The day that Muhammad Ali came to Heather Hill School

Dr. Ralph Kruse
(Photo by Tom Houlihan/H-F Chronicle)

For some 18,000 people, it’s a good thing Dr. Ralph Kruse had back pain when he was a young man.

Kruse was a pre-med student at State University of New York – Stony Brook with plans to become a veterinarian.

“But I’d had this back pain for four years,” Kruse said. “A friend said, ‘You should go to my chiropractor.’ I wasn’t so sure about whether I wanted to do that, but I’d tried everything else.

“But after two treatments, the difference was amazing. And that was that.”

Kruse, who opted for a career in chiropractic medicine, opened his first two-room office in Flossmoor in 1990 just months after graduating from National University of Health Sciences (then National College of Chiropractic). He is now celebrating his 25th year in business as owner and clinic director of Chiropractic Care in Homewood.

A south suburban native, he was drawn back to the area to start his own practice. In 2001, he moved to a much larger office in Olympia Fields. Ten years later, he moved to Homewood, purchasing a space in Westgate Plaza at 2417 W. 183rd St. where he could live upstairs and work one flight below.

“I found Homewood’s location and sense of community an ideal place to grow my practice,” he said.

Kruse has made time not only to improve his clinical skills but to actively participate in the business community as well.

He has been a member of the Homewood Area Chamber of Commerce, the Homewood Business Association and has served on Homewood’s Beautification Committee – no surprise to those who’ve seen the bursts of color from the flowering plants that flourish in front of his office.

But for the thousands of patients he has treated, Kruse’s ongoing medical study has made all the difference. For more than 20 years, he has participated as a clinical researcher in federally funded studies hosted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

He also has worked alongside medical doctors, surgeons and researchers at the Loyola Stritch School of Medicine, National University of Health Sciences and Palmer College of Chiropractic.

After studying a treatment method known as the Cox Flexion-Distraction technique, he was asked by its developer, Dr. James Cox, to become an instructor, traveling nationally and even internationally to certify chiropractors in the technique for the past decade. This year, Kruse taught seminars in London and Geneva, Switzerland.

When Cox wrote a textbook about his approach, he asked Kruse to write a chapter on treating back pain in pregnant patients.

“I was glad to do it,” said Kruse, who has published numerous papers in professional journals on the treatment of disc herniation, degeneration and stenosis in the neck and back.

His practice also has expanded to include licensed massage therapists and exercise specialists. After buying the former Golden Buddha restaurant space next door, Kruse opened the Wellness Center to provide space for rehabilitation, physician-guided stretches and exercises and exercise classes and lessons.

In 2008, he opened his second office on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. But Homewood will always be his base.

“I hope to continue providing chiropractic services in Homewood for years to come, and I intend to increase the availability of exercise instruction and classes offered at the adjacent Health & Wellness Center,” Kruse said.

“My greatest satisfaction comes from patients who express their ability to return to the activities they enjoy, thus improving their quality of life.”

Patty Houlihan is the H-F Chronicle’s public outreach manager

Community Calendar

News by email

Subscribe to The Latest (daily headlines email)

* indicates required

View previous campaigns.

Free weekly newsletter

Subscribe to The Weeks (weekly newsletter)

* indicates required
Most read stories this week