Flex and Balance

Stretching protocol alleviates pain from coexisting spinal conditions.

Since she was a young girl, New York native Mary Macedonio, PsyD, aspired to become a psychologist. And while she initially followed a different career path, she ultimately fulfilled her childhood dream and became a psychologist in response to a national tragedy.

Mary Macedonio, PsyD

“By the time I was 10 years old, I knew I wanted to be a psychologist,” Dr. Macedonio shares. “My primary motivation was to understand what made people tick. But life took a different turn, and I became an IT professional.

“Then 9/11 happened, and I decided at that point that it was time for me to return to my first love so I could provide support. So, I completed my education, received my doctorate and went on to become a psychologist.”

For years, Dr. Macedonio daydreamed not only of becoming a psychologist but of living in Florida. Two months ago, she made that fantasy a reality when she relocated her psychology practice from New York City to Venice.

“I recently opened Gulf Coast Therapy Center in the Tandem Center on Venice Island,” she describes. “It’s a holistic, integrative mental health center, and our goal is to walk with our clients while they heal, reset and grow. We offer adult, child and family therapy.”

All through her years as both an IT professional and a psychologist, Dr. Macedonio managed to stay laser-focused on her job despite suffering from the effects of numerous, coexisting spinal conditions.

Those conditions include cervical kyphosis, an abnormal curve in her neck; scoliosis, an abnormal curve in her back; stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal, and 10 disc herniations with multiple bulging discs.

“According to what I’ve been told, I suffered an injury at birth that caused significant permanent, lifelong issues,” Dr. Macedonio relates. “I experienced excruciating pain in my hands and feet that felt like burning, stabbing electrocution.

“My back pain was so significant that I often found myself on the floor, sometimes for days, unable to move, with my legs up and my back braced against something to stabilize my spine. Any movement caused agonizing pain.

“I would get blinding migraines, and I couldn’t turn my head from side-to-side. And my shoulder pain was constant. A scale of one to 10 didn’t do it justice. One to 10 was too little. My pain was typically one to 1,000! Basically, my entire body hurt, and the pain very often interfered with my life. Back in the day, I used to dance, lift weights, ride a bicycle and even inline skate. But over the years, my movement became very limited.”

While living in New York, Dr. Macedonio received routine treatments from a chiropractor that gave her some pain relief. After relocating to Florida, she began a search for a new provider who could pick up where her other chiropractor left off.

Her search brought her to Jeffrey P. Johnson, DC, of Johnson Medical Center in Venice. Dr. Johnson specializes in a protocol for back and neck pain called Sedative Stretching, which is an expanded form of Manipulation Under Anesthesia, or MUA.

“Dr. Macedonio came to our office complaining of migraines, neck pain and pain in both shoulders that radiated into her arms, the right arm more so than the left,” Dr. Johnson recalls. “She also reported lower back pain that radiated into both hips and legs and caused stabbing pain in both feet.

“Dr. Macedonio had been experiencing these symptoms for decades and had undergone numerous evaluations and tests by neurologists and orthopedists with no resolution. Because her symptoms came from multiple sources on the spine, Dr. Macedonio was a good candidate for Sedative Stretching.”

Constrictive Condition

Sedative Stretching can benefit many people with painful muscle and joint problems. 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, Dr. Johnson says, 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,” the chiropractor asserts.

“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. But over time, these injuries develop into severe and sometimes debilitating conditions.”

“I feel great since my Sedative Stretching procedure. I’m feeling so well I’m back at the gym.” – Dr. Macedonio

Inflammation is part of the body’s natural healing process during which a mesh of connective tissue, commonly known as scar tissue, is laid down. 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 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. But while it’s very common for people to become stiff and sore with age, it’s not normal.

“Although they don’t always realize it, people will compensate how they move their bodies when this occurs,” Dr. Johnson points out. “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.”

Adhesion Independence

Dr. Macedonio feels so much better after Sedative Stretching that she has returned to the gym.

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 adhesions that have developed between joints that trigger pain.

“We use light, comprehensive stretching techniques while the patient is sedated,” Dr. Johnson explains. “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. Without the use of sedation, this would be impossible to do.”

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 one procedure; it is rare that patients require a second procedure to fully address their condition.

“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 observes. “This is truly correcting the original cause of their conditions.”

“A Major Blessing”

For years, Dr. Macedonio felt there was a disconnection between what her brain was telling her body to do and what her body was doing. And pain was often the result. She says that uncomfortable feeling disappeared following her Sedative Stretching procedure.

“When it was over, I remember thinking, My brain is finally communicating with the rest of my body,” she recounts. “My body was receiving the signals my brain was sending, and for the first time, I actually felt like I was in one piece, that everything was working the way it was meant to. And to me, that was a major blessing.”

Dr. Macedonio’s outcome is a godsend to her.

“I feel great since my Sedative Stretching procedure,” she reports. “I’m feeling so well I’m back at the gym. Before, my pain was excruciating, but now I’m either pain-free or, at most, it’s a three or four on a scale of one to 10. That’s extremely nominal compared to where I was, and I can definitely live with that.

“My mobility has improved significantly as well, and I no longer have headaches. Certainly, I’ve had headaches with opening a new business, but not functional headaches.”
Dr. Macedonio has kind words for Dr. Johnson and his staff. They make her association with Johnson Medical Center comfortable and positive.

“Dr. Johnson is incredibly personable and very kind and compassionate,” she says. “He’s extremely understanding and interested in my background and symptomology. He’s proven to be a true blessing because I’ve never felt better.

“I just can’t say enough about the care I receive at Johnson Medical Center. Every member of the team is a pleasure to deal with. I recommend Dr. Johnson and Sedative Stretching, and already have. I have gladly shared my experience with others.”

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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