Correct the Cause of Pain

Stretching protocol relieves neck and back pain, restores flexibility.

Photo courtesy of Lori Falcone.

Lori Falcone

Two years ago, Bronx, New York native Lori Falcone, 55, and her business partner expanded their company to include a power washing and paver sealing division.

Being a business owner can be stressful, and Lori tends to hold stress in her neck and shoulders, which caused severe neck pain and intense headaches. Lori also believes her genetics are partly to blame for the pain in her neck, shoulders and head.

“I’m short and I’m Italian, so I have no neck to begin with,” she states. “That’s always been a joke with me. I went to a chiropractor regularly, and every time I went, I asked them, Can you please pull my neck out of my shoulders? It looked like my shoulders were sewn to my earlobes.

“I got migraine headaches three to four times a week, and that’s a good week. When some people get migraines, they get nauseous or sensitive to light. When I got one, I couldn’t think or function. They were very debilitating. I went to neurologists. I got massages every week, and I went to a chiropractor. I got some relief, but it was never long-term.”

After taking up yoga a few years ago, Lori discovered she had a significant decrease in flexibility in her lower back as well. She didn’t have pain in her back per se, but she did have soreness and stiffness, especially first thing in the morning. Lori says that over time, she simply became accustomed to the discomfort in her lower back, unlike the pain in her neck and shoulders. Lori’s yoga instructor was surprised by her lack of flexibility.

“There’s one yoga pose where you put your knees up to your chest, then roll to the left and hold out your right arm,” Lori describes. “My arm was a foot off of the floor. It wouldn’t go down any farther. My yoga instructor said, That’s not where it’s supposed to be.

“I also couldn’t touch my toes when I bent over. The instructor said, When you bend over, you’re bending from the middle of your back instead of from your lower back, where you’re supposed to bend. I didn’t know I was doing that.

“But there was never as much pain in my lower back as there was in my neck and shoulders. That pain was debilitating. There were many times at bedtime when I’d be in tears because my neck and shoulders hurt so much. Sometimes, I cried myself to sleep.”

Lori was not achieving results from the treatment she was undergoing at the time. Her best friend, however, had visited Jeffrey P. Johnson, DC, at Johnson Medical Center in Venice and undergone his specialized treatment protocol for back and neck pain called Sedative Stretching. She told Lori about Dr. Johnson, who has expertise in Sedative Stretching, an expanded and comprehensive form of Manipulation Under Anesthesia, or MUA.

“My friend had been telling me about Dr. Johnson for a while, but I didn’t go right away,” Lori recalls. “Life just got in the way. But finally, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I went to Johnson Medical Center for an exam.

“When Lori originally came to our office, she was suffering with chronic, moderate-to-severe lower back pain that radiated into both of her hips,” Dr. Johnson states. “She attributed the cause of her back pain to a basketball injury she sustained when she was thirteen years old.

“Additionally, Lori was suffering with significant chronic neck pain and stiffness that radiated into both of her shoulders. On examination, she had a tremendous loss of range of motion throughout her neck and more severely in her lower back and sacroiliac regions.

“Because of the long-term effects of restricted spinal movement and function, Lori also was experiencing accelerated disc degeneration throughout her neck and lower back. Due to her medical history and previous care, I believed she was a good candidate for the Sedative Stretching procedure.”

“Dr. Johnson told me he’d have to work on me every day for a year to get the same benefit I’d get with one Sedative Stretching procedure,” Lori comments. “I did the math and compared one procedure to how much it would cost to go every day for a year to get the same benefit. I decided to give Sedative Stretching a shot.”

Failing Flexibility

Many people with painful muscle and joint conditions can benefit from Sedative Stretching. Ideal candidates are those with conditions such as unresolved neck and back pain, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, sciatica, frozen shoulder, acute and chronic muscle spasm, headaches and failed back surgery syndrome. The procedure can also benefit people who want to regain lost flexibility or those who are “sick and tired of being stiff and sore.”

“It’s best for people to address the cause of their condition as early as they possibly can,” Dr. Johnson notes. “The chronic stiffness, tightness and pain cause excessive wear and tear on the joints of the spine and extremities, resulting in permanent degeneration and arthritis.

“People start losing flexibility after minor injuries incurred during their typical daily activities result in chronic, low-grade inflammation. Many times, this occurs in early childhood and is a long-forgotten event. Over time, these injuries develop into severe and sometimes debilitating conditions.”

Inflammation is part of the body’s natural healing process, which lays down a mesh of connective tissue, commonly known as scar tissue. Over time, layer upon layer of scar tissue can form in the muscles, tendons and ligaments around the joints, restricting the joints’ ability to move properly. These layers of scar tissue are called adhesions.

The symptoms and warning signs generally associated with adhesions include the slow and insidious loss of flexibility, as well as an increasing achiness and soreness. Most people will attribute this to normal aging. While it’s very common to become stiff and sore with age, it’s not normal.

“While they don’t always realize it, people will compensate how they move their bodies when this occurs,” Dr. Johnson reports. “This is evident everywhere while watching the way people walk, bend, twist and turn.

“Regrettably, many people wait until significant damage from excessive wear and tear has occurred before seeking appropriate care. Often, people will utilize over-the-counter and prescriptive medications, which help alleviate their symptoms.

“Unfortunately, this gives the patient a false sense of being cured while the underlying scar tissue continues to cause excessive damage.”

Unguarded Muscles

Photo courtesy of Lori Falcone.

Lori Falcone

During Sedative Stretching, the patient is put under light sedation, often called twilight sedation. With the patient relaxed, the affected joints are brought through their normal full range of motion, freeing the adhesions that have developed between the joints, causing pain.

“While the patient is sedated, we use light, comprehensive stretching techniques,” Dr. Johnson describes. “Since we don’t have to contend with tense, guarded muscles, we are able to free up the scar tissue and mobilize the joints without causing the patient any discomfort. This would be impossible to do without the use of sedation.”

A highly trained team of medical professionals coordinates the Sedative Stretching procedure. Generally, there are multiple health care providers present, including an anesthetist and several nurses. Patients usually require only one procedure. It is very rare that patients require a second procedure to fully address their condition.

Dr. Johnson recommends that patients follow up the procedure by spending about two weeks in a rehabilitation program designed to reinforce the increased movements obtained from the treatment. During this time, patients are taught stretching exercises that prevent the condition from recurring.

“By following the recommended exercises, patients regain the flexibility they had decades before, and they generally return to activities they haven’t done in years,” Dr. Johnson asserts. “This is truly correcting the original cause of their conditions.”

“Absolutely Life-Altering” 

Lori underwent Sedative Stretching on May 9, 2019. She was amazed by how quickly she experienced positive results from the procedure. Others noticed a change in her as well.

“I felt a difference immediately,” Lori reports. “About a week after the procedure, I had my yoga instructor watch while I performed the pose where my arm was a foot off of the ground. I could put it down completely. When I bent over, she couldn’t believe the difference. She was absolutely floored by my increased flexibility.

“Then a month after my Sedative Stretching procedure, I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in a while. She looked at me and said, Oh my God! You have a neck.”

As part of Dr. Johnson’s follow-up care, patients are taught specific stretching exercises to prevent their conditions from returning. Lori performs her prescribed stretching routine religiously, and it’s helped maintain the benefits she received from her Sedative Stretching procedure. Together, the procedure and her routine stretching have significantly improved Lori’s quality of life.

“I feel fantastic now,” she raves. “I don’t get the debilitating migraine headaches, and if I feel one coming on, I can get rid of it by stretching. I don’t have the tension in my shoulders anymore. I’m feeling great now. I don’t wake up with pain, and I don’t go to bed with pain.

“I’ve already recommended Dr. Johnson and his Sedative Stretching. My husband has had it done. I recommend this procedure to anyone who goes to a chiropractor and hasn’t been evaluated for Sedative Stretching. They should speak with Dr. Johnson to determine if they’re a candidate for it. It was absolutely life-altering for me.”

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    • Johnson Medical Center

      Dr. Jeffery P. Johnson has practiced in Venice, Florida since 1986. His practice is focused on treating patients with many conditions, including those that are not responding to conventional treatments such as physical therapy, chiro... Read More

    • Jeffrey P. Johnson, DC

      Jeffrey P. Johnson, DC, is a graduate of Life Chiropractic University, Marietta, GA, with additional training through National College of Chiropractic, Chicago, in Manipulation Under Anesthesia, proprietary substances, and chiropracti... Read More