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Dr. Stephen L. Kulik: Living Life Well

Dr. Stephen L. Kulik is celebrating 50 years as a chiropractor, a profession he finds as fulfilling and interesting as he did when he began his career in 1972. In his words, “That’s my thrill, to know I’ve helped a number of people over the years.”

The opportunity to meet and help people of all ages and walks of life keeps Kulik enthused about and committed to his profession.

The Kulik family has deep Lehigh Valley roots; in fact, the Allentown Chiropractic Center located at 1850 E. Emmaus Ave., Allentown, stands on land owned by the Kulik family since 1907. Originally the family farm, the site holds many pleasant childhood memories for Kulik. He believes his grandmother would be pleased with his use of the property because she wanted a family member to develop it for an occupation other than farming.

In addition to their long connection to the Lehigh Valley, the Kulik family has a generational commitment to community service.

In 1948, Kulik’s father William opened the still active, family run funeral business and his uncle was a founder of Allentown Osteopathic Hospital. (In 1997 Allentown Osteopathic Hospital merged with St. Luke’s Hospital.) Kulik’s decision to become a chiropractor was also fueled by personal experience.

As a teenager he suffered sciatic pain. Eschewing surgery and pain management options, Kulik eventually found relief after visiting a chiropractor.

“I almost danced out of the office,” Kulik said. His heart has always been in his work because chiropractic medicine has done so much for him.

Kulik graduated from Dieruff High School in 1966. After completing his studies in chiropractic care at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa in 1972, he returned to the Lehigh Valley and began his professional career.

Today he is the clinical director and president of Allentown Chiropractic Center P.C. and holds licensure in Pennsylvania. He remains at the forefront of his profession by educating himself on the latest advances in the field and by attending continuing education seminars.

During the early years, Kulik also gave presentations designed to inform lay people and professionals about the value of chiropractic care. Although medical doctors and chiropractors receive similar medical training, until the 1980s the American Medical Association was averse to recommending chiropractic treatment to patients. Through the efforts of practitioners like Kulik, chiropractors are now recognized as valuable members of the medical community.

Intrigued as he is by chiropractic medicine, the personal interactions with his patients are what keep Kulik reporting for work early and leaving the office late. As he explains, “ ... you never know who’s gonna’ walk through the door.”

Indeed, his patients have been many and varied. Kulik has treated professional football players, a musician in David Lee Roth’s band, and – live on television – Regis Philbin.

One of his most treasured memories is of a 13-year-old girl diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Before their meeting, the patient had been informed she would no longer be ambulatory by her 21st birthday. She has credited Kulik’s treatments with helping to drive her arthritis into remission. In fact, when she turned 21, she returned, still fully ambulatory, to thank Kulik.

Small wonder that Kulik’s passion for his profession is infectious. He has inspired his daughter Tamara to follow in his footsteps and join him in the practice. A proud father and stepfather to six children and grand and step-grandfather to 15 grandchildren, Kulik maintains youthful vibrancy through his work because, as he states, “Who knows who you are going to help today!”

With 50 years of chiropractic care under his belt, Kulik has no plans to retire and looks forward to the future with expectant enthusiasm.

PRESS PHOTO BY BEVERLY SPRINGER Dr. Stephen Kulik and his daughter Dr. Tamara Kulik Smarch work together to provide chiropractic care to residents throughout the Lehigh Valley and surrounding area.