2020 will mark the 40th anniversary of Campbell Chiropractic Center in Rohnert Park, led by Dr. Steve Campbell. Even though his childhood was in Michigan, Dr. Campbell feels that he really “grew up” in this area because this is where he first started his practice, where he met and married his wife and where he raised three children. He loves his work and loves this city.
Due to a fortuitous event in his late teens, Dr. Campbell changed his original plans of becoming a dentist to follow the path of chiropractic work.
“I was a freshman in college and had injured myself playing basketball,” says Dr. Steve Campbell. “I had a really severe low back injury that developed into low back pain and sciatica. I could hardly move. I went to the student clinic and the doctor looked at me and said ‘there’s nothing wrong with you.’”
Following the advice of his mother, Dr. Campbell went to see a chiropractor. Not only did he fix his back pain and allow him to walk normally again, the chiropractor thoroughly explained the injury and why it caused the nerve problems in his back and down through his legs. He had discussions with the doctor about his future plans of becoming a dentist. The doctor suggested the field of chiropractic medicine instead. After some thought about the suggestion, he brought the idea up to his older brother.
As luck would have it, his brother, who also had previous experience of being helped from an injury by a chiropractor post automobile accident, suggested they go to chiropractic school together. Because his brother was six years older and ready to quickly make this career change, Dr. Campbell was motivated to work through every summer and managed to finish chiropractic school, which they completed in Atlanta, Georgia, by the age of 24. The two brothers took the chiropractic state board exams in Florida and their home state of Michigan and decided to try for California as well.
“In the chiropractic world, California and Florida were considered two of the more difficult boards to pass,” says Campbell. “I’d never been west of the Mississippi my whole life and thought I’d take the California board as a competitive type of thing and see if I could pass it.”
After taking the board exams in Los Angeles, the brothers decided to rent a car for a couple weeks and tour around California, waiting to hear back from the exam board about their results. They drove from San Diego to Eureka, getting to know the state and slowly falling in love with it. It was in Santa Rosa when they heard the news that they had both passed. Given that both did not have families or other ties yet, they felt that this was as good a place as any to start their practice. They loved the weather and the beauty of Sonoma county and the proximity to mountains and beach. In 1980 they started their practice right there on Santa Rosa Avenue. A year later, Dr. Campbell decided to open his own practice and moved to Rohnert Park.
His first office was in Rohnert Park’s original shopping center where 49er Pet is today, which he rented from Maurice Fredericks, one of the co-founders of Rohnert Park. His office remained there for ten years until the city started building up the H and G sections, and he decided to move to a newer section. So, in 1991 he moved to the shopping center on the corner of Country Club Drive and Golf Course Drive. He has been there ever since.
While his practice remained in the same location for almost thirty years now, he himself has moved all over Rohnert Park.
“I first lived in the apartment complex that was right across the street from where the shopping center is on Adrian Drive,” says Campbell. “I lived there about a year and then during that time I was dating my girlfriend who ended up being my wife. Then we moved to a bigger apartment in the C section. Then I started having kids and every time we had another kid I had to get a bigger house. So I had a house in the G section, the R section, and now in the H section. Then I stopped having kids – it was getting too expensive!”
All together the Campbells raised two boys and a girl who attended Rohnert Park schools as well.
Over the years Dr. Campbell has seen a lot of both positive and negative changes in the medical industry. The paperwork has exponentially increased over the past couple decades, but so has the respect, understanding and appreciation for chiropractic work. Most insurances now cover the services and many of his referrals come from other medical doctors.
“I like that I am able to help people because I’ve been on the other side and I know what it’s like,” says Campbell. “I will say that in the 40 years I’ve been in practice in Rohnert Park almost the whole time, I can’t really say that I ever met what I would consider a really unpleasant person. I’m serious when I say that. Everyone says that Rohnert Park is the friendly city and I really think it is.”