“I learned to walk on my hands before I learned to walk on my feet,” Dr. Nicole Adamson joked as we sat in her office talking about her journey from professional dance to chiropractic medicine.
As a three-year old she started attending gymnastics and dance classes. “I learned everything I could: tap, jazz, ballet hip hop and gymnastics,” she said.
She joined touring performance groups at a young age, and has performed all over the world, including Australia’s famous Sydney Opera House. She has travelled to Christ Church, New Zealand and New York City. Dance and gymnastics were all-consuming, and she told her parents that she was going to pursue a professional career as a dancer. They had always supported her, but they cautioned her not to ignore her education.
Injury Changes Everything
Adamson continued dance and gymnastics performance while taking college-level classes through Running Start. One evening, during a performance, she started to experience excruciating back pain. “The pain started radiating down my leg. I kept moving but the pain continued and increased. We had a series of performances to complete that week, so I kept dancing, but after a few weeks of pain I consulted a doctor. He told me that I had a bad sprain and to get back out there. I kept performing, but the pain didn’t go away,” she said.
Eventually, Adamson consulted an orthopedic specialist. The specialist told her that she would no longer be able to participate in dance and gymnastics, and suggested corrective surgery. She stopped performing, but was not convinced that surgery was a good option.
Chiropractic Medicine: An Alternative to Back Surgery and a New Career Path
A year later she moved to Ellensburg to attend Central Washington University. “I loved that it was a small university, plus I was able to run a dance studio,” she said. Meanwhile, she was determined to find an alternative to surgery and decided to try chiropractic care. The doctor took some new imaging and told her that she had fractured her spine in a way that is difficult to detect and that it hadn’t healed properly. “I found out that at age 17 I had the back of a 60-year-old. We tried some chiropractic work, and slowly I gained strength. Soon I not only became pain free, but started competing again. I was fascinated by chiropractic medicine and amazed by how great I felt. It was then that I decided to change my education focus to a medical track. I took all my pre-meds at Central and was accepted into chiropractic school from there,” she said.
“I apply the same commitment level that I applied to dance and gymnastics to my work…I get a rush from seeing patients get better.”
Today, Dr. Adamson has a thriving chiropractic practice in Lacey, and specializes in Active Release Technique, Sports Medicine as well as Family Care. “I apply the same commitment level that I applied to dance and gymnastics to my work here. Both are very demanding, but I love what I do. I get a rush from seeing patients get better.
“Through my education and career I’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing physicians all over the world and I’ve been able to bring those skills here. We can do a lot for athletes. Most of the biomechanical injuries we see here respond very quickly to treatment. Chronic pain can be treated here as well, but it takes longer,” she said.
“I want the train wrecks. I want the injury and ailments. I want the disasters. I know what it is like to be in pain…I can make patients feel better.”
She loves the challenge of her work, especially the difficult cases. “I want the train wrecks. I want the injury and ailments. I want the disasters. I know what it is like to be in pain and I’m confident that I can make patients feel better. Most of my patients are skeptical when they first arrive, but then they start to feel better, so they keep coming back. Then, they refer their friends and family,” she said.
The office space is unique in that it is designed with open space in addition to private rooms. “When a runner comes in with knee pain we can put them on the treadmill and they can show me what they are doing. We use this space to demonstrate stretching, exercise techniques and utilize traction as needed. Close quarters in a small office are not conducive to this type of work,” she said.
Adamson has two massage therapists on staff that are available six days a week plus evenings. “We try and make our office hours convenient for everyone,” said Adamson. She’ll also tell you that she has the happiest staff in town. “They are comforting to work with and are never without a smile,” she said.
She often tells patients that Adamson Chiropractic is a body shop. “Your body is a machine. You use it over and over again. Sometimes you just have to stop, come in and get maintenance. Get a tune up. Fill up with gas. Then get moving again. You can’t get a new body, so you have to take care of yourself,” she summarizes.
4631 Whitmen Lane SE
Lacey, WA 98513