Fast Relief from Back Pain

Treatment delivers relief of pain and return of flexibility.

On a trip to Florida three years ago, Tom Bermingham fell in love with doing yoga on the beach. He also fell head-over-heels for a woman named Lisa.

Photos courtesy of Tom Bermingham.

Tom is back in his garden and feeling like himself again.

For three years, Tom and Lisa were involved in a long-distance romance. In March 2017, Tom decided to relocate to Florida permanently. The move was a boon for Tom emotionally, but the effort aggravated a long-term physical condition.
“I had sciatica for about five years,” shares the Buffalo, New York native. “When I loaded up my pickup truck and moved down here, it hurt my back and caused me to become incapacitated.
“I started having horrible back spasms. There was also a sharp, stabbing pain that started in my lower back and ran down my right leg to my toes, and my toes were numb.
“From one to ten, the pain was a ten. It was unbearable. I’m a happy-go-lucky guy, and I was miserable. I didn’t even know who I was. I didn’t feel like myself. I’d look in the mirror and say, Who is that guy?
To help ease his agony, Tom attempted several treatments on his own. He tried stretching, doing light exercise, eating properly and even praying, but nothing worked. The pain actually got worse instead of better. It interfered with his everyday life and leisure activities.
“I couldn’t do anything I enjoyed doing,” he remembers. “I couldn’t work. I couldn’t lift anything heavy. I’m an avid bike rider, and I love gardening. I also love physical activity and going to the gym, but I couldn’t do any of those things.
“My girlfriend is a massage therapist, and she was having issues with numbness in her neck that radiated into her arm. She was going to have a procedure done called Sedative Stretching. She suggested I have it done as well.”

Stretch It Out

Sedative Stretching is a specialized treatment protocol offered by Jeffrey P. Johnson, DC, of Johnson Medical Center in Venice. It is an expanded and comprehensive form of manipulation under anesthesia, or MUA. At Lisa’s urging, Tom made an appointment with Dr. Johnson, who took x-rays of his back and performed a thorough evaluation.

Graphic from

Dr. Johnson encourages his patients to do
stretches like these every day.

“Tom came to me complaining of lower back pain that radiated into his right lower extremity,” notes Dr. Johnson. “His examination revealed lumbar disc and facet syndromes with sensory deficit in the right L three, L four and L five nerve root distributions. More importantly, he had weakness in his right foot due to nerve impingement.
“His condition was the result of severely restricted motion in the lumbar spine due to adhesions and contracture of the muscles surrounding these vertebrae.”
As soon as Tom met Dr. Johnson, he liked him. He found the doctor knowledgeable, professional and detailed, as well as kind and patient. After spending time with the chiropractor, Tom felt he was in the right place to get care for his back condition. He trusted Dr. Johnson and agreed to his recommendations.
“Initially, Dr. Johnson wanted to adjust me and see what that accomplished,” says Tom. “He did that for two weeks. I improved a little, but then it seemed I wasn’t getting any better.
“Even though the pain was relieved a bit with the manipulations, it was still there, and my problem wasn’t resolved. At that point, Dr. Johnson said he was certain Sedative Stretching would be good for me.”

Insidious Onset

Mary Mitchell has worked as a registered nurse for more than 30 years. After so long, the demanding responsibilities of the job took a toll on her body.
“In nursing, there’s a lot of bending, stretching and bad positioning that occurs,” comments the Iowa native. “Once, I had a patient who was going to fall. I tried to help the patient not fall and ended up hurting myself instead. Those little things add up.”

Photos courtesy of Mary Mitchell.

housework is much easier for Mary since her treatment.

For Mary, they added up to discomfort and disability.
“Over the course of time, I developed muscle spasms in my back that ran from my neck all the way down to my lower spine,” she describes. “A couple of years ago, my condition started becoming more bothersome.
“My back became constantly sore and tight; my muscles just wouldn’t relax. Sometimes, there was a painful burning feeling that would come and go all through my spine, then radiate down my legs. It wasn’t like a stabbing pain. My muscles were very, very tight.”
Mary adjusted her positions and body movements to compensate for her lack of flexibility. She was able to continue working, but always came home at the end of the day exhausted and in pain. Other activities were harder to manage, and she was eventually forced to give up a few.
“For the past two years, I couldn’t run because the pain in my back traveled down my legs,” reports Mary. “Even when I walked a mile or two for exercise, I could feel it in my lower extremities, and my back was always tight.
“Doing housework was a chore because my back hurt all the time, especially if I did any lifting or deep cleaning. I couldn’t hold or play with my grandchildren due to the pain.”
In her early 50s, Mary concluded she was too young to be feeling this way and started seeking treatment options. She thought of Dr. Johnson, whom she knew through her children’s school. She called Johnson Medical Center and got an appointment right away.
“Dr. Johnson gave me a more thorough exam than any doctor has ever given me,” states Mary. “He then took some x-rays. When I went back, he spent a good hour explaining what he found during his evaluation, and it explained all my symptoms.
“Healthy muscles look flat and fat, where mine were just like a bungee cord going down my back. It made sense of how I felt.”
“Mary’s condition had a slow, insidious onset and was preventing her from completing many of her daily activities,” observes Dr. Johnson. “Her condition was a result of chronic adhesions throughout the lower back and neck, causing accelerated degeneration and arthritis of the disc and facet articulations.
“This caused irritation of the nerves extending down into her left thigh and right upper extremity, resulting in muscle tightness, soreness and spasms.”
The doctor gave Mary options for a plan to eliminate her symptoms. One was the traditional chiropractic route with manipulations and therapy, and another was Sedative Stretching. When Mary asked him what he would recommend if his wife were the patient, the doctor responded, “Hands down, I would have her do Sedative Stretching.” That’s the route Mary took.

Injury Inflammation

Many people with various 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.”
Graphic from“People start losing flexibility when their typical, daily activities cause a minor injury that leads to inflammation,” informs Dr. Johnson. “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.”
Warning signs and symptoms 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.
“People will compensate how they move their bodies when this occurs, although they don’t always realize it,” acknowledges Dr. Johnson. “This is evident everywhere while watching the way people walk, bend, twist and turn.”
Regrettably, many people wait until significant damage has occurred from excessive wear and tear before they seek appropriate care. Often, patients 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.

Wrestler’s Reaction

As part of the Sedative Stretching procedure, the patient is put under light sedation, sometimes called “twilight” sedation. With the patient relaxed, doctors can then take the affected joints through their normal full range of motion, freeing the adhesions that have developed between the joints that are causing the pain.
“While the patient is sedated, we use light, comprehensive stretching techniques,” explains Dr. Johnson. “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.”
“I’m one of those people who muscle guards when being manipulated,” admits Tom. “I think that’s a reflex from being a wrestler in high school and college. If someone tries to force something on me physically, the wrestler’s reaction is to fight back. After the Sedative Stretching procedure, Dr. Johnson told me he was able to stretch my entire body.”
The Sedative Stretching procedure is coordinated by a highly trained team of medical professionals. 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.
There are typically a couple of weeks of rehabilitation following the treatment itself to reinforce the increased movement obtained from the procedure. During this time, patients are instructed how to perform stretching exercises to prevent the condition from recurring, notes Dr. Johnson.

“I feel wonderful. I’m lifting fifty-pound bags of concrete, and I’m tiling floors and painting walls. I’m also back to gardening and bike riding. I feel like myself again.” – Tom

“By following this protocol, patients regain the flexibility they had decades before, and typically, they return to activities they haven’t done in years,” he asserts. “This is truly correcting the original cause of their conditions.
“In almost all cases, more can be accomplished with one Sedative Stretching procedure than with years of other types of treatments.”

Career Change

When Tom’s Sedative Stretching procedure was finished, Dr. Johnson told him the procedure went well and he was on his way to recovery. Tom felt instant relief from the stress of his condition. He immediately realized having the procedure done was the right step for him to take.
“Pain relief wasn’t instantaneous, though,” he remarks. “When I first came out of the procedure, I felt more of an emotional relief. The physical relief came with the follow-up visits to Dr. Johnson. After a few weeks, I had an amazing improvement in my mobility, and the pain started to go away. Now, it rates about a two instead of a ten.”
The same was true for Mary. She didn’t experience a significant decrease in pain immediately following Sedative Stretching, but she noticed other changes that surprised her.
“Right afterward, I didn’t feel any different, but it was weird because all of a sudden, I could bend down,” reveals Mary. “Before the procedure, I couldn’t touch the floor with my hands. I could barely get past my knees. But that day, I was able to touch the floor. I had a lot more flexibility in my neck, too.”
In Buffalo, Tom had been an accountant. Since his Sedative Stretching procedure, he’s switched careers. Now, he does a more physically demanding job. He’s also returned to many of his favorite activities.
“After I got healed at Johnson Medical Center with Sedative Stretching, I started doing home renovations with a partner here in Venice,” he relates. “I feel wonderful. I’m lifting fifty-pound bags of concrete, and I’m tiling floors and painting walls. I’m also back to gardening and bike riding. I feel like myself again.”
Like Tom, Mary experienced positive results from her procedure, and she’s returned to most of her activities without pain. She’s taking others a bit more slowly, however, because she wants to make sure all of her muscles are strong and healthy to support her spine.
“The change since Sedative Stretching has been dramatic,” she marvels. “Before, I couldn’t do sit-ups because my back was so tight. Now, I’m working on building up my core muscles before I get back to running. But I’m walking, and I’m walking faster, and my stride has opened up considerably.

“Sedative Stretching is the best thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. It’s beyond amazing.” – Mary

“I don’t feel that tension in my back and neck anymore. Doing housework is much easier, and I can now get down on the floor and play with my grandchildren.”
Both Tom and Mary are delighted with the outcomes of their treatments, and both are pleased with their experiences at Johnson Medical Center. They are happy to talk about Dr. Johnson and Sedative Stretching to anyone who asks.
“I one hundred percent recommend Sedative Stretching for others with painful back conditions,” says Tom. “And I absolutely recommend Dr. Johnson and Johnson Medical Center. I would go to Johnson Medical Center even if I didn’t need any further chiropractic treatment because Dr. Johnson and his staff are just so darn nice.”
“I can’t say enough nice words about the people who work in that office,” agrees Mary. “They immediately made me feel cared for, and they were considerate of my time. They do a fabulous job.
“Sedative Stretching is the best thing I’ve ever done in my entire life,” she adds. “It’s beyond amazing. People have asked me where I had it done, and I tell them, Johnson Medical Center. Thanks to Dr. Johnson and his procedure, I’m able to get on with my life. I don’t hurt anymore like I did, and it feels euphoric!”

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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