Interview with Dr. Melissa Bartoszewski, owner of Stumptown Chiropractic in the St. Johns Neighborhood of North Portland

Interview with Dr. Melissa Bartoszewski, conducted by local REALTOR® Frank Marzetta, a St. Johns resident and Realtor specializing in North Portland.

Tell me a little bit about your business.

I opened this practice in 2013 and love being in the St. Johns neighborhood. I moved here from Texas where I previously had a practice. I also practiced in North Carolina for a year before that. I have a general wellness practice, and specialize in NeuroKinetic Therapy. I also work with athletes at some local gyms in the area. I’m really here for St. Johns residents so they can walk into to my office and get the care that they need here in the neighborhood, without having to travel.

Stumptown ChiropracticStumptown ChiropracticStumptown Chiropractic

Why did you become a chiropractor?

I knew since 2nd grade that I wanted to be a doctor but, just wasn't sure what type of doctor. I was always fascinated with science and anatomy. In undergraduate school I was exploring different avenues like dental school, med school and PA school. I really liked the idea of chiropractic helping people without the use of drugs or surgery. I never liked taking medications growing up and decided to learn more about it. I talked to some current student that were in chiropractic school and decided that it was the right place for me.

What kind of help do you give people?

The main thing with chiropractic is that your back gets adjusted. When you hear a pop sound, it is gas being released from the joints. It’s not cracking bones like some people think. That adjustment helps put motion back into the spine. Old injuries, poor posture, desk jobs and repetitive motions can cause your spine to stop moving properly and get out of alignment. The adjustment puts that motion back into the spine. The nerves, muscles and joints all work together, so if the joints are not moving properly they can irritate the nerves in the area and cause muscle spasms. The goal is to put motion back into those joints and get people moving well again. Chiropractic also helps with disc injuries (bulges, herniations), numbness/tingling, headaches, knee/elbow/ankle pain. Chiropractors don’t just work on backs.

What is NeuroKinetic Therapy?

The brain will create dysfunctional movement patterns from old injuries. Maybe it’s something you might have done as a kid or from past surgeries and scars. NeuroKinetic Therapy helps find what muscles or movements aren't working properly. It finds the muscle or movement pattern that's over working in your body. You might think your back is always hurt, but maybe the problem is from something in your hip or due to sitting all day, and certain muscles getting turned “off”, so to speak. Sometimes your glutes aren't working so something else will pick up the slack and eventually you'll have pain somewhere else. The NeuroKinetic therapy technique helps to “reset” these patterns and actually correct them instead of just working on the area that hurts. It helps to correct the dysfunction, allows your body to move properly and not have these issues come up time and time again.

What made you open your own practice?

I worked for a practice, as an associate, right out of school and just saw many, many patients daily. I got burnt out quickly. I like the freedom of being able to practice how I want, set my own hours and do my own thing. I moved to Texas for a few years and opened my own practice and then decided to come to Portland. It's the best of all the places I've lived in and to practice in. Portland feels the most at home for me. I feel welcome and comfortable here. Oregon is a great state for chiropractors to practice in and the people here are familiar with chiropractic care. They've usually been exposed to it at some point in their life, so they're not skeptical of it. I like being my own boss, which does have some challenges. I don't have any employees, and like that I can offer one-on-one care from scheduling to check out.

What makes your practice unique?

I don't have any staff at my office so I do all the billing, the treatment, the scheduling and I think you get a really nice one-on-one interaction experience being at my office. I'm the one that greets you, treats you and checks up on you! I don't think you get that at a lot of chiropractic offices or clinics that have multiple providers and multiple staff members. I like to have that intimate one-on-one experience. My sessions are usually 30 to 60 minutes, so it's a great educational experience for patients. My patients can ask me as many questions as they want and not feel like they’re rushed or not getting the full experience that they were looking for. I really get to know my patients and understand their health goals.

What is the most gratifying part of your job?

Being able to have patients walk in with pain, crouched over or with a severe headache and then walking out feeling like a totally different person! They were struggling when they walked in and afterwards can easily get up off the table without prescribing any drugs and they didn't have surgery. An adjustment to their spine can provide so much relief. Some people have had pain for years; they’ve tried different medications, gone to numerous doctors and had no relief. When they get adjusted and have instant relief, it’s just amazing to know I did that with my hands.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to open their own business?

It would be to ask everyone and anyone for advice and suggestions. Everyone has their own personal experience and you can only learn from that. Don’t afraid to go out on your own. A lot of people are afraid to start their own thing because of money and some are concerned with lack of business experience. You just have to remember you have the training to do it and that's what you went to school for. Have a business plan and marketing plan prepared. Don’t be afraid to take the risk. Know that you can be successful and it's just up to you how much blood, sweat and tears you want to put into the production. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it in the end. It will take persistence and a lot of dedication, but it can be done.

Why is it important to support local businesses?

Supporting local businesses helps the community on many levels; everybody benefits from it. Small businesses are people that are just trying to make a living by doing what they're passionate about. Another reason to support local businesses is to get a better experience. You get that one-on-one experience with people; they recognize you and know you by name; you see them at different establishments, sometimes at their own businesses and bump into them on the weekends around the neighborhood. You don’t get that experience at big box stores. You feel like you're a part of a close-knit family. When you support local, most of that revenue stays in the actual neighborhood. People support my business, and in turn, I am supporting the local coffee shops, restaurants, massage therapists, artists, etc. We can all help one another.

What do you like most about living and working in St Johns?

I love being able to walk to work and home for lunch. I like to run into patients I know around the neighborhood. I’m a board member for the St. Johns Neighborhood Association and enjoy seeing my patients at the meetings. I can see that they are passionate about improving and preserving the feel of St. Johns, just like I am. I’m happy that they see that I'm involved in St. Johns. Volunteering is an important aspect of my life and I took over organizing the annual leaf cleanup. It's awesome to help out the community with fellow neighbors! There are so many things I love about just being in this neighborhood. Everyone's so friendly and it just feels like a big family. Also, being able to take my dog to work with me is a huge bonus.

Stumptown ChiropracticStumptown Chiropractic

This interview was conducted by Frank Marzetta, a Realtor specializing in North Portland Real Estate and a St. Johns resident. I support local business owners in St. Johns and love to tell their stories!  You can always reach me at 503-515-8967.

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