Sherwood's Ryan Schulz wants to get the word out -- there's hope out there for those who suffer from severe headaches and migraines that doesn't involve pain relievers or cost a bunch of money.
Schulz, owner of Vertical Wall Physical Therapy since 2014, said in addition to his goal of helping those who need physical therapy get back to their former selves (ideally better than when they were injured), he also wants to help those afflicted by chronic headaches.
"Headache and migraines are something I've become very passionate about," he said.
Schulz, a 2000 Sherwood High School graduate, adheres to the theory that the neck plays an integral role in headaches, and he follows the training of Dean Watson of the Watson Headache Institute in Australia.
Schulz holds a certificate in orthopedic manual therapy from Australia's Curtin University in Australia and recently underwent special training in a small class setting with Watson.
He is certified as the only person in the United States allowed to use Watson's methods.
"I'm the only one at this point," said Schulz, about a treatment that reduces pain without medication, "which goes against the grain of any medical model out there."
"Everyone who has headache and migraine should have their neck skillfully assessed," he said, noting that the goal is to wean patients off medication so that they feel better within the second or third visit. He has even put together an ebook on the subject of headaches.
Schulz has degrees in biology and physical education from Pacific Lutheran University and received a doctorate of physical therapy from Regis University in 2008.
From there, he worked at a couple of stand-alone physical therapy ventures and did some travel contracting in physical therapy.
"Physical therapy is a very high demand career so there are a lot of opportunities," said Watson. "It's one of the fastest growing careers out there."
Schulz interest in the body and being in top physical condition dates to his youth.
At age 11, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, spending two years going through treatment, irritated that he wasn't able to be as physically active as he wanted while in the hospital.
So during his recovery he did such things as lift weights and shoot baskets.
"It made me recover quicker," he said of his physical activity.
Today, he and his wife Beth, a radiation therapist who graduated from Tigard High School, help out with Candlelighters, a non-profit group that aids children with cancer.
Schulz said the goal is to get kids with cancer out of the hospital and encourage them to mentor other kids who have the disease, something he describes as "awesome." Giving those with cancer a purpose is good for cancer survivors, he said.
For those going through physical therapy and those trying to get rid of headaches, Schulz has found that if a patient isn't motivated to do the work needed to get well, it does neither one of them any good.
Schulz said he likes to see patients motivated to get well by doing the work that's require.
"And that," he said, "is very rewarding."
What Schulz likes best about physical therapy is having time to develop relationships with people, having as long as an hour to empower individuals and give them the knowledge of understanding what they are going through.
In addition to his Vertical Wall Physical Therapy business, Schulz works for Home Health Providence.
For the future, Schulz said he wants to focus more on reducing headaches and migraines, providing relief that is less invasive and cheaper than the current medical model provides.