Chiropractor likes small-town setting for practice

Dr. Stefan Getzik stands in front of his business, Getzik Family Chiropractic, on South Main Street in Washington on Wednesday. Photo:Jim McNutt/Observer-Reporter

Dr. Stefan Getzik is a chiropractor. Spines are his specialty. He also is well aware of what, traditionally, has been the backbone of downtown Washington – Main Street.

“My grandfather (Fred Harshman) owned Isaly’s (on North Main),” said Getzik, who grew up in the Windsor Highlands section of South Strabane Township.

“I thought it was cool that he was so young when he started and had the store for 40 years. That’s one reason why I like small-town business ownership. I wanted to open in Washington.”

He has, right along that spine. Getzik Family Chiropractic LLC launched Oct. 11 at 182 S. Main, in what had been the chiropractic offices of Dr. Andrew Lucas, who is practicing elsewhere in Washington.

Three-and-a-half months in, “it has been a good homecoming,” Getzik said. “The reception I’ve gotten in Washington is unbelievable. I’m really in the right place.

“We wanted to help residents of Washington and townships around here with a different type of care for their problems.”

Chiropractic care, according to dictionary.com, is “a therapeutic system based primarily upon the interactions of the spine and nervous system, the method of treatment usually being to adjust the segments of the spinal column.”

Chiropractors are not medical doctors, but doctors of chiropractic.

“Only about 3 percent of the population uses chiropractors, and that’s a shame,” Getzik said. “We want to show how we can take care of your symptoms and pain.

“People go to a medical doctor and take medication for pain. What we do is adjust the spine. People with headaches, migraines, neck pain, lower back pain may feel good afterward. Some people may have trouble going to the bathroom. We treat their lower back and they’re fine. We’ve had a lot of success working with pregnant patients.”

His facility has five rooms – therapy bay, examination room, chiropractic room, massage room and the doctor’s office – with plenty of nearby parking. Getzik, 28, has three others on staff: massage therapist Jessica Lockett of Washington; his wife Julie, the office manager; and his father, David, a certified public accountant, overseeing finances. David has a practice in Washington.

Appointments are available, but walk-ins are accepted, and a free one-hour massage is available to all new patients. Call 724-222-2416 or visit getzikfamilychiropractic.com.

As for insurance, Getzik Family Chiropractic takes Blue Cross/Blue Shield, UPMC, Aetna, Cigna, United, Health America and Medicare.

“We’re waiting to see on Medicaid,” Dr. Getzik said.

The clinic, which is closed only on Sunday, opens at 8 a.m. the other days. It closes at 6 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 2 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 4 p.m. Friday; and 1 p.m. Saturday.

For Getzik, the past three months have been a whirlwind. He not only embarked on this professional endeavor in October, but became a first-time father when daughter Collins arrived.

Julie, father and baby live in South Strabane, in the township where he grew up – and where he developed a passion for hockey, and the skills to play at a high level.

A defenseman, he played in local leagues, then at Bishop Canevin Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, to which he transferred in 10th grade. “I wanted to go to school in a smaller setting,” said Getzik, who attended Trinity High as a freshman.

He then played at the Junior A level in New England for two years. It was a positive athletic experience that also helped shape his professional aspirations.

“I got an adjustment from a team chiropractor before one game,” he recalled. “It was good. It got me interested (in chiropractic care).”

Getzik earned a bachelor’s from California University of Pennsylvania and started to ponder postgraduate options, including medical and osteopathic school. He spoke with Lucas, “who pushed me toward chiropractic.”

The push helped to propel him 650 miles, to Davenport, Iowa, where Getzik enrolled at Palmer College of Chiropractic, the first chiropractic school in the world – and, arguably, the best. It was established in 1897.

He finished the seven-year program there in four, then returned to the region in last February to work at a facility in Sewickley. Getzik was there until September, when he started prepping for his own practice on South Main.

Lucas wasn’t the only Washington chiropractor to have left on imprint on Getzik. The young doctor also credits Donald Wilson, in the Washington Trust Building, for his influence.

“I believe I mimic my chiropractic (methods) after them,” Getzik said. “Those two are definitely my role models.”

He is feeling at home back in his original hometown. Getzik is now a local businessman who rents his offices, but aspires to own and expand. He has a family and coaches Canon-McMillan’s junior varsity hockey team. His transition game is clicking.

“I did think I’d come back to Washington County,” Getzik said. “I wanted my daughter to grow up in this area. People are always friendly and willing to help. I think this is the best place to thrive.”