By Karl Petschke, exclusive to TorontoPATH.com
While the PATH is home to some of Toronto’s most successful, established professionals, with each passing year it is shaped more and more by the fresh faces, those hoping to find their own home in the underground. And, though it’s hard not to notice the affect it has had on our community, one up-and-comer is going a step further, making a contribution that you won’t just notice. You’ll feel it.
It may have taken a whole lot of dedication to have gotten Melissa Givelos to where she is today, and even more hard work, but now she finds herself on the cusp of an exciting new career. And it’s one that will no doubt be exciting for many who walk the PATH as well, especially those who have already spent years here, who have found success. Because these corridors may protect us from the elements, they may keep us warm and dry, but hurrying on your way to work, navigating busy food courts, squeezing onto crowded trains, it still takes a whole lot out of you. With the work week only getting busier, and the PATH only getting longer, we could all stand to do ourselves a favour, and give our bodies a break from our 9 to 5, rush hour lifestyle.
That’s where Melissa’s story on the PATH begins. It doesn’t matter if you hurt yourself exercising, or just woke up with an ache, if you’re a professional athlete or a banker. With two degrees, and over seven years of on-the-job learning under her belt, there’s no question that Melissa has the skills and the knowledge to back up her motivation. And, as a licensed chiropractor now serving patients at not one but two Athlete’s Care locations, she’s motivated to help her patients feel their best, and guide them on their road to recovery.
No, she isn’t just in this to hastily crack a few vertebrae and send you on your way. There is a lot more to modern chiropractics than most think, Melissa tells me, “Most people do think that a chiropractor just treats the spine, and while we are really well versed in the spine, we do treat everything. We’re very well-trained in anatomy, every nerve, every muscle, every bone in the body.” And that’s an important aspect of her job, she continues, because it can be difficult for the untrained eye to discern the cause behind pain in the first place, a sore back could stem from a strained hip, or knee, or any number of problems. Starting to remind you of your commute? Of that soreness that kept you in bed a few extra minutes this morning?
Well, that`s why Melissa is here, to help, that`s the passion that has driven her through all these years of studying and training. She doesn’t want to be just another chiropractor, she doesn’t want her work to be fuel for more scepticism, she tells me, “working at Athlete’s Care really kept me focussed, because there’s a lot of stigma, a negative air around chiropractics, because of the image that some chiropractors give off, but working at this kind of location really kept me focussed on what I wanted to do, and how I wanted to practice.” And it comes as no surprise, in such a facility as Athlete’s Care, it would be hard not to get inspired.
Melissa has spent years learning alongside some of the best, not only fellow chiropractors, but orthopaedic specialists, physiotherapists, and massage therapists. It’s informed her understanding of not just her own work, but of the health care industry in general. She maintains that when it comes to healthcare, it’s all about the patient, and that there are times when practitioners’ egos have to be set aside for the sake of a patient’s well being. “Sometimes you have to know what your limitations are, and when to refer out, or have someone refer to you,” she explains, “That’s a huge thing that we’re trying to do now in health care, make different professions familiar with each other, because there’s no one thing that can make a patient better.”
Her attitude doesn’t just reflect a refreshing commitment to ethical, responsible practice, but hints at a movement that is taking place in medicine across the country, and around the world. And it’s a movement Melissa finds herself at the forefront of; having the good fortune to get her start at one of the most sophisticated sports medicine clinics in the country. She may not know exactly where this promising new career is taking her, but she does know that she’s happy to have the opportunity to be helping the pros get back on their game, and helping you and I get back on our feet. “If someone can’t walk,” she tells me, “because they’ve hurt their back or their leg or their hip, that’s devastating for them. So for them to get even some type of relief is really a great feeling.”
Now, I’m not going to say that it isn’t a great feeling. But what I will say is that right now, sitting at this desk, I think it would feel a whole lot better to be able to walk into Athlete’s Care, knowing that with Melissa’s help, it won’t be long before that feeling of trains and stairs and corridors, before the strain of this 9 to 5, rush hour lifestyle, will seem like a thing of the past.