By Tim Callahan
Things happen in life that steer you in certain directions, Neil Fico said.
He should know. The Pawleys Island chiropractor is living proof.
The Pittsburgh area native was playing baseball at Penn State University when he injured his shoulder. Already majoring in exercise physiology, Fico was intrigued when a chiropractor came to one of his classes and spoke.
“He wasn’t even a very good speaker,” Fico said. “But, I was interested.”
So much so that, even after forgoing surgery and rehabbing his shoulder enough to be able to play baseball again, Fico decided to devote himself to his studies full-time. And, after graduating from PSU, he attended Life University School of Chiropractic Care in Atlanta, where he met his wife, Becky. She was working for the March of Dimes.
Fico was offered the chance to work as an associate in Surfside Beach, and he didn’t want to move back to Pa., he said, so the Ficos moved here in 1997.
After learning the “ins and outs,” Fico opened his own practice with just one assistant in a leased space next to Pawleys Island Golf. Three years ago, he built a building for the Strand Spine Institute, “the Grand Strand’s premier non-surgical health and wellness center,” located off Hwy. 17 in Pawleys Island. He now has five full and part-time employees. He also has four children: two boys, 9 and 11, and twin girls, six.
The practice has grown as he has built trust, and therefore, word of mouth in the community.
“Living in a small community,” he said, “if you treat people well and respect them – and get results – they will tell other people.”
Because of his exercise physiology and rehab background and experience, including working with Olympic athletes in Atlanta, Fico said his practice is different.
His motto is: “Move well, eat well, drink well, sleep well = be well.”
Nutrition products, supplements and protocols are the “eat well” part Fico teaches and offers.
Fico said if he can’t treat you, he will let you know.
Proper rehab, stretching, postural changes and sleeping well at night can change a person’s life and get and keep them out of pain.
“Most people who come to see me are in pain,” he said.
There are some people, Fico said, that don’t react to exercise, such as those with degenerative disks. Spinal decompression is offered for these folks, which can be an alternative to injections and/or surgery.
Fico said he was just talking with someone, saying he “would probably never retire. But, it is a very physical job. I could see, long-term, doing less of it and more of the managerial side, and maybe training other doctors, but I never want to stop treating patients.
The Strand Spine Institute is located at 12489 Ocean Hwy., Pawleys Island. Phone: 979-2273 (CARE)
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