Yes, water changes are an excellent way to remove unwanted nutrients and replace trace elements, but think of it this way- say your nitrates are at 40. You do a 25% water change, which at best, will only bring it down to 30. Still haven't solved the problem, and if you haven't corrected the issue (overstocking, overfeeding, inadequate flow/detritus buildup...) they will just keep climbing.
Preventative measures are what I would recommend- picking the right fish and the right amount of fish for your system. Over-sizing your protein skimmer, and a regular water change regimen. A big enough filter for the bio load (live rock, possibly a large refugium or turf scrubber) is also very important.
What kind of water volume are we talking about total? is this 4' tank a 75? 90? 120?