Skip Surgery

Noninvasive stretching protocol relieves pain, restores flexibility.

During his working years, Bill Lundgren owned an advertising and marketing agency, but he was always a musician at heart. After retiring and relocating from New Hampshire to Florida three years ago, Bill immediately began volunteering with a local arts organization, directing several musical performances.

Dr. Jeffrey P. Johnson of Johnson Medical Center in Venice treated Bill Lundgren and Pat Shehorn for lower back and neck pain using Sedative Stretching.

Bill Lundgren

Finally given a chance to live out his dream, Bill refused to let an agonizing back condition that dates back to his childhood stop him.

“When I was a kid, I fell out of a tree, landed on the sidewalk and crushed a vertebra,” shares the Rhode Island native. “I spent a few months lying flat in bed. I couldn’t get up, couldn’t do anything, in order for my back to heal.

“It has bugged me ever since, and over the last couple of years, the pain and stiffness in my lower back gradually increased. It got to a point where one area was basically solid as a rock and didn’t move at all. The muscles were frozen from guarding.

“The pain in my back was in the seven to eight range on a scale of one to ten. I’d also get radiating pains down my legs that were tens and literally put me on the floor. My legs would go out from under me and drop me to the ground.”

When it came to activities, Bill was bound and determined not to let his back pain stop him. He chose to keep going and not give in to the pain. There were times, of course, when he had to take it easy, but in general, he didn’t let the pain interfere with what he did. His willpower lasted only so long, however.

“Most of the stuff I did didn’t require me to be highly physically active,” Bill admits. “Schlepping equipment is one thing, but that’s short-lived, and I could usually find help, so it wasn’t generally a problem. But living with chronic pain, as anybody who’s been through it knows, is incredibly debilitating.”

As Bill’s back pain intensified, he sought advice from several medical specialists, including a neurologist and neurosurgeon. However, he wasn’t satisfied with what either physician told him.

“The neurologist performed an exam and told me there were many degenerative changes happening,” Bill states. “Then I saw a neurosurgeon, and the first thing he said was, Let’s fuse all the discs. I didn’t think that was the answer, because I’ve never heard of anybody who had that done that was happy with it.

“At that point, I started looking for other alternatives, and I have a good friend who suffered with a serious shoulder problem who went to Dr. Johnson and had his special stretching procedure. She was amazed by how much better she felt after that procedure, so I decided to make an appointment with Dr. Johnson.”

Jeffrey P. Johnson, DC, is a skilled and experienced chiropractor at Johnson Medical Center in Venice. Dr. Johnson has expertise in a specialized treatment protocol called Sedative Stretching. Sedative Stretching is an expanded and comprehensive form of Manipulation Under Anesthesia, or MUA.

“When Bill came in to the office, he described having lower back pain that radiated into the rear pelvic regions on both sides of his body and both front thighs,” Dr. Johnson reports. “He specified he had burning pain in the front side of his hip on his left side and said his left leg occasionally gave out on him.”

“Dr. Johnson performed an amazingly thorough neurologic assessment, and I’ve been assessed by a specialist,” Bill describes. “He took x-rays and showed me some of the things that were going on with my back. He showed me how some of the tissue had bonded together, so everything was frozen tight.

“Dr. Johnson is a real straight shooter. He said if he didn’t think he could help me, he wouldn’t recommend Sedative Stretching. Between his honesty and the fact that the process made sense to me when Dr. Johnson explained it, I decided to move forward with the treatment. I’m just sorry I waited so long.”

Limited Follow-Through

Pat Shehorn is a retired health care executive who continues to consult from her home in Chicago. During the chilly winter months, the snowbird leaves Illinois and travels to Florida so she can golf year-round. Pat struggled with back and neck pain for some time, but a problem with her golf swing was the final straw that sent her in search of help for her condition.

“The first clue something was wrong was when the middle finger on my right hand turned blue,” relates the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native. “Then about a month later, it happened to a finger on my left hand. We thought it was nerve impingement in my brachial plexus under my arm. Then my golf game went horribly wrong.

“I had a huge knot between my neck and shoulder, which was achy and sore to the touch. I also had lower back pain with tingling in the bottoms of my feet. I must have a high pain threshold because, although the pain was a six or seven, I was generally just uncomfortable. Mostly, I was losing mobility and flexibility.

Dr. Jeffrey P. Johnson of Johnson Medical Center in Venice treated Bill Lundgren and Pat Shehorn for lower back and neck pain using Sedative Stretching.

“My pain is much better as well. It’s down to a one, sometimes a two, and I can manage that. It’s a piece of cake.” -Pat

“As a result of the pain, tingling and stiffness, I had difficulty bending and stretching, and I was losing range of motion. I still did my daily workouts, but they just didn’t feel right. And I couldn’t follow through on my golf swing, and that affected my game.”

It was a neighbor who told Pat about Dr. Johnson. Pat was hesitant at first because she’d never been to a chiropractor. She was concerned because she thought all chiropractic adjustments were rough, and she didn’t want that. A quick call to Johnson Medical Center assured her that Dr. Johnson’s approach is gentle, so she made an appointment.

“Pat came to us complaining of neck pain and stiffness,” Dr. Johnson observes. “She had occasional tingling in her fingers and color changes in her right third finger and left fourth finger. She also experienced episodes of shooting pain down her right arm. In addition, Pat experienced lower back pain that radiated into her right gluteals and the side of her right hip.”

“Dr. Johnson performed a physical assessment and took x-rays, then came up with a treatment plan,” Pat recounts. “He said an alternative would be Sedative Stretching, but doing that was totally up to me. After about a month of treatment, I opted for Sedative Stretching. I was grateful Dr. Johnson was able to treat my neck and back during the same procedure.”

Scar Tissue Scourge

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.”

“The sooner a person addresses the cause of their condition, the better,” 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.

“People will compensate how they move their bodies when this occurs, although they don’t always realize it,” 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.”

Twilight Treatment

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 and are causing the pain.

“While the patient is sedated, we use light, comprehensive stretching techniques,” Dr. Johnson informs. “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.

Typically, there are a couple of weeks of rehabilitation following the procedure itself that are designed to reinforce the increased movement obtained from the treatment. During this time, patients are instructed how to perform stretching exercises to prevent the condition from recurring.

“By following the recommended exercises, patients regain the flexibility they had decades before, and typically, they return to activities they haven’t done in years,”
Dr. Johnson emphasizes. “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.”

“Piece of Cake”

Following Sedative Stretching, Bill and Pat returned to Johnson Medical Center for their post-procedure rehabilitation. That included doing additional stretching and learning stretching exercises, which they were instructed to do at home.

Dr. Jeffrey P. Johnson of Johnson Medical Center in Venice treated Bill Lundgren and Pat Shehorn for lower back and neck pain using Sedative Stretching.

Bill has always been a musician at heart.

“After I had the procedure, I went back to Dr. Johnson every day for a week,” Bill remembers. “He repeated almost the same procedure as the Sedative Stretching, which was essentially rolling me into a tight ball to keep the adhesions from sticking again.”

“For the first two weeks following the procedure, I went to see Dr. Johnson five days a week,” Pat recalls. “Then, this past two weeks, I’ve been going three days a week. But I’m doing my stretching exercises three times a day, preceded by heat and followed by ice packs, to keep the inflammation down.”

Bill and Pat are glad they put their trust in Dr. Johnson and Sedative Stretching. Both patients achieved significant pain relief from their procedures, enough relief to live comfortably.

“Within a few days of the Sedative Stretching procedure, my pain dropped dramatically,” Bill raves. “Instead of being a seven or eight on the pain scale, I’m consistently down to around a three, which is bearable.”

“Things are good now,” Pat agrees. “I’m back to golfing, and I can bring my golf swing all the way through. My pain is much better as well. It’s down to a one, sometimes a two, and I can manage that. It’s a piece of cake.”

Pat was especially impressed by her improved range of motion and flexibility following Sedative Stretching.

“When I first saw Dr. Johnson, he asked me how I turned my head to drive,” Pat recollects. “I told him I used my mirrors to see. But since Sedative Stretching, I can turn my head, so I can see what’s behind me when I pull out. And my neck doesn’t hurt.

“Now, after stretching, I can bend over and touch my toes. It’s another sign that I’m much more flexible. Sedative Stretching was very successful for me. I wish I’d done it sooner. If anyone’s in pain, I recommend Dr. Johnson and Johnson Medical Center.”

“Sedative Stretching is an amazing treatment,” Bill enthuses. “I definitely recommend it to anybody who’s got spine problems. Who wants to go under the knife if you don’t have to. And it’s a lot easier if you can find somebody like Dr. Johnson. I wasted a lot of time with those other doctors, but not so with Dr. Johnson.
I’m a believer!”

Print This Article
    • 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