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Jun 01, 2023

Rock Valley Physical Therapy and Brenda Block: A winning relationship fostered by trust, care, compassion

Relationship- building is a cornerstone of Rock Valley Physical Therapy, mixing ever-so-perfectly with tremendous patient care to “Make Better Lives.’’

Involved is a commitment from a dedicated therapist and the willingness to trust – and hold the therapist accountable to provide great care  – by the patient. 

For nearly 40 years, the result has been a winning combination.

Omaha Nebraska’s Brenda Block, is bright and energy-filled, the possessor of a 10,000-watt personality. Forever active and ever-gracious, Block, struggling with life-altering knee pain, turned to Rock Valley Physical Therapy to return her to the active and on-the-go lifestyle she has dedicated herself to lead.

“Brenda arrived at Rock Valley struggling with bi-lateral knee arthritis, unable to climb steps, working at 30 minutes of easy pilates two times a week and apprehensive at doing more,’’ said Mike Stodden, MPT, CIDN, Director of Relationships. Stodden, compassion-filled and forever-caring, boasts a decorated, two-decade career of ”Making Better Lives.’’

“Brenda is active and there were times when she was unable to make it through a store for grocery shopping due to not being able to walk more than five minutes without extreme pain,’’ added Stodden. “Imagine what it’s like not being active and being able to be yourself. It’s a struggle.’’

Block admits to the physical ups and downs, noting she had been treated by hospital physical therapists before her sister shared her plight with Stodden. Soon, Block put her faith and trust in the veteran therapist to simply turn her life – physically – back in the right direction.

“Part of the struggle was not putting everything in place, following the path – all that goes into walking and moving correctly,’’ said Block. “I was working pilates to strengthen my core, but didn’t realize there was so much that goes into moving the right way. Mike’s personality, attention to detail and his care, made a huge difference for me. I saw that in everyone at Rock Valley.’’

Stodden spoke in glowing terms of Block’s willingness to get better.

“After working with Brenda for two months, she is climbing flights of stairs one after the other, walking in the store without difficulty, doing pilates for an hour up to three times a week,’’ Stodden said of Block’s progress. “Once I explained to her that she was lacking strength to navigate the stairs, and therefore lacking confidence in herself afraid that she would fall down the stairs, she bought into the therapy exercises and the home exercise program, and started to make gains.’’

Stodden also said Block, ever the go-getter and the perfect patient, has – despite making tremendous strides – trouble with math.

“She asked me if she could handle an hour of pilates and I told her absolutely, because she was doing 40-to-50 minutes of hard exercises here (in the Rock Valley clinic),’’ said Stodden. “The funny thing was she told her sister thanks for sending her to Rock Valley, but also said she sometimes gets sore. So in watching, I noticed Brenda doesn’t or can’t count reps when I start talking to her. Therefore, she likely does two times as many reps. No wonder. Truth is, Brenda is a great and determined patient, and is/has been a joy to work with. She is confident, she is stronger, has less pain and working out more and harder than she ever has.’’

Block says despite the great strides made, she will continue to follow the path to success she has paved.

“Maintenance is the approach,’’ she said. “There is the physical side and I’m working that part, but there is all that goes into the right way to walk, to move and all that comes with that. I need to continue to get better with that part. I’m so glad I found Rock Valley and Mike, he has been amazing, but I noticed that with all the therapists and their approach.’’

By: Johnny Marx, Storyteller