O’Dea retires from straightening out Suffolk

Published 9:18 pm Thursday, November 19, 2020

Dr. Charles O’Dea recently retired from his chiropractic practice after serving Suffolk for 38 years. His last workday was on Oct. 29.

O’Dea helped patients with low back pain, mid back pain, sciatica, headaches and acupuncture. He did his best to keep patients from needing surgery by catching and fixing problems before they worsened.

Before coming to Suffolk, O’Dea practiced at Wright Chiropractic Clinic in Norfolk for three years. There, he had patients asking him to come to Suffolk. That is when he opened his own practice in Suffolk at 416 Market St.


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“There was a gap of around eight years where Suffolk didn’t have a chiropractor,” said O’Dea. “In August of 1982, I had my first patient at my location on Market Street and was there ever since.”

O’Dea was interested in chiropractic practice after seeing his sister’s and mother’s positive results after visiting their chiropractor. Doctors were telling his sister that she needed metal rods put in to fix her back. After meeting with a chiropractor, his sister was able to pass her physical and join the Navy without any surgery.

“Why put metal rods in someone’s back when conservative care can fix it?” asked O’Dea. “Traditional medical care usually refers to surgery and medication when it’s not always needed. How I see it is that physical issues need physical solutions and chemical issues need chemical solutions.”

While working as a medical technologist, O’Dea’s mother encouraged him to look into chiropractic college. He ended up attending Texas Chiropractic College in Pasadena, Texas, and became licensed to practice in both Virginia and Texas. Since then, he let his Texas license go but plans to keep his one in Virginia to do fill-in work when he can.

Throughout the years, O’Dea has had many success stories. One was treating a 5-month-old with neck spasms. The baby was initially treated with valium, but after O’Dea gently worked with her to realign her spine, she came right out of it.

“She had an unalignment that the doctors just deemed unimportant,” said O’Dea. “The spine in the body is like a doorpost. If it isn’t lined up right, it’s not going to work properly. The same goes for our bodies.”

Being a member of Main Street Methodist Church, O’Dea had the chance to go on 20 mission trips to help people around the world with his services. His most recent trip was in February to

Honduras with Friends of Barnabas. This organization focuses on the health of rural areas of Honduras, and O’Dea was their first chiropractor. He shipped out a portable adjustments table and helped the locals with adjustments, trigger points, headaches and neck and back pain.

“It was very well received,” said O’Dea.

O’Dea has also visited Zimbabwe, Bolivia, Brazil, Ghana, Mexico, El Salvador and multiple trips to Chile.

Last year, O’Dea sold his practice to Compass Physical Therapy and Chiropractic.

Now that he is retired, O’Dea has time for his many hobbies and clubs. He has been a member of the Kiwanis since 1986 and attends their meetings every Monday night at Plaza Azteca. He’s also a proud member of the Antique Automobile Club of America and still owns his first car, a 1969 Mustang Fastback, as well as a 1956 Super 88 Oldsmobile.

He also enjoys paragliding, scuba diving, snow skiing, and spends time as a language tutor and has a private pilot license. He also rode his bicycle for charity and participated in a ride for multiple sclerosis for 10 years. O’Dea also loves to ride his motorcycle and has traveled to Texas, Florida and Quebec from Virginia.

“I am a huge proponent for exercise, stretching and nutrition,” said O’Dea.