if we don’t find one you like, I have a whole list of other things we can do to help you get back to a functioning human being,” Zabawa said.
Zabawa initially got interested in chiropractic medicine because of his time as an athlete, he said.
“I’ve always been a long time athlete and my chiropractor back home was the guy able to keep me back in the game. I said at one point in my life ‘I want to do that,'” Zabawa said.
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Now, he’s the one keeping people in the game, something he loves to be able to do.
“Here I am, living my best life, helping people get their range of motion restored and able to go back and have functional lives again,” Zabawa said.
The Columbus office of Active Family is one of five Active Family facilities across Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings and Columbus, with three people on staff. While that may seem small, Zabawa said they work hard.
“Right now it is just us three, it’s a small-time crew, but we do good,” Zabawa said.
Office Manager Esmeralda Castorena has been with Active Family for five years, and with the Columbus facility since it opened. While Zabawa does the back-cracking, she is equally dedicated to helping patients get back to their lives.
“It’s about the opportunity to be part of helping impact people’s lives. Trying to reach the community,” Castorena said. “I’m passionate about what chiropractic care can do for everyone and how we can help.”
The building they’re in used to be a Little Caesar’s, Zabawa said. He was involved with setting things up, as it moved him closer to doing what he said he would do when he was younger.
“I remember moving boxes, setting table up, putting chairs together, and lo and behold, like a vision come true we had finally opened,” Zabawa said. “During that time you almost feel like it’s never coming to fruition, but you have faith and it does and it did.”
Active Family specializes in two kinds of chiropractic therapy: passive and active. While the name mentions acupuncture, Zabawa emphasized that this was only a brand name and the Columbus facility does not do acupuncture.
“For passive, we have a roller table to help calm muscles down to help get the range of motion restored within the spine itself,” Zabawa said.
In terms of machinery, Zabawa said the roller tables were his favorite device.
“It’s basically a glorified massager, there’s a series of rollers that come up and brush the spine and maintain that mobility and motion, and it feels so good,” Zabawa said.
The rollers, he added, don’t just massage the muscles but combined with electrical stimulation devices, can teach the muscles that something is wrong.
“We found that those do a beautiful job of getting the body to understand there’s an issue here and getting the muscles to calm down,” Zabawa said. “in combination with adjustment and other therapy we really are a wellness clinic, we want to help people live well for life.”
The other form of treatment, active, involves exercises and stretches to keep the body in its restored state.
“For active we offer therapeutic exercises that help get muscles ready to function again, be more efficient and help get the person back to a functional goal again,” Zabawa said.
At the two-month point after opening, Zabawa said they had hit a 100 patient-per-week milestone, and are now sitting between 130 and 150 a week, after only five months in business.
“We love our jobs, we’re passionate about what we do and when you’re good at something, people tell other people and we’re trying to impact as many people as possible,” Castorena said.
Castorena added that many people don’t know that chiropractic care is important for everyone, from babies to seniors, and that their office tries to reach as many people as they can in hopes of helping people realize that.
“We come with intent and we like to educate not only our patients but our community, so we go out and talk to businesses, offer free sessions to talk to their employees and staff about chiropractic care,” Castorena said.
Zabawa said his favorite part of the job is seeing how people react after an adjustment, when they realize the difference in how they feel.
“When you’ve adjusted their neck or their back and they get off the table and start to move around,” Zabawa said. “That’s when the light goes on and they’re like ‘wait a second, this is good, my body kind of likes this.'”