Before G.H. Hanssen became a chiropractor, he was on the other side of the table.
Hanssen, owner at Hanssen Chiropractic Clinic in Grand Island, didn’t even know what chiropractors did when he was in high school. Now, more than 30 years later, he is an accomplished chiropractor who has won many awards.
He’s been Nebraska’s Chiropractor of the Year twice and also won a national chiropractor award. Hanssen is involved with the Nebraska Chiropractic Physicians Association and the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. He said he still grades tests for the board in his free time.
“I’m just foolish enough to do that,” Hanssen said.
He acquired his practice 30 years ago and was intrigued by the chiropractic field in high school.
“I first decided to become a chiropractor from a patient perspective,” Hanssen said. “I injured my back way back in high school from football.”
His mom saw a chiropractor in Hastings and decided to make an appointment for her son after he wasn’t getting better.
“I crawled in and I walked out,” Hanssen said about how much better he felt after the appointment.
“The thing is, I didn’t really know what a chiropractor was. I didn’t know what they were going to do to me,” Hanssen said. “It was kind of foreign to me, but it really left an impression on me.”
Hanssen said he truly loves his job. He’s had many mentors over the years, including his high school shop teacher and other area chiropractors. He said he learned to have a strong work ethic and other ways of looking at things.
After attending school in Minnesota, he and his wife, Dee, moved back to Grand Island. Hanssen’s great-great-grandfather was an original settler of the town.
“Everybody takes pride in their family history,” Hanssen said.
He said he learned a lot in Minnesota, but he “really wanted to get back here” in Grand Island, where he grew up.
Hanssen said one of the coolest things about being a chiropractor is getting to help others.
“Helping people is what it boils down to,” Hanssen said. “At the end of the day you accomplish something. Something good that makes life a little better for someone else.”
He treats generations of families, even without knowing it right away. He said once he gets to know people after a few visits, he finds out from them that they’re often related to other patients.
“That’s always a nice pleasant surprise,” Hanssen said.
He said he doesn’t advertise his business a lot because he gets most of his business from referrals. He credits a trustworthy patient relationship. Hanssen said if he can’t treat someone because it’s beyond his skillset, he refers them to a doctor if needed. He said he truly wants to help people, even if he isn’t the one directly helping them.
Hanssen’s wife, Dee, said she’s amazed at how much her husband enjoys his work.
“He said, ‘If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would continue doing what I do because I love it.’ How many people would say that?” Dee said. “That’s always impressed me.”
Dee said she sees how much her husband cares about people. She said when they go to the grocery store it takes them an hour and a half because he talks to everyone.
“He’s just been a mover and a shaker in the chiropractic field in Nebraska,” Dee said.
On knowing what it’s like to be the patient, Hanssen said “you know what they’re going through, you know what they’re feeling” when he treats clients.
Sometimes, he can’t help people because it’s not something he can fix, such as a herniated disc. That’s when he refers people to other medical professionals in the area.
When people come to him with pain, Hanssen said, “You do everything you can in order to get them out of that situation as soon as possible.”
“It really gives you empathy for those people who are suffering like that,” Hanssen said. “It’s rewarding when you can bring them out of that.”
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