If your back or neck hurts, it might be your own fault. Mt. Lebanon Chiropractor Dr. Bob Yakovac says many of us unintentionally misalign our spines, causing aches, pains and even troubled sleep. We look up or down at computers and phones instead of placing screens at eye level; we lift heavy grocery bags, or lean over to garden without bending our knees; we leap from cars instead spinning our legs to the side and exiting gently, and we sleep in the wrong positions—on our sides, or worse, our stomachs, instead of on our backs, the preferred position.
For many people, a few visits to Yakovac Family/Sports Chiropractic Center, along with a resolve to follow the exercises, hydration, good nutrition and changes in habits “Dr. Bob” prescribes, can lead to less discomfort, more energy, better sleep and improved general wellness. Yakovac and his staff have been a fixture on Cochran Road near the Virginia Manor Shops since 1988, but early this year, as he celebrates 30 years in practice, they will move to newly renovated space at the corner of Cochran Road and Cedar Boulevard just across the street from La Gourmandine French bakery.
It’s no surprise Yakovac likes La Gourmandine. He and his wife, Tamara, once owned a French bakery. Here’s the story: “Tammy,” a Belle Vernon girl who met Bob when he was a Monessen High basketball star, stuck with him through W & J College and the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. So, when he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic, they headed to Charlottesville, Virginia, where Tammy planned to pursue her master’s and Ph.D. in psychology at University of Virginia. Bob planned to start a practice, but was sidetracked by the opportunity to open a business. A friend who owned a French bakery offered them advice and assistance in opening a similar bakery in another part of town. The entrepreneurial Yakovacs decided to give it a try, and they opened the successful Zandi’s. Tammy never did get her Ph. D., and they eventually decided against making croissants a career, but the couple has worked side by side ever since. They eventually returned to Pittsburgh, where Dr. Bob launched his practice with his first office at The Bourse Office Condominiums, and Tammy oversees the office.
The Yakovacs raised sons Joel and Justin on Glenridge Lane in Virginia Manor and today have four grandchildren under age 3. Joel, 34, and his wife, Maggie, of Columbus, have triplets—a boy and two girls. Justin, 33, and his wife, Lindsay, of Denver, have a boy.
Yakovac works with patients from infants to geriatrics. He has treated many professional athletes, including players from the Steelers, Pirates and Penguins, and has worked with the Pitt and University of Cincinnati (where son Joel played) football teams. At the invitation of Artistic Director Patricia Wilde, he worked with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre for 20 years, where he established a comprehensive wellness program for the company and ensured dancers were fit for the stage. Among some of his special patients are people dealing with post-concussion syndrome and pregnant women. He was a founder of the Allegheny General Hospital Back Pain Institute, has been featured in the Journal of America Chiropractic Association and has received many professional honors.
Holistic medicine is trending today, but chiropractors have been talking about “the triad of health—looking at a person as a whole, physical, chemical and emotional”—since 1895, Yakovac says. “The purpose of the triad is to get to the source of the problem and fix that problem so it can’t happen again,” he says.
Fixing the problem once and for all likely will require lifestyle changes for the patient. “Drugs don’t heal,” Yakovac says. “The body does the healing.”