Sergio Azzolino helps heal mind and body as a Chiropractic Neurologist
Sergio Azzolino in his Broadway Street office. He also runs the Brain Balance Achievement Center on Geary Boulevard.
Sergio Azzolino ’87 has had tremendous success as a Chiropractic Neurologist over the years and was even tapped by Gov. Jerry Brown ’55 to serve on the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners a year ago. Still, he claims, he never chose his career.
“In many ways, it chose me,” he said. “I’m answering a calling.”
Azzolino’s own history of sports-related injuries and ulcers, combined with his sense of what a healthy and balanced life should be, has motivated him to become one of the most sought-after neurological chiropractors across the globe.
He is about to take his practice to a new level, as he has started a doctoral program in Functional Neuroscience and Rehabilitation while continuing his full time practice at the Azzolino Chiropractic Neurology and Integrative Wellness clinic on Broadway Street in the city. He also serves as the executive director of the Brain Balance Center of San Francisco and as an assistant professor at the Carrick Institute for Graduate Studies in Florida. In the past, he worked as a senior instructor in the clinical science department at the Life Chiropractic College West.
His efforts have earned him numerous honors. The American Chiropractic Association named him Neurologist of the Year in 1999, and in 2010 the International Conference on Functional Neurology honored him as its Clinician of the Year. He also has held offices with and served on the boards of numerous national professional organizations.
His expertise has led him to work with numerous professional athletes and performers from around the world, to provide care to children in the orphanages of Ecuador, , and to South Africa, where he will be training adults on the Brain Balance approach to treating children with learning disabilities and neurobehavioral disorders.
Azzolino had his start growing up in a traditional Italian family in the Excelsior District of San Francisco. His father drove trucks for Del Monte, and his mother operated a beauty salon out of their Naples Street home. “Ladies would walk in with flat hair and walk out several feet taller with back-combed hairdos.”
He was named Boy of the Year in 1983 at Epiphany School before coming to SI, where he found a home on the football field as both an offensive and defensive lineman. He would play nearly every minute of each of his football games, and with his long hair that flowing out from under his helmet, he was easy to spot, including one time by Brother Douglas Draper, S.J., SI’s legendary dean of students, who removed him from class and sent to a barber shop to cut his hair.
All that football, as well as rugby he played on the side, took a toll on his body. He tore up his knee during his first game of his freshman season and smashed his foot in his last game against Riordan in his senior year. Still, he knew he could play on the college level. “Then I had a heart-to-heart with my orthopedic surgeon who advised me to choose a different path and to consider working in the medical field to take care of athletes.”
At SFSU, Azzolino majored in nutrition in part because he wondered if he could cure his own ulcers, which had plagued him throughout his youth, by changing what he ate. When one physician prescribed an expensive drug regimen, Azzolino looked for an alternative approach that led, eventually, to chiropractic medicine.
“I wondered how a chiropractor could help my stomach and later learned that joints and nerves can affect organs. After two weeks of treatment, my stomach issues resolved, and I became passionate about wanting to learn more.”
Another part of his life also led him to seek a career in health care. A gifted bass player, he toured with a band made up of former members of Y&T. He played before audiences as large as 5,000, and as the self-described “young one in the band,” he matured quickly. “I went from idolizing these guys to being one of their peers. I also saw the dark side of the business and how many people in the industry destroyed their lives with drugs and alcohol. That also led me to being more health conscious.”
After completing his studies at SFSU, Azzolino earned his Doctorate in Chiropractic at Life Chiropractic College West in 1995, earning the school’s Clinic Excellence Award, the Excellence in Care citation and the role of salutatorian for his graduating class.
He completed postdoctoral neurology studies through Logan Chiropractic College and holds several board certifications in Functional Neurology, pain management, and Childhood Developmental Disorders. He began practicing in Los Altos in 1995 and has since worked in San Bruno and Redwood City before opening his own multidisciplinary clinic in San Francisco, first on Union Street and then on Broadway in 2003.
His office also serves as a teaching clinic, and he has students from as far away as Korea, Norway and Italy who do their internships under his tutelage.
He also runs the Brain Balance Achievement Center on Geary Boulevard, which is a learning center dedicated to helping children with learning disablities and conditions such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia and Asperger.
He also finds balance working as a coach for his children’s baseball and soccer teams. “I’m so passionate about my work, and I’m so busy that I could never leave my office. But I try to lead by example. I tell parents not to push their children so much into every activity, but to pick and choose a few activities that they can do along with their children. I refuse to let the TV be their babysitter.”
His children give him great joy as does the success he sees with his patients. “That keeps me going all day and. I never wonder if my time is well spent. I’m blessed and grateful that I get to spend my days making a positive impact.”
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