Dr. Carl Thomas “Dave” Davidson Jr. came to Odessa in 1986 to help people and as a chiropractor in a hard-working place, there’s no shortage of people who need him.
Having suffered a back injury himself as a college second baseman, Dr. Davidson found the transition from sports to chiropractic a natural one.
“I see the benefits when people come in in severe pain and walk out to have a good quality of life,” he said. “It’s God’s blessing because he gave me the ability to do this.”
Davidson is a 60-year-old native of Odessa who grew up at Canyon Country, Calif., 36 miles north of Los Angeles. He was playing baseball at the nearby College of the Canyons when he sustained his injury and then he enrolled at the Texas Chiropractic College in Pasadena for four years’ study.
He came back to Odessa to work for six months with his brother-in-law Bob Hollander, a chiropractor who is now semi-retired at Graham, and he founded the West Odessa Chiropractic Clinic 35 years ago at 1319 W. 22nd St. He and his wife Cindy have two children.
Davidson treats lower back and neck pain, back injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome and does examinations for U.S. Department of Transportation commercial driver’s licenses. His late father was an employee of Mobil Oil. His late mother’s maiden name was Jody Little. He has three older sisters.
“The Permian Basin has a lot of blue-collar jobs that are physically demanding,” he said. “Oilfield workers drive on unpaved lease roads and their vehicles just beat them to death. Football, baseball and soccer are very popular and the weekend warriors who played in high school have problems when they get older.
“Our people are very physical. If they’re not doing manual labor, they’re doing yard work and working around the house. They do a lot of their own stuff. Some guys don’t warm up before they play golf. You can get away with that when you’re young, but not when you’re older. You have to stretch properly.”
Davidson said sedentary work like sitting for long periods at a desk is also wearing because it puts pressure on the lower spine.
Noting that he starts work at 7 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, he said, “Because the oilfield is so busy, many people can’t get in between 9 and 5.
“I was pretty busy at 7, so I kept it that way. The key is to be in this for the right reasons. I always wanted to help others.”
Davidson’s office is open from 7 to 11:30 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 2-6 on Tuesday, 7-11 on Thursday and 8:30-11 on Saturdays. He sees 80-90 people a day, 15 to 20 percent of whom are regular “maintenance” patients, and he stays till everyone who has come in is treated, sometimes working till 6 or 6:30.
“We take 20 hours of continuing education each year and I have learned things from young chiropractors and older ones,” he said. “You have to keep an open mind and always keep learning. I couldn’t have done this without the love and support of Cindy, my wife of 31 years.”
Having been the Odessa Jackalopes’ official chiropractor from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, Davidson said such athletes need constant care, as do musicians because they travel long distances and move heavy equipment.
He said chiropractic can help patients avoid back surgery, although techniques have advanced to the point that such surgery is a much less dire prospect than it once was. “People have headaches from disc injuries in auto accidents and we have fortunately been able to prevent them from having to have surgical intervention in many cases,” he said.
“Back surgery has come such a long way. Previously, 50 to 60 percent of the patients would have to have another surgery, but it’s not as significant as it used to be with the non-invasive techniques. Recoveries are a lot better than they were.”
Davidson’s charity work has included supporting the Children’s Miracle Network through the Kiwanis Club of Odessa, including fundraisers at Ratliff Stadium. He and his wife are members of CrossRoads Fellowship, where he has served on the board of deacons.
Prosperity Bank President Andy Espinoza, one of the Davidson’s neighbors, said he is an amiable man who is nonetheless serious about his golf, adding that the two often play with Austin Keith and Davidson is the best golfer of the three.
“He usually shoots in the mid- to high 70s,” Espinoza said. “Dave is a good, Christian guy who will give you the shirt off his back. I had a pinched nerve and he got me right in and fixed me up. He’s a go-getter who is enthusiastic about yard work. He used to play shortstop and second base on a softball team and was very competitive.”
Keith, a fellow CrossRoads member and president and owner of Pinkie’s Inc., said Davidson “is a strong Christian man who walks the walk and is a very good friend.
“Dave has one of the oldest clinics in town and serves a lot of people,” Keith said. “He does what he says and does a lot of good. He is always faithful to the church and the Lord.”