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Final appointment scheduled after 33 years

Posted: Tuesday, Jun 11th, 2013

After 33-years of making people feel better, Dr. Steven Headrick is being forced into retirement.

“It came on a lot quicker than we wanted,” the Chiropractor said. The almost immediate retirement of Dr. Headrick, whose entire title is actually Dr. Steven L. Headrick, D.C., D.A.B.C.O., B.S., R.N., was brought on because of a severe case of Osteoarthritis.

His condition, which he has been taking medication for a couple of years already, has gotten worse and the medication is starting not to work as well.

When he went to the doctor just four weeks ago, the Doctor gave Headrick three options. “I could have them (his fingers) fused, and then I would have to quit. I could go on narcotics, but then I couldn’t practice so I’d have to quit, or I could take monthly steroid injections, maybe practice for a bit but then they (his fingers) would fuse together and I couldn’t practice anymore.”

With all three options eventually leading to retirement, he decided to just call it quits after three decades of practicing in the same building.

Even though the things that made him such a great chiropractor, such as his hands on activation, massage therapy, and maybe even those Sundays after church when he would treat a few patients that he didn’t get to in the week, are the reasons he has to retire, he has no regrets. “Other chiropractors use activation guns and don’t do massage therapy, but I just love being hands on and making my patients feel comfortable.”

The surprising thing about Headrick is that he never really wanted to be a chiropractor; he actually went to the University of South Dakota to get his Nursing Degree. It was only after he himself needed a chiropractor that he decided that is what he wanted to do.

“I hurt my back when I was in nursing school and the Doctor gave me a bunch of pills and they didn’t work, so my wife (Coral) told me to go see the chiropractor and sure enough, after a couple of treatments, I was cured,” Headrick recalled.

“Then I hurt my neck and Coral asked me if I was going to be stubborn again or just go straight to the chiropractor. Of course, I went to the chiro and it was fixed in a couple of treatments.”

Those two events helped move Headrick to Chicago where he attended the National College of Chiropractic and received his B.S in Biology and Doctor of Chiropractic.

Soon after his graduation in 1980, Headrick had plans to move to Arizona to practice with his college buddy. “I never really planned on coming back to Flandreau.” But he got a call from his father-in-law, Dr. Peter Stahl, who had been practicing in Flandreau for 17 years.

“He said we could probably use another chiropractor in town so we figured we would give it a few years - and then it really blossomed into something great,” Headrick said.

Over three decades later, Headrick has a brain full of stories and memories. Some of them he can share with friends and family, but a lot of stories that most of us will never hear. But when you have worked with the same people for so long, memories are bound to pile up.

“I always thought to myself that I should write a book with the top 10 best moments that have happened since I started working,” Headrick said laughing.

Of course for confidentiality reasons that book will never be published.

He has been working with some people for as long as he has been practicing in Flandreau. He worked on a man last Saturday whose first appointment dates back to March of 1980, just two months after he started.

“I work on a lady from Minnesota who was a teenager back before Dr. Stahl and I moved into this building, back when it used to be the Sugar Bowl. (The local teenage hangout prior to 1970s).

Her parents used to tell her she could come to Flandreau as long as she didn’t go into the Sugar Bowl. When she told me that story, I told her she had to go tell her parents she finally made it inside,” Headrick said with a smile.

But all good things must come to an end, and although he doesn’t want to be done working, he has plenty of things to keep him busy.

“Coral and I thought about this a while back. I think there has only been five or six Saturdays since I started here that I have been in town and have not worked,” the Doc said. “We have kids in every time zone so we will have plenty to do,” he added.

They also made a huge decision a few years back to purchase a house in a 55 and older gated community in Florida, a place they plan on spending a lot of the time.

Along with having a handful of grandkids and family in San Diego, Denver, Minneapolis, and Florida, the Headricks have family in Arizona, Chicago, Tennessee and Omaha, along with a few more he didn’t rattle off.

But what he looks forward to the most is keeping up with his former patients around town, since 40% of his clientele have Moody County addresses.

The past several weeks since he found out about his abrupt retirement have been emotional. Patients have been coming in for their final treatments and reminiscing about their times together. He has even had plenty of requests for his final appointment, an honor that only one person can have.

“There have been a plenty of tears shed, but they understand,” Headrick said.

They have scheduled an open house at the Chiropractice Clinic on Wednesday the 26th, his final day of work, from 4:00 – 6:00. When he finishes his final appointment on that day, he will be officially retired after 33-years of making people feel better.

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