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Dr. Stephen Gullikson

My Journey to Chiropractic

Throughout my life I have always been interested in the sciences and the medical field. As a child I spent most of my life moving from town to town because my father was a construction worker who helped build the highline electric towers that you typically see spanning across the land in the States. As a result of totaling 14 moves over a 12 year span, I can attribute my openness with meeting new people and ease with talking to strangers because I spent a lot of time in different schools meeting new friends.

When I was in grade school, I immediately became inspired about the human body and the field of science because of a wonderful teacher when we eventually settled down in Wakonda, SD. My first job involved working in a nursing home, and I quickly learned that helping people to cope with sometimes grave situations gave me great satisfaction. I knew then that I was destined to work in the medical field in some respect.

I graduated from Wakonda High School and moved to Vermillion, SD to attend the University of South Dakota. I was granted a theater scholarship to USD but decided to pursue a different route with a military career. I won a scholarship through the Reserved Officers Training Corp. and served in the Army for 12 years, retiring as a Captain.

I attained a B.S in computer graphics with minors in psychology, earth science and ROTC. After graduating I moved to Minneapolis and worked in advertising for approximately one year before I attended my officer’s basic course in Ft. Lee, Virginia. When I returned to Yankton, SD after my OBC I knew I could no longer sit in front of a computer designing ads for the rest of my life, so I decided to pursue my career in the medical field once again. I attained a position at the state mental institution in Yankton. Again, it felt so rewarding to help people through the toughest times in their lives.

While working in Yankton, I was afforded a chance to take a position at the Sacred Heart Hospital as a physical therapy technician. As I worked with patients who were dealing with total knee constructions, hip reconstructions, strokes and many other ailments I realized I was involved in something much closer to what I wanted to do.

It was during my few years as a PT tech that I noticed a pattern with the patients who were coming in for therapy. I would see a patient on a Friday who was in a lot of pain, and when I saw him/her again on Monday the patient would be doing so much better. I asked these patients about what they did differently since the previous visit. Most of them would say, “I went to my chiropractor, and he fixed me up.” I decided if my patients were getting fantastic results from their chiropractors from a couple visits, then there must be something great about it.

I spent only a week observing a chiropractor in Vermillion before I finally realized what I was destined to do. I returned to USD and received another degree in biology/pre-med, graduating again in 1998. I immediately researched chiropractic schools. I finally narrowed my choice down to Palmer Chiropractic School in Davenport, IA. I had no idea where Davenport was, but any place named after a couch couldn’t be too bad.

I moved to Iowa and was ready to begin school in October of 1998. It was only a few weeks after having moved to Davenport before school had started when I was stricken with extreme pain in my front right groin. I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Needless to say, school was delayed, and after 3 surgeries and months of chemotherapy, I was given the best news of all. I was completely free of cancer and have been doing great ever since!

Believe it or not, right after I was diagnosed with cancer, I was set up on a blind date by a co-worker of mine who said she only had one single friend. I met Kristine that very night, and we started dating exclusively after only one date. I was amazed that this beautiful girl was interested in me, especially after having told her I wouldn’t be able to take her on many dates for awhile due to numerous surgeries and chemotherapy for my cancer. I’m telling you, after sticking with me through all those hard times, including the stage when I was bald from chemo (I looked like Linus from Charlie Brown), I had to marry this girl. We got married in 2000, and school and life was as good as it could get.

I graduated from Palmer in 2002 and was extremely fortunate to get to practice here in Rapid City. Later we were told that due to my surgeries and chemo treatments, we would not be able to have children. But after many tries, a lot of faith and a lot of chiropractic care, Sif Kiera Gullikson was born on December 1, 2003.

After all my trials and tribulations, I have been extremely blessed in being a Doctor of Chiropractic by all I can offer to my patients. That brings me to the present, in which I enjoy a wonderful life full of wonderful patients who also understand the amazing gift of chiropractic.

Stephen Gullikson, D.C.

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