Gayla Oakley (June 2016; PRIME)
I started my road to recovery through the PRIME program about a year ago. After a trial of specialists and treatments the continued ear noise and right shoulder/arm pain led me to Kristi at Taylor Creek Physical Therapy. I was familiar with PRI after working with Lori at Hruska clinic five years prior for an unrelated problem. After Kristi’s evaluation and determination that after many years of a profession that required me to be on my feet for hours, frost bite to the hands and feet as a child, chronic clenching/grinding of the teeth, morning headaches and always being tagged as being a “clumsy child”, I needed a more specialized treatment plan. There is no blog long enough or anyone interested in reading the step by step process over this year but there are some important things that I would like to share. 1) Everyone assumes that as you age it is normal to have aches, pains and limitations in what you can do. This is only true if you allow it or of course you have a disease process that is out of your control. I was not going to allow arm pain to take away the things that I really loved doing, holding my grandchildren, golfing and running. 2) The PRIME program is an incredible multi-disciplinary team approach that works in tandem on each participant’s individualized plan of treatment. As a health care professional I knew what a mystifying organ the brain is but to experience the coordination of vision, dental and postural restoration for recovery was truly remarkable. 3) People seem to always put a price tag on your health. It is nothing to spend a lot on possessions or vacations but when it comes to spending money to take care of you, it is often skipped over. I understand that insurance is expensive and we would like it to pay for everything but in reality it does not. You need to make your body a priority. 4) Through the professional help of Dr. Hoefs and Dr. Hohls, I have a night appliance and one I now only wear when I exercise or do a lot of physical activity. I have not had a morning headache since I started wearing it. It was so impressive that there was a therapist at the dental clinic to make sure that I remained neutral when fit for the appliance. 5) Ron Hruska and Dr. Heidi Wise coordinated the vision part of the care plan. Heidi fit me with a training and computer glasses. I will tell you that the computer glasses are WONDERFUL. I now spend a big portion of the day at the computer and would always go home with neck/shoulder pain from trying to see the screen with bifocals. The computer glasses have made such a difference. I can sit back comfortable in my chair, type and never have to move my head up and down. Most people do not want the added expense of another pair of glasses but these have been worth every penny. 6) Every part of this program was “willing to work with me” whether financially or sending the treatment plan to Kristi at Taylor Creek to save me having to drive to Lincoln. You are a person, not a number. 7) Last but not least, I have no pain, the ear noise although not completely gone is minimal and am back to doing those things that I love.
Susan Larson Rodenburg -Patient
I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that I had a great experience with you at the Hruska Clinic yesterday. First, they got me in the same day I called (due to cancellations and weather). Then you did such a wonderful job explaining my alignment issues and the exercises. I felt better even last night and it continues today. I completed my spin class this morning with absolutely NO knee pain. My left hamstring is waking up!!
I was so worried I might need surgery and be unable to train for (or even ride in) our 29th Tour de Nebraska. With your help, I’m confident, relieved and pain free.
I will highly recommend you and the Hruska Clinic to any of my friends needing PT evaluation or services.
Debbie Burns -Patient
I cannot tell you how thankful I am for Jason and the Hruska Clinic. Finally, someone understands what has happened to my body. They are truly an answer to prayer! Four years ago I was a runner/biker/weight lifter when my life was turned upside down—I complained of knee pain and I was diagnosed with a labral tear in my left hip. When the doctor offered to “show” me where the tear was during an exam, he did something to my sacroiliac joint and I began a life altering cycle of pain and dysfunction. Some doctors said it was my hip, others said it was my back. I finally had arthroscopic surgery on my hip, but despite a successful surgery, I continued to have terrible back/hip pain. I was the most dedicated physical therapy patient you can imagine, but my pain only worsened and migrated to my shoulders, neck and back. Now I had myofascial pain—knots all over my body. This all happened “while” I was in physical therapy for 4 years—2 days a week with 9 different therapists!
It was obvious that something was missing. My physiatrist and pain management doctors wanted to give me medications like Lyrica, Cymbalta, Tramadol, Hydro-codone, Cyclobenzene, Tizanidine, Voltaren, FlectorPatch and more. I tried them for awhile but these drugs only masked the pain and continued put me in a downward cycle—and I believe helped further alter my breathing pattern. The doctors even made me think it was all in my head—but I knew it wasn’t. By the grace of God, I found Hruska Clinic. It is now so obvious that despite 4 years of physical therapy, significant stabilizing muscles in my body were simply not working—my strong muscles continued to overcompensate for the weak. I know I still have a long way to go, but I have had more relief in 2 months than I have had in 4 years. My hips and back are almost pain free! The knots around my neck and shoulders are gone! I am so hopeful for the future! Thank you Jason, Ron Hruska and the kind staff at Hruska Clinic. I really appreciate how Jason thoroughly explains the “what and whys” of the things they do! You are amazing! You have given me my life back and I am so grateful!
Gina Simane -Patient
My injuries began almost 21 years ago when I was severely assaulted and obtained a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). The obstacle I faced is that with a TBI, the injuries that an individual incurs may not physically present themselves until years later. I had been running marathons since 1995 and continued to incur much physical pain that some professionals as well as myself thought were due to overuse injuries. As a typical runner, I also avoided seeking professional help for a long time since I did not want someone to tell me that I can no longer run. The pain finally became so difficult to overcome that I went to an orthopedic doctor who then referred me to Hruska Clinic for what we had believed to be piriformis syndrome which is a typical running injury. Ron and his team of professionals found the root of the problem, instead of just treating the symptoms, which was due to a level of left-sided neglect, anterior visual mid-line shift, and perceptual issues where the brain does not perceive several crucial muscles that I need to physically move/walk/run and other muscles incorrectly take over the functioning. In short, these injuries were all due to the TBI. Some of the issues I was experiencing before seeing Ron were the following as well as Ron’s explanation as to why this was going on:
While running in the early mornings as well as walking anywhere, I found myself literally running into other runners/people/objects quite frequently as well as having a very poor posture. What I was experiencing was called a anterior visual mid-line shift where my ‘center of vision’ had shifted to my chest area and I also lacked peripheral vision. I could see peripherally, but my vision was very narrow and focused and the brain was not perceiving the outside world-only what was directly in front of me, thus I ran into people/objects often which becomes quite embarrassing!! [smile]
The right side of my body, especially the hip area, was constantly getting injured/reinjured. Whether I had completed a short 7 mile run or a long 24 mile training run, my right side was exhausted and my left side did not even feel tired. What I experienced was a level of left sided unilateral neglect where the right side of the brain did not perceive the left side of the body fully. Although the left side moved perfectly fine, the muscles really were not firing but were only moving from muscle memory.
While working with Ron, he had also sent me to orthotic and vision specialists to take care of my foot and vision problems. The treatment for these types of issues are not easily explainable since the brain is so complex, but Ron has made the issues that I have struggled with for so many years understandable and I am able to pass my experience on to so many others.
I was not able to comprehend or read successfully due to the anterior midline visual shift because my eyes did not track successfully down the page but continued going back up to the previous line which I did not notice since the initial trauma because you get used to it. Once I was given prisms, this successfully corrected the visual shift and I am reading faster and easier since.
Hamstrings always tight and pulled frequently, glutes-never felt them, always being diagnosed with tendonitis across the body, and never knew where the origin of my pain began. This was due to the brain not perceiving the glute muscles which allowed the hamstrings and ischial seat muscles to take over and the abdominal, quadriceps and adductors to not function (weaker) as they should. Continue to work on strengthening the abs, quads and adductors which is not an easy issue since the functioning tends to always go back to the hamstrings and ischial seat. Changing brain patterns is not an easy task especially when you have been running marathons for years, the neural firing has a very strong set brain pattern.
More of Ron’s findings were: my head directs my body, my feet-especially the left foot were in constant pain, and the left eye vision affects how my body moves with right side dominance. Some of this is corrected by getting orthotics in my shoes to correct my multiple foot problems which were incurred from the entire body moving incorrectly for 17 years especially with all the running. I have had to have many changes with orthotics to find something that worked effectively for the most part, but since the ankles are never in a simple pattern as most people, one pair of orthotics will never be the cure, but we have found what works well. Regarding the way the body moves, I now am working on perceptual issues, or becoming more aware of my body as I move in space as well as wearing a lens in the left eye that has a subtle less lens prescription (vision integration) over my contacts that allows the tight and more flaccid muscles throughout the body to become “neutral”. I only wear these glasses when my body is in motion and we are hoping that the brain will be able to change and do it on its own someday, but if not, I will simply continue to wear the glasses.
I cannot ever give Ron and his team of professionals as well as staff enough credit for all they have done and taught me through the last few years. Ron and the clinic have so much respect for their patients, they continue to teach and have a passion in helping whomever comes to their clinic to maintain hope for a better and brighter future ahead via consulting/learning and researching potential possibilities for treatment with their PRI and Vision Integration methods and tailoring notes or whatever the patient needs to learn best. Ron also exhibits his love of learning and what they do at the clinic to create an atmosphere that is very positive, enriching and exciting for everyone. The Hruska clinic will always be an extended family for me as I know they are for all who come there!!:) Thanks Ron….best wishes to you and your clinic. I know you will continue to excel in all you do.
Brad B. -Patient
Lori, I am very impressed with your very logical and meticulous methods of diagnosis. By process of elimination you eventually found the root cause of the joint pain and physical challenge I was experiencing. I can’t help but think of the many professionals who have treated me within their particular discipline by drugs, adjustment, massage, foot inserts, eyeglass prescriptions, special workouts, and on and on. I’m sure I have probably left a couple disciplines out! The point is that each professional did a traditional approach to me and solved nothing. They were treating symptoms. I am actually amazed when I think about how comprehensive your approach has been and how well it is working out. I feel like you and your clinic are the best team in town to handle physical therapy by far. Not because you have different exercises so much as you don’t have people do exercises to relieve symptoms, you have people do exercises to identify and if possible cure the problem, and if it doesn’t work you move on to another theory. That is where you separate yourself from the rest of the crowd. Your team approach and dogged pursuit of the root cause are amazing. In the past I have felt I was to blame for not responding to certain medical procedures in the past, all the while the root cause was literally right in front of my nose.
Thank you for giving me your full attention and consideration as a patient. Thanks to your relentless search it has resulted in a major breakthrough. I’m so relieved!
If I were independently rich, I would gladly spend hours and hours learning your comprehensive approach just because I like to learn and I love truth.
I promise I will pray for you, your team, and your influence on your profession.
I would be honored if you use this letter as a reference.
Kaitie Turner -Patient
My daughter Kaitlynne (Kaitie) was injured in a car accident and was prone to having severe pain in her lower back - pain that prevented her from functioning in daily life. Any silly movement would basically “throw” her back out and the pain would be so intense. She literally would sneeze and all the months of PT would be gone. We saw numerous back specialists, several regular chiropractors and did many procedures to find her lasting comfort and relief. None of these worked - temporary relief was gained but a simple wrong step would set her back. We took our Kaitie to Ron Hruska as honestly a last ditch effort to help regain some of her life. Through just a few visits and some hard core exercises done at home, our Kaitie was back competing in High School sports and all the great teenage girl things. Isolating muscles and working hard to regain her strength has allowed Kaitie to do everything her heart desires. We are just so thankful to Ron and his staff for their care, their concern and their knowledge. Literally we walked in and Ron said, when did you break your foot?——-not when was the car accident that you broke a vertabrae but when did you break your foot….wow just blew my mind—-we had forgotten about that injury years ago and who knew that it could be impeding her healing all these years later. Thank you can never be enough for the time you spent on our little girl- her smile is so rewarding to us and anyone around her. You truly work miracles and we are forever grateful for your ability to restore her life to her. The ability to touch your toes—who knew that it would mean so much and be so attainable with some concentrated stretches. Kaitie committed to your workout and strived to return to her life and with your guidance she has done just that…thank you will never be enough. Traci and Brian Turner and our Kaitie
Steve Friesen - Professional Golfer, PGA Nationwide Tour
Well, my history with Ron Hruska dates back to the year 2000. One day out of the blue, my lower left back hurt. By two weeks later, I could not even swing a club due to severe pain. I was referred to Ron Hruska by a local golf pro. I quickly made progress, but as I now know, I did not fully rehabilitate what I needed to. Over the years, I have managed the pain and dysfunction through “conventional” stretching. But yet I was constantly tight!! Something was wrong. So with nowhere to turn, I came back to see Ron this winter. This time we clicked.
I KNOW I am on the right path to be being both healthier and a better golfer, and that is everything in terms of committing to do the work. The beauty of his exercises is that when strengthening a weak muscle, he puts you in a position that does not allow you to “cheat”. You are forced to use the weak muscle to do the exercise. Thru specific exercises, Ron taught me to breathe correctly from my diaphragm. What was most difficult for me to grasp but what has been THE most important factor towards my healing, is correct, deep breathing from the diaphragm while doing his exercises. I am 100% confident in Ron. If I can help encourage someone with pain or muscle tightness to seek his help and become healthy, that would be a great thing.
Jeff K., Kansas City
Wow and Thanks! That is what first comes to mind about today. Wow, because it was so “simple” yet the time with you has the ability to change my life!! Seriously!! I was getting worried that this was going to be an issue for the rest of my life and now I have an opportunity to do something about it! I practiced touching my arch every time I walked and did the exercises you taught me. Even the simple task of sitting in the car and strengthening my leg took a change in my thought process, but it is working. As I write this tonight, I can already tell a difference in my hip. Amazing!! And thanks, because of your generosity of time and sharing of your knowledge and expertise. I am so impressed!!
Ann Ringlein - Manager, Lincoln Running Company
Under all the hats I wear….. running store manager, coach, marathon class instructor and runner myself ….. I find the Hruska Clinic is the perfect fit in the circle of staying healthy as a runner. There is so much more to running than just the act of running. In fact that is the easy part – the running. So many times runners forget about all the little things that keep you healthy and then the problems arise. I know right away, when talking to various injured runners, to refer them to The Hruska Clinic. I want the runners I work with to run forever and I feel that is where The Hruska Clinic comes in. The therapists there don’t just put a “bandage” on the problem and send you off, they fix the problem and send you home with exercises you can do and should do forever! They understand runners and the urgency sometimes felt by this type of athlete and deal with them accordingly.
If you are a runner and have experienced chronic injuries I strongly recommend The Hruska Clinic to get you on the road to running healthy forever!
Diane Mendenhall - Executive Director, Nebraska Alumni Association
Ron’s thorough understanding of the body never ceases to amaze me or the many people I’ve referred to his clinic. Whether it be a violin instructor, homemaker, CEO, little leaguer, All-American or Olympian, after the first visit I always seem to get the same response: “he is Magic.” Ron restores hope in his clients with his brilliant approach through Postural Restoration. Every person I’ve sent to Ron has been able to compete again and live pain free without surgery.
Personally Ron has treated my daughter who was a high school three sport athlete and now a college athlete. He has both helped her avoid potential injury and recover from periodic injury; ultimately raising her level of performance. (Nine time state track medalist and state volleyball champion). Ron’s understanding of the mechanics of the human body is world renowned. What sets Ron apart is not only his genius mentality but his ability to convey to his patients a thorough understanding of their treatment plan allowing them to embrace and understand the “why” of their prescribed postural restoration program.
I truly believe there is not one person that would not benefit from Ron’s cutting edge approach. Whether they are dealing with an injury, have some aches and pains or feel they are biomechanically sound; Ron can take them to that next level. He helped me through postural restoration and improved my golf game along the way!
Karla Curran - Coach, Wahoo Cross Country
I cannot say enough about the quality of care and personal attention you receive when you visit Hruska Clinic. From the moment you walk through the door, you are treated professionally. Both my son and daughter are receiving treatment through Hruska Clinic; my son due to a catastrophic hip fracture, and my daughter because of significant muscular imbalances. I am happy to report that they are both doing very well competing in cross country this fall. We have been to other physical therapists, but without a doubt, Hruska Clinic is by far the best. They don’t just treat the problem, they determine why it happened in the first place, and through specific strengthening exercises, correct it.
I trust Hruska Clinic’s judgment completely, that is why I have recently begun treatment at the Clinic, and have recommended them to several of my athletes. As a coach, I can rest assured that my athletes will be taken care of, and back on the course in no time. Thank you, Lori, and all the crew at Hruska Clinic. You are truly a blessing!
Christy Peterson, PT - Valley County Health System, Ord, NE
I have utilized Postural Restoration techniques for both myself and my patients for several years. I have practiced for 23 years and now consider this approach to be my most valuable tool for effective patient treatment. The philosophy of decreasing unwanted muscle tone by total isolation of others offers extremely rapid results.
Initially I had a difficult time believing an obers test could be negative following a few simple exercises, however, now that I truly understand Ron’s philosophies, I am observing this occurrence on a regular basis.
The entire philosophy of improving diaphragm function and developing normal respiratory patterns to assist with normalized movements of the trunk is crucial. Patients that I believe would normally be sent to a pain clinic are improving.
I have had a personal history of headache pain and sacroiliac and scapular instability. Normal strengthening and stability programs were not effective. Ron assisted me with exercise and referred me to Dr. Michael Hoefs, a TMJ and cranial facial pain specialist. He fit me with a night and day splint that seemed to be the missing link in relaxing my headache pain. I had considerable limitation in right shoulder internal rotation for 20 years that had not responded to stretching. In 1 week my rotation was completely normal and my neck tension relieved. This is effective therapy! I still need to exercise and watch my position; however I can now choose to be pain free. As for my sacroiliac dysfunction, I can now run more comfortably at 48 years old than I did 25 years ago.
The integration of systems I see performed at Hruska Clinic including respiration, vision, dental and musculoskeletal seem to create a unique opportunity for rapid tone changes, improved postural balance and subsequent pain relief. My previous skepticism has been negated by amazed patients who are witnessing major changes in functional ability and pain reduction.
For example, I brought an extremely involved patient to see Ron after an orthopedic surgeon classified her as a symptom magnifier. She originally had been diagnosed with a spondylisthesis and subsequently fell prone in a waterskiing accident resulting in extreme hyperextension of her low back and a black eye. She reported tingling and pain in all four extremities as well as low back, neck and thoracic pain. Ron questioned possible head trauma as she also had 2 other head insults previously. After assessing that her peripheral vision was lacking on one side, he placed tape on each lens of her eye glasses to force her to focus peripherally. Following walking 3-4 minutes, she reported immediate relaxation of her low back. She was then able to return to the plinth to find she could lie flat comfortably – the first time in 2 years. Ron felt her vision had kept her locked in the sagital plane. My patient is a living example of restoration of function as we began exercises, incorporating all planes of movement with her glasses and tape in place. She is now functioning well with minimal discomfort although we continue to see her intermittently for manual therapeutic techniques and progressive exercise.
My son has undergone vision therapy and I certainly understand the strong correlations between vision and posture, which was reinforced by the above example.
Diagnoses that used to be very difficult to treat are now fun to tackle including hip bursitis, thoracic pain, headache pain and TMJ dysfunction. Our clinic of PRI therapists sees low back pain for an average of 4 – 6 visits. It only makes sense to me that we were created with a body designed to function integrally with all its systems dependent on each other. I commend Ron for stepping out in the forefront to help us begin to understand this process.
After searching for the cause of my health problems for six months with four different doctors, it took Lori Thomsen ten minutes to figure out what was wrong with me. Who would have thought that constant nausea, diarrhea, and stabbing pain in my abdomen would be caused by an out of alignment pelvic bone? Although my gastroenterologist had run every test possible, I had received no answers and was incredibly frustrated. Lori spent ten minutes actually listening to my symptoms and observing my posture. She was able to diagnose me just by looking at me. After a few posture tests, Lori realized that I had not been using the muscles on the left side of my body to walk, sit, stand or even ride a bike. After three visits and completing simple exercises in my home, I was able to eat for the first time in six months. The constant nausea and stabbing pain disappeared. Lori worked with me to re-learn how to use the left side of my body and strengthen those muscles. She worked with me for three months to teach me the skills I needed to maintain a balanced posture. I have been nausea and pain free for six months now and am enjoying living my life again. I am truly grateful for the knowledge, skills, and caring attitude found at the Hruska Clinic. Thank you!
Barb Drevo -Patient
After countless doctor appointments, physical therapy, and chiropractic care – which all offered temporary pain relief at best – I was referred to Hruska Clinic. After my first session, the first thing that struck me was I could actually BREATHE better, then, I realized I didn’t hurt anymore. I cried tears of relief! Hruska Clinic has given me a permanent solution to my pain through one-on-one sessions with a physical therapist and simple, highly effective exercises I can do at home. There aren’t words to describe my sincere gratitude to Dave and Hruska Clinic.
Rae Ann -Patient
I went to great therapists, doctors, and even pain management before being referred to the Hruska Clinic. Needless to say I was pretty discouraged and worn out from chronic back pain and the frustration with frequent relapses. I started therapy with Lori Thomsen and it has made a world of difference! She has provided the direction, encouragement and support for me to decrease my pain, increase mobility and maintain them both. Lori is enthusiastic and passionate about the PRI approach which instills in me the strength and desire to continue my daily exercise program. She makes every effort to answer my questions and concerns both during and in between appointments so that I keep on track. The PRI approach has been a major influence in my overall well-being. I would not be where I am today without the help of Lori, the staff at the clinic and their use of the PRI principles. I am deeply grateful for their positive influence on my life!