Meet your neighbors: Chiropractic couple focuses on children

By MEGAN STROUP
neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

Photo courtesy of Kelli Winarski

Dr. David Winarski said first-generation chiropractors usually get into the practice two ways: Either their life is saved by it or they were totally ignorant of the practice and were converted.

David said he falls into the second category and his wife, Dr. Kelli Winarski, falls into the first.

“I always thought chiropractors were quacks,” David admitted. “I was one of those 180 miracle stories.”

David said he never would have agreed to go to a chiropractor six years ago. This changed while he was studying radiology on the path to becoming a trauma surgeon. His anatomy professor at Northampton Community College was a chiropractor, and David said he became interested in chiropractic work the more he learned about the general science of how the body works.

“The only place you can truly get the facts about (chiropractic) is from a licensed chiropractor,” David said. “Popular opinion tends to be a distorted idea of what chiropractic really is and can do for you.”

David added chiropractic work fit his personal philosophy.

“I was always one to not take medicine for any reason, preferring to let my body do what it needed,” David explained. “The most basic premise to chiropractic is the removal of interference from the body so the body can heal itself.”

Contrarily, Kelli said she developed an interest in chiropractic work after a running injury in college.

“I kind of felt like an old lady in a 20-year-old’s body,” Kelli remembered. “I was working at a coffee shop and couldn’t even walk up two stairs.”

Her boss told her to take the afternoon off to visit a chiropractor, and Kelli said it was then she discovered her new profession.

“Two adjustments later, the pain I’d been experiencing for over a year was gone,” Kelli said.

The couple met while they were both students at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, where they received their Doctor of Chiropractic degrees. Kelli also studied biology and chemistry at the University of Northern Iowa, and David also received a bachelor’s degree in human anatomy from Palmer College. They married in July 2009 and had their son, Samuel, on Easter Sunday.

Kelli said Samuel was adjusted only an hour after his birth. She explained childbirth can be traumatic to the spine and neck region of the infant, and it’s important to correct the nervous system as soon as possible.

“Once damage to the spine is there, it’s generally not reversible,” Kelli added. “You can stop the progression but not get back what you lost.”

David likened the importance of chiropractic to dental care — the sooner you start taking caring of your teeth, the longer they’re going to last. He said it’s the same way with your nervous system.

“The earlier you get attention to the nervous system and the more educated the parents become, the better off (the kids) are in the long run and the fewer problems or care will be required,” David said.

The couple’s new practice, Family First Chiropractic & Wellness Center (located in Cherry Hill at 2011 Corona Road, Suite 103) is scheduled to open on August 9 and has a special focus on pediatrics.

David completed the didactic portion of his post-doctoral work in pediatrics and pregnancy in June. He is entering the research phase to get his certification to work with children and pregnancy, which requires a 360-hour accreditation.

Kelli completed 75 percent of her post-doctoral work in pediatrics and pregnancy as well. Both doctors worked with the International Chiropractic Pediatrics Association.

Kelli said seeing how fast the children respond to chiropractic care is her favorite part of her work.

“You see some kids that are prone to sickness,” she said. “I’ve never seen a chiropractic baby that’s prone to sickness. The nervous system is working the way it should be.”

The newly married couple said they decided to settle in Columbia because of the friendly people and healthy atmosphere, including the bike lanes, trails and farmers markets.

Kelli added they wanted to live within five hours of her family in Iowa, so they drew a circle on a map and looked at the towns inside, including Columbia. The Winarskis then narrowed the location for their practice down to Cherry Hill.

“This area has a huge opportunity with all the different health-oriented businesses,” Kelli said. “It was just very attractive. I see this area really blossoming.”

The couple is also looking forward to the arrival of Focus on Health, a practice owned by fellow chiropractor Curt Kippenberger.

David explained having another chiropractor nearby will be a great resource for patients the Winarskis are not able to help.

“The chiropractic principle is the same — removing interference — but the approach is often times very different,” David said, noting that Kippenberger attended a different chiropractic school.

In addition to opening their own practice, the Winarskis offer free wellness lectures around town. The lectures focus on general health and include topics such as Staying Fit While You Sit, Growing Healthy Children and How to Stay Young the First 100 Years.

The Winarskis will be holding a school supply drive as part of the Family First Chiropractic & Wellness Center grand opening on August 9. Those who contribute school supplies will receive their first visit (including a consultation, examination and x-rays if necessary) at no charge. Supplies can be delivered to the Walmart by Highway 63 on July 31 or at the Winarskis’ office after August 1. Supplies will be donated to the Salvation Army for distribution.

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