Ryan Minarik, ND, LAC.
Minarik’s passion and clinical focus is centered around musculoskeletal complaints related to chronic pain, sports/athletic injuries, joint conditions, and motor vehicle injuries. He treats a wide range of patients, including professional and olympic level athletes. His extensive experience and training with numerous needling modalities has made him an expert in the fields of prolotherapy, platelet rich plasma, acupuncture, dry needling, and related techniques - therapies often effective as alternatives to pharmaceutical pain management or when conventional routes such as physical therapy, or even surgery, have failed.
Aside from his specialty in chronic pain and injuries, Dr Minarik has experience treating an array of patients, particularly conditions including gastrointestinal, autoimmune, hormonal, allergies, and general fatigue. Many of his cases are complex and multi-factorial, requiring a diverse approach of both assessment and treatment, often overlooked with conventional care.
Specialty Training & Education
Dr. Minarik has attended annual events and received training from all 3 prominent national prolotherapy organizations (AAOM, AOAPRM, Hackett-Hemwall Foundation) and continues to stay current with the most cutting-edge platelet-rich plasma (PRP) research at TOBI PRP conferences. He attended the inaugural training for neural prolotherapy, presented by the founder of this technique, Dr. John Lyftogt. He has been trained in musculoskeletal ultrasound diagnostics and needle guidance, and utilizes this method of imaging to increase accuracy when performing certain injection procedures. He has had training in Biopuncture and neural therapy, superficial injection techniques to reduce pain and inflammation and speed recovery from injury. He received fundamental and advanced kinesio taping training through the Kinesio Taping Association International. While trained in traditional Chinese Medicine, Dr Minarik often employs a modification of standard acupuncture techniques used by physical therapists and other practitioners, known as dry needling, specifically in athletes and for sports injuries.
Dr. Minarik received his medical training as both a Naturopathic Doctor and Acupuncturist at the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) in Portland, Oregon. He then completed a 2 year residency at the school.
I believe that health is a balance, and that treating any condition usually involves treating or addressing more than just one component. While this may be less necessary for acute, simple conditions, such as treating a bacterial infection with an antibiotic, many patients I treat have chronic, complex conditions for which there is not a matching single drug treatment. Modern medicine today has given us a number of incredibly helpful medications, but the reliance on these for too long leaves one with a growing, often insidious, list of side effects and a decreasing focus on the true reasons for their condition: the things they do daily that directly influence their body such as diet, nutrition, lifestyle, stress and environment. I love science and medicine, and believe in proven therapies with researched evidence. There is much conflicting research around both pharmaceutical and natural therapies, which I am always happy to discuss to provide understanding of appropriate use. Finally, I also believe that we do not have all the answers, and there are some patients whose conditions are so complex or misunderstood that we may need to try therapies outside the realm of double-blind, placebo controlled medicine. For these, I am always upfront with patients about our expectations and the alternative approach.
Personal Philosophy & Approach To Care
Our initial visit typically involves a thorough history, exam, and consideration of additional lab testing. For more longstanding conditions, typical lab tests may not give a complete picture and there are many independent, certified labs (Spectracell, Diagnostechs, Metametrix, US Biotek, and more) that can help identify relevant physiologic imbalances or infections. The first visit is also important in helping you navigate your treatment options - are there other viable approaches for your digestive condition or should the drug be the first option? Can we utilize prolotherapy, or does the state of your shoulder injury ultimately require surgery? Or is there a combination of therapies that reduces the side effects of the primary medication? I believe as the patient you are empowered by understanding your condition - control should be yours, not the doctor's (emergent cases aside).
I ultimately treat using a diverse approach that may involve supplements, nutrition, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, pharmaceuticals, bioidentical hormones, herbs, or regenerative injection therapies. I will prescribe pharmaceutical drugs when I don't believe a viable alternative exists, or where the risks of the disease outweighs seeking other treatments. I believe supplements can be extremely helpful and often safer than common drugs, but I still try to limit the number of pills you ultimately have to "pop". My foundation for treatment almost always incorporates diet and lifestyle, to begin to modify the habits you do on a daily basis that are the primary influence on your health and disease.
Techniques Specific to Musculoskeletal Complaints and Sports Injuries
My initial therapeutic approach is based on the specific cause and location of pain, type of injury, length of time since onset, and any underlying systemic health factors. Therapies are often combined and include:
- Dry Needling
- Platelet Rich Plasma
- Ultrasound-guided procedures and diagnostics
- Trigger Point injections
- Neural Therapy
- Neural Prolotherapy
- Cupping, GuaSha and other myofascial release techniques
- Nutrition and Diet guidance and modification
- Compounded pain creams
- Routine and specialty Lab testing
- Supplements and nutraceuticals
I am native to the Pacific Northwest, growing up in Washington State and attending the University of Washington in Seattle as an undergraduate. At the beginning of 2008 my wife, Lynsey, and I established Elixia Wellness Group, a multi-practitioner holistic health clinic in the Sellwood neighborhood. My interests outside of medicine and my family include traveling, and most any outdoor activity I can participate in such as rock climbing, kite boarding, snowboarding, tennis, soccer, hiking, mountain biking, and fly fishing.
In the spring of 2013 I suffered a severe rotator cuff injury while rehearsing for an acrobatics performance. I was unable to hold even something as light as a coffee mug with my arm extended. My estimated chance of recovery after surgery was [predicted to be] 50 percent.
I started PRP with Dr. Ryan Minarik in hopes of increasing my chances of a successful surgery. However, the treatments yielded such dramatic results that now, a year later, I don’t require surgery at all! I can do a 1-arm dead hang and multiple pull-ups easily. I can hold a free-standing handstand for 90 seconds and counting. I can do flips and handsprings without pain or instability. PRP helped me get my life, and career as an acrobat back! I am so very grateful.”
—T.Z., Professional Acrobat
“I’m a 66 year old practitioner of Crossfit, a vigorous regiment of weight training, mobility training and gymnastics. I had been involved in the sport when I damaged my shoulder. You identified the issue as a complex combination of bursitis, tendinitis, torn ligaments and a generally unhealthy 66 year old shoulder. You recommended several PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) treatments… My recovery has been more than I had hoped. Within four months I was back to pre-injury levels. At the beginning of 2014 [after PRP treatment] I began training of the Crossfit Open Games. I completed the 5 session competition several weeks ago… The competition included, among other movements, pull-ups, dead lifts, burpees, and thrusters. All of these movements required a strong, active, healthy shoulder.
Thanks for the treatment and the resulting opportunity to become a better Crossfit athlete.”
“I am so thankful for Dr. Minarik! He found my problem immediately after having gone undiagnosed for years. Dr. Minarik prescribed a strict diet, a few supplements and he worked with me to keep medication to a minimum. After only 6 months my diabetes is under control. I only wish I would have found him sooner.”
“THANKS A MILLION for your kindness and great prolo treatments and saving me from the scalpel!“
“I’ve been seeing Dr Minarik for 4 or 5 years now and the level of care he provides and the wealth of knowledge he possesses in my mind goes unrivaled. Even now living in California I still fly back regularly to visit with him about various health concerns.“
“Dr Minarik has always been one of my favorite doctors, he’s super knowledgable and truly cares. I’ve seen him for a number of things but recently he’s helped me tremendously by easing my joint pain and increasing stability with prolotherapy and PRP.“
“Just wanted to let you know that I had an mri last week bc of some twingey knee stuff. I got the results today and my knee looks AWESOME. No evidence of ACL tear at all. Sooooo, thank you!“
-B.K., prolotherapy patient
“Dr. Minarik is a true healer. He completely changed our lives through careful and comprehensive consideration (and then treatment) of what was making my son so ill. Would recommend him in a heartbeat.”
“I have commercially fished for 33 years and have been a competitive power lifter for 25, which has caused severe arthritis in both hips. I’d had prolotherapy done with Dr. Minarik and had geat results. We had both discussed that PRP might be a good way to go for my hips. With the option between replaced hips or PRP, I chose PRP. With just 1 injection on the left side, I’ve had great results and no pain anymore after 6 weeks. Now we are working on the right side. I’m thinking of going back to power lifting.”
– G.O., 61 years old