Relief Through Relaxation

Sedative Stretching protocol alleviates longstanding back, neck pain.

For 10 years, New York native Bill Morrissey visited the warmer climate of Florida’s west coast. Three years ago, he and his wife bought a home here and began living as snowbirds. Last winter, following his wife’s retirement, the couple made the Sunshine State their permanent residence. But Bill remained active in his own career.

Bill’s photo courtesy of Bill Morrissey.

Bill Morrissey

“I’m a national sales executive with a technology company, and I can work from wherever I want,” Bill explains. “My company sells technology primarily to public sector clients such as governments and educational institutions. Our products include hardware, software and services surrounding the implementation of that hardware and software.

“I started in this business when I got out of the service. At that time, I needed to work. I had a wife and two children, and I got a job with IBM. Today, I’m with a small, privately held company out of the West Coast. I love my job, which is why I’m still working at 63 years old. I’ve been in technology sales for 40 years now.”

Bill had another hurdle to clear after he left the service. That obstacle was related to a lower back injury he suffered in the early 1980s while he was still serving. The damage and discomfort associated with that back injury intensified over the decades.

“The injury was nothing traumatic, just a strain, but it got worse and worse,” Bill shares. “I didn’t want to have surgery, so I found a chiropractor. I received chiropractic treatments for a number of years until I eventually required surgery for a protruding disc. I underwent a microdiscectomy to surgically remove the disc in 1999. It helped dramatically.

“But over the last five or 10 years, my back slowly but surely started bothering me again. I found a chiropractor in New York I liked and worked with him for a long time, and he was able to help me.

“When we moved to Florida, I started having a lot of problems with my spine. I had to have my knee replaced, and because of my bad knee, I was limping a lot, which caused my back to become worse. My neck was stiff as well.

“The pain I was experiencing wasn’t intense. I mostly felt discomfort and stiffness. The pain I had was probably a four, five or maybe six on a scale of one to 10, depending on the time of day. I looked up chiropractors in the area and saw some good reviews for Dr. Johnson, so I decided to give him a try.”

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

Dr. Johnson noted that while Bill’s pain level was usually moderate, it sometimes became excruciating and prohibited him from exercising or performing regular activities.

“Bill also complained of a stiff and sore neck,” Dr. Johnson adds. “His flexibility was so decreased that he was unable to completely move his neck back and forth from side to side. The range of motion in his right shoulder was compromised as well.”

“Dr. Johnson and his Sedative Stretching opened up a lot of avenues for movement for me. I can now do most of the activities I want to do, such as ride my bike, work out and walk on the beach.” – Bill

To learn the cause of Bill’s discomfort, Dr. Johnson performed a thorough evaluation of Bill’s lower back and neck and ordered x-rays of his spine. Based on the results, Dr. Johnson initially recommended standard chiropractic care.

“He started with some of the same procedures that my chiropractor in New York used, but Dr. Johnson has a more well-rounded care system, so he added laser therapy and physical therapy to the mix as well,” Bill says.

“Those treatments began to ease my discomfort, and then one day I read about Sedative Stretching in Dr. Johnson’s waiting room and asked him about it. He thought I was a good candidate for it, so I agreed to it. When a person has pain and discomfort, they’re willing to try different things, so I didn’t hesitate.”

Scar Tissue

Many people with painful muscle and joint problems can benefit from Sedative Stretching, Dr, Johnson notes. He says 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 adds, 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 to address the cause of their condition as early as they possibly can,” Dr. Johnson emphasizes. “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.”

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.Graphic courtesy of J.R. Bee with VeryWell.

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. But while it’s very common for people 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 remarks. “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.”

Instinct to Resist

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.

“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. Without the use of sedation, this would be impossible to do.”

“Normally, when you’re being manipulated, your first instinct is to resist or fight back,” Bill relates. “But when you’re sedated, the chiropractors have more control over your body, so they can do more with your legs, back, neck, whatever part of your body they’re working on. The sedation takes you off guard.”

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

Bill says his relief increased dramatically when Sedative Stretching was added to Dr. Johnson’s initial chiropractic care program.

“While I noticed improvement in my condition before, the Sedative Stretching procedure took the pain relief to a new level,” Bill says. “Now, I don’t have any pain or discomfort in my back or neck.”

Following Sedative Stretching, the flexibility in Bill’s back and neck increased significantly. He was able to return to activities that were previously uncomfortable to perform.

“I’m at 85 to 90 percent of where I was, which is near perfect,” Bill states. “I’m not sure I’ll ever be perfect because I have degenerative problems with my spine, but Dr. Johnson and his Sedative Stretching opened up many avenues for movement for me. I can now do most of the activities I want to do, such as ride my bike, work out and walk on the beach.”

Dreams Do Come True

Mary Macedonio, PsyD

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 in response to a national tragedy.

“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 also of living in Florida. Two months ago, she made that fantasy a reality when she relocated her 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.”

Through her years as an IT professional and psychologist, Dr. Macedonio managed to stay laser-focused on her job despite dealing with numerous coexisting spinal conditions.

The issues 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!

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

“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 relief. After relocating, she began a search for someone who could pick up where the other provider left off. That brought her to Dr. Johnson.

“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 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.”

“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.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Macedonio.

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

“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. 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.

“The care I received at Johnson Medical Center was fantastic. 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.”

Like Dr. Macedonio, Bill greatly appreciates Dr. Johnson’s work as well as his engaging manner and professionalism.

“I like Dr. Johnson a lot,” Bill says, “Being in sales my whole life, personal relationships are important. And he’s one of the best – if not the best – chiropractors I’ve ever worked with. I highly recommend him and Sedative Stretching.”

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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