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Dr Tolonen’s Story

Dr. Tolonen shares the path which lead her to becoming a chiropractor:


Have you ever wondered why people pick certain jobs? I have always been intrigued by people, and my especially curiosity spikes when it comes to their careers. Did you become a fireman because one saved your life? Did you become a teacher after one helped you find your passion for learning? Did you become a police officer to make a positive impact in someone’s life and/or protect people?

Before I decided to become a chiropractor, I had a hard time figuring out what path may best suit me. When I was a child, I dreamed of being a veterinarian (probably so I could play with animals all day!) or a teacher. As I got older, the idea of being a detective or forensic investigator rose to the top of my list. I was a police cadet for many years as a result of this interest, and absolutely loved it. However, I had a hard time envisioning myself as a patrolwoman; I wanted people to be happy to see me, and not have a negative or fearful response when I approached. I am grateful for my law enforcement friends and admire them greatly, but it just did not seem to be my right fit.

As I neared college, a variety of possible jobs loomed in my mind; should I be a dentist? A counselor? Maybe a teacher? My high school guidance counselor constantly told me I should look into nursing, and although the medical field interested me, I had not interacted with many nurses and did not know much about them. Although I didn’t know much about my future, I did know what was important to me: feeling like I was making a difference in someone’s life, helping people, constantly doing something different, and having a flexible schedule so I could accommodate my future family.

Right before I graduated from community college, one of my classes required us to interview two people we knew regarding their jobs: what did they like about work? What did they hate? What were the pros and cons of their field? At the time, I was working at Costco Wholesale, and interviewed Paula, the physical therapist. I loved talking to her. She was spunky, vibrant, and happy. She raved about her job, noting how much she loved helping different people and how she had the ability to see different problems every day.

After talking to Paula, I decided to look into physical therapy. I was excited to have found a potential path, and enrolled in the pre-physical therapy track at Portland State University for the coming fall. During my three years at PSU, I kept my goal in the back of my mind; sometimes it was in the forefront since I was spending lots of time with different physical therapists. I shadowed at a handful of different clinics to figure out which realm might excite me most.

I spent time with the PT at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in the burn unit, which was fascinating. I shadowed a PT in a training and rehab facility, which was almost exactly what I envisioned myself doing someday, and I shadowed multiple private clinics, including one opened by two guys who were previously trainers. They had a very sports and athletic focused practice, which I loved! After finding the two training/rehab/athletic focused facilities, I knew I found where I wanted to be. These people were FIXING people’s problems and correcting their issues, allowing their patients to get back to the activities they loved.

Flash forward a few years: my boyfriend at the time (now husband!) and I were in a car accident after being hit by a drunk driver. I was seeking PT, and my husband was seeking chiropractic and massage.  We were both getting better, and we both wanted the other to try what we were doing; he really wanted me to see a chiropractor to see what I thought about it and whether it would help me. I was nervous and hesitant because I had no idea what chiropractic care would entail, but I made an appointment and went anyway. I had never heard of a chiropractor before!

At my first appointment, I was so nervous that I asked my friend (who was working there) to hold my hand during my first adjustment! The doctor made me feel really comfortable, and asked me about my career path. I told him I had applied to and interviewed for PT school, and he asked me why. After telling him my reasons, he told me a little about the chiropractic field, and I realized I could accomplish the same things with either degree. My husband and I looked into chiropractic school (to be honest- he’s the one who set up a tour with them and nudged me to apply!), and here I am.


Thanks for reading! Happy Holidays!

We Are Moving to Oregon City!

It is with excitement and equal sadness that we announce our move to Oregon City.

Our transition will occur through the month of November.

moving offices


Dr. Tolonen has enjoyed being part of the Wilsonville community, and although this change is unexpected, it is coupled with excitement and hope. An opportunity to become part of, and subsequently take over, a well-established clinic in Oregon City presented itself, and Dr. Tolonen decided to jump on the chance to continue growing her practice closer-to-home.


Dr. Tolonen will begin working at the office of Dr. Maurice Smith on Wednesdays and Fridays beginning November 4th, 2015, and eventually be there Wednesday through Saturday.


Our office in Wilsonville will remain open on Mondays through November (Nov 2, 9, 16, 23, 30) to ensure patients are still able to be treated if they cannot, or choose to not, follow us to Oregon City. A different chiropractor (Dr. Ryan McCormic) will be taking over Dr. Tolonen’s current office space in Wilsonville. He and Dr. Tolonen attended chiropractic school together, and his clinic will be opening on December 1st, 2015.

We want this transition to be as smooth as possible for our patients. Please let us know if we can help you in any way! As always, you can reach us through the website contact form, by phone (503-482-6408), or via email (


Thanks for making our 6 months in Wilsonville a rewarding experience.

We look forward to seeing you in Oregon City!

August Schedule Changes

Beginning Wednesday August 12th, our office hours will vary, as Dr Tolonen will be providing coverage for a clinic requiring immediate assistance after unexpected events.

We will do our best to accommodate our current patients’ schedules and needs, even if it means coming in early or staying late.



Wednesday, August 12th: HALF DAY PM: CLOSED 9am-1pm, OPEN 2pm-6pm; may close later to accommodate patient needs.

Friday, August 14th: OPEN 11am-6pm; may close later to accommodate patient needs.

Monday, August 17th: HALF DAY PM: CLOSED 9am-1pm, OPEN 2pm-6pm; may close later to accommodate patient needs.

Wednesday, August 20th: OPEN, 9am-1230pm, and 230-6pm; may open earlier AND/OR close later to accommodate patient needs.

Friday, August 21st: HALF DAY AM: OPEN 9am-1pm, CLOSED 2pm-6pm; may open early to accommodate patient needs.

Monday, August 24th: HALF DAY PM: CLOSED 9am-1pm, OPEN 2pm-6pm; may close later to accommodate patient needs.

Wednesday, August 26th: HALF DAY AM: OPEN 9am-1pm, CLOSED 2pm-6pm; may open early to accommodate patient needs.

Friday, August 28th: CLOSED ALL DAY.

Monday, August 31st: back to normal, 9am-6pm.


Here’s a visual:

Active Oregon Chiropractic Schedule Changes August 2015

Our Open House

On Sunday July 19th, Active Oregon Chiropractic held an open house and invited our community, colleagues, and patients to check out the clinic. There was plenty of food, delicious cake, and an array of drinks for everyone to enjoy. We also invited attendees to take part in a raffle. Our prizes included a TheraBand foam roller, three chiropractic goodie/recovery bags, and a ChiroFlow pillow. You can check out our pillow conversation in our last blog post.

Here are some photos from our event, in no particular order:



Active Oregon Chiropractic - open house IMG_8299 

Active Oregon Chiropractic - cake2 Active Oregon Chiropractic - Dr Stephanie Tolonen - Dr Bronwyn Illingworth - colleagues 

Active Oregon Chiropractic - Dr Stephanie Tolonen - guests2  Active Oregon Chiropractic - Dr Stephanie Tolonen - Jamie Hogland  Active Oregon Chiropractic - Dr Stephanie Tolonen - Dr Bronwyn Illingworth - 2  

Active Oregon Chiropractic - Dr Stephanie Tolonen - guests  Active Oregon Chiropractic - guests  Active Oregon Chiropractic - Dr Halley Moore - Dr Jennifer Barnes

 Active Oregon Chiropractic - guests2Active Oregon Chiropractic - Dr Halley Moore - Dr Stephanie Tolonen


Thanks to all who helped us celebrate the opening of our chiropractic clinic in Wilsonville!


Pillow Talk

Sleep is an important factor in our lives. We need it to rest, recover, and rejuvenate. After injuries, it becomes extra important because our bodies need it to heal. When we don’t sleep well, we can be irritable, lethargic, and unproductive. So, what happens if we are sleeping a decent number of hours, but not getting good quality sleep? I recently got a FitBit for my birthday (thanks, hubs!), and one of my favorite features is that it tracks my sleep. It was very eye opening to see the times I was awake vs. asleep vs. restless. In the past few months, I’m restless an average of 10 times per night. One night I was restless 26 times, which amounted to over 60 minutes of disturbed sleep. I’m not sure if it is the heat (we don’t have air conditioning!), but it makes mornings mighty difficult.


I always tell patients that pillows, mattresses, and shoes are the three hardest things to recommend to patients. We spent most of our time using these three things, and one size does NOT fit all! If you’re struggling with good quality sleep, there are a lot of different things you can consider; let’s talk about pillows.


                      ChiroFlow pillow small  Foam Cervical Pillow


1) How thick is your pillow? If you’re a side-sleeper, it is easy to have a pillow that is too high or too low. To check this factor, feel the angle of your neck when you’re standing. Hopefully it is relatively straight! Now, lay on your side without a pillow. Your neck is tilted far to one side, right? Your shoulder hits the bed, and your head falls to the side in the space created by your shoulder. Your pillow should fill up that space without putting your ear too close to one shoulder or the other. In essence, you want to mimic where your neck is when you’re standing. If you’re a back sleeper, the same thing applies: you don’t want your chin too close, or too far, from your chest. Aim for a position similar to standing. BONUS: support the lower part of your neck, just above the level of the shoulders, with a thicker part of your pillow. You can also roll a small towel under this area to provide extra support. If you’re a stomach sleeper, you might not need a pillow at all! Sometimes stomach sleepers experience low back pain; if that’s you, consider putting a small pillow under your tummy near your belly button to provide support to your low back.

2) How old is your pillow? Even if it is the most comfortable pillow you’ve ever had, it may be worn out, and not as supportive as it once was. Gravity breaks down the material from your head spending countless hours in one (or a few) places. And don’t forget about the buildup of dander, skin cells, and potentially mildew or fungus. Ick!

3) How firm is your pillow? If you sleep on your side, you need more firmness to support the head, neck, and potentially shoulder. Some side sleepers find foam, gel, buckwheat, and feather pillows to be a good fit. Back sleepers can often get away with softer pillows, because there is less impact of gravity on their pillow (think about the space difference from your head to the bed when you’re on your back vs. side).

4) How do I pick the right material? Gel and waterbase and foam… OH MY! They all serve a purpose, as do feather and buckwheat and others. I found an article that describes the different types, and who might like them; you can read it here. I’ve used feather, foam, and water. For me, the best fit was a waterbase pillow because of the ability customize the amount of water I wanted. It comes with a funnel which allows you to add the water yourself and maximize comfort for YOU. I have used the ChiroFlow pillow since my first car accident in 2009, and love it.  It has been rated the “#1 chiropractic recommended pillow” by three independent clinical studies, which were conducted at Logan University (formerly Logan College of Chiropractic, located in Missouri) and Johns Hopkins University. It is very comfortable, and a favorite of my husband as well as myself. His pillow has a lot more water than mine, and we both quickly notice if we grab the other’s pillow. There are just so many options out there; your best bet is to try a few and see how they feel. Keep in mind where and how much support you need. (NOTE: I’m not a ChiroFlow pillow representative; I’ve just had many patients ask the type of pillow I use and why, so wanted to share.)

and finally…

5) How do I know which pillow is for me? The real test is to find one that fits your needs (back, side, stomach sleeper) and is comfortable. While this article may be helpful, all the good advice in the world won’t do much for you if you’re miserable. Generally speaking, a thinner pillow is probably better is often better for back sleepers, and a thicker, more-supportive pillow is probably better for side sleepers. Keep these components in mind when you are pillow shopping.


Possible quick fixes:

Pillow too low? Instead of buying a brand new one, try putting a folded bath towel or hand towel under the pillow to elevate it.

Pillow too high? If you’re a pillow stacker, try using just one pillow instead of two.

Pillow not supporting your neck? Try rolling up a small hand towel to place under your neck.


Pillow Fitting


Thanks for reading! Sweet dreams!

Let’s Run!

RUN. The word might scare you. It may excite you. It may conjure terrible (or wonderful) memories from a race you completed, or perhaps of a miserable, 3-mile final during your high school PE class (yes- it was my final!). Whether this word fires you up or burns you out, running provides an excellent way to get into shape and stay healthy.

Running is great because you can do it almost any time and any place. Despite what someone may tell you, all you really need are shoes, comfy clothes, and a sports bra if you’re a female. There are all kinds of extra gadgets and accessories that can make running more enjoyable, but they aren’t required. Keep it simple! You can always enhance your run with these things later.

Why not get up and go? Be outside; run free and enjoy the open road. Or the open track. Or open trail. The Pacific Northwest has so much to offer. Relax, unwind, and blow off some steam. And rev-up your heart beat while you’re at it. Share your favorite run spots or races in the comments below.

If you haven’t run before, or if you’re just getting back into it, make sure you start small. Don’t overdo it! Short distances, slower speeds, and minimal hills are things to consider if you’re just starting to run after a break. Follow the 10% rule, and don’t increase your run distance more than 10 percent of what you did the following week. Runner’s World has a good article about the 10% rule here.

We are here to provide you chiropractic care during your journey! Whether you need an adjustment, some massage therapy, or even kinesiotaping (or taping with Rock Tape), we are here to help you run better. You can always make an appointment at 503-482-6408. Remember that we are in the office Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so please leave a message if we miss you.


Thanks for reading! Happy Running!