He’s got your back

Former bicycle racer Jason Gonzales shifts gears to chiropractic care

PHOTO by Brittany Waterstradt

Jason Gonzales’ first visit to a chiropractor wasn’t for a stiff neck or sore back. Rather, it was to improve his performance as a cyclist. “As most athletes do, I was looking for ways to make my body perform at a higher level,” he said. “So I talked to more experienced racers to find out what they were doing to help improve performance, and chiropractic care was a common answer. I also noticed the other people in the waiting room, and was intrigued to see the kinds of health problems chiropractic care was helping.” Gonzales was a three-time state champion in cycling while attending Kentwood High School in Kent, Wash. After graduating in 1998, he raced in national competitions. “I was good at racing, but knew I wasn’t good enough to make a full career out of it,” he said. “I needed to come up with another plan for my life.” So he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Washington in Seattle, and then graduated from the Life Chiropractic College West in Hayward in 2007.

In 2009, Gonzalez, 34, joined the The Specific Chiropractic Center of Chico, where he focuses on migraine relief through upper cervical chiropractic care. Learn more online at www.drjasongonzales.com, or call Gonzales at 893-1446.

How did you decide to make chiropractic care your career?

I was always interested in health, performance, and working with other people, so naturally a career in chiropractic care was an option for me. It wasn’t my first choice. I thought I would go into physical therapy, until I went to Europe and met an American chiropractor working in the French Alps in Chamonix, France. He opened my eyes to the potential and the kinds of problems I could help people with.

Do you work only in Chico?

I’ve been on two chiropractic outreach trips to El Salvador, in 2007 and 2010. The Specific Chiropractic Center organizes an annual outreach program to bring upper cervical chiropractic care to rural areas that lack adequate health care. In a week, we help thousands of people.

What’s the strangest ailment you’ve ever treated?

I had a patient who had trouble swallowing, both food and liquids. Several times a day he would choke, and sometimes throw it back up—which made it embarrassing to go out to eat. He was considering surgery. The reason I think my adjustments were able to help him is due to how upper cervical adjustments can affect the nervous system. The swallowing action of the esophagus is simply a coordinated muscle contraction. Muscles do what the nervous system tells them to do. So if there were interference between his nervous system and his esophageal muscles, it created a swallowing problem. No interference—or at least much less—resulted in much less of a swallowing problem.

Do you still ride your bike?

Even though I don’t ride every day anymore, cycling still plays a role in my life because it taught me discipline, patience, persistence, and to just enjoy the ride that is life. I very much enjoy it when I do get the chance.