Stephen Trapani gives an adjustment to patient recently at American Chiropractic Clinic on Isaacs Avenue.

A steady stream of patients strolls in and out of the doors of chiropractic doctor Stephen Trapani’s office, a quiet oasis in the middle of the Isaacs Avenue construction zone.

Trapani has worked 33 years in a practice opened by his father, the late Francis J. “Frank” Trapani, who brought the family to Walla Walla from Honolulu when Stephen was in high school.

“The name Trapani was very recognizable in Honolulu. Irritatingly so to me as a teenager,” Stephen Trapani said.

On following in his dad’s footsteps?

“I wanted to become a chiropractor since before I can remember.”

Trapani focuses on pain relief at American Chiropractic Clinic, 1618 Isaacs Ave. He says 90-95% of patients come in for a short-term remedy to back and neck pain and headaches, which he says are often caused by maladjustment in the spine.

For some patients, the length of time spent in treatment can be measured in minutes: One person was in and out of his office in less time than would be needed to fill a tank of gas. She left with a grin and advise to this reporter to “get an adjustment before you go to your (next appointment).”

A smaller minority of patients with chronic issues may have weakened muscles in the areas of concern, Trapani said. While he’s willing to offer advice and guidance, most people arrive at his door looking only for their pain to be gone, not so much the long-term coaching.

“I adjust them, and in 20 seconds they have a smile on their face,” he said.

Trapani has seen changing times in his specialty, with greater acceptance of chiropractic in the last 20 years.

“It’s come so far,” he said. “I get plenty of referrals from doctors,” and people referred by the VA.

He expects that in coming years, every clinic will have on-site chiropractic services, and he expects many practitioners will welcome being employed in that business model, which comes with fewer entrepreneurial concerns, an aspect of the job Trapani finds more and more in his comfort zone.

Doing good work and having patients spread the news by word-of-mouth of pain relieved keeps people coming through his door, even during the ongoing construction project.

“People find their way here when they’re in pain,” he said.


Alasdair Stewart can be reached at or 509-526-8311.

Alasdair Stewart is the managing editor - operations at the Union-Bulletin. He worked for the U-B from 1994 to 1999, when he moved to New Hampshire. He returned to the Union-Bulletin in 2005.

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