Your Best Shot

For Healing And Relief

Orrin’s farm chores are a little easier now that the feeling in his feet has returned.

from pain, stiffness, numbness, and tingling.

Effective nonsurgical approaches get patients back on their feet.

For more than 25 years, Orrin Brown owned a thriving poultry distributorship in Plant City. His company, he’s proud to point out, supplied poultry to the majority of dining establishments in the state.

“If you ate a piece of chicken from a fast-food restaurant in the state of Florida, it probably came through me,” Orrin effuses. “We bought around 2 million pounds of poultry a week from processors and then distributed it.”

Orrin sold his business in 2004, but at 84 he doesn’t consider himself truly retired. The Florida native continues to run his small farm, performing all the daily chores required. When he does get free time, he’s usually hunting and fishing.

“I hunt elk at 10,000 feet and hike through the mountains of Colorado,” Orrin elaborates. “My wife and I own a beach house in North Florida. We often go there to fish.”

Orrin’s favorite activities became more challenging after he was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2005. The ailment affected his joints, including the joints of his lower back, causing pain and restricting his mobility. Orrin thought chiropractic treatment could ease his symptoms, so he visited Jeffrey P. Johnson, DC, at Johnson Medical Center in Venice.

Dr. Johnson specializes in a protocol for back and neck pain called Sedative Stretching, an expanded form of Manipulation Under Anesthesia. Dr. Johnson recommended the protocol to help alleviate Orrin’s back pain and restore his mobility.

“During Sedative Stretching, they put me to sleep and stretched my whole body, but especially my back,” Orrin describes. “The treatment helped immensely. I felt like I was 70 years old again, and I started doing my activities again, including hunting.”

While his back was being treated, Orrin brought up another painful issue he was experiencing. He told Dr. Johnson that he was suffering disabling neuropathy in his feet.

“My feet had been numb for about four or five years,” Orrin relates. “There was numbness on the balls of my feet, and I was having terrible trouble walking, particularly while hunting. Walking in the woods is difficult anyway; add to that a fear of falling.”

Dr. Johnson told Orrin about a new treatment he offers for fighting pain and disability called regenerative medicine. He explained how regenerative medicine works by harnessing natural healing factors in the body to treat disease and injury and relieve pain.

“The healing factors also help restore function to the body’s damaged tissues,” Dr. Johnson expounds. “Those tissues can include the peripheral nerves, which are affected in neuropathy. The supplementary effects of regenerative medicine can help improve neuropathy symptoms, including numbness in the feet, so we recommended it for Orrin.”

Self-Healing Stimulation

Dr. Johnson notes that the objective of regenerative medicine is to place renewing substances into damaged tissue to stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself. It works especially well on degenerated or injured joints.

“In Mr. Brown’s case, our primary target was to improve the cushioning effect in the joints of the feet, ankles and legs,” the doctor states. “Secondary benefits include the supplementary healing effects the renewing substances have on the surrounding muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves.”

He adds that he has observed “amazing results” with his patients suffering with neuropathy, including a decrease in symptoms of numbness, tingling, burning and pain.

Dr. Johnson describes his regenerative medicine protocol. “First, we take some of the patient’s blood, spin it down in a centrifuge and use the platelets to create platelet rich plasma, or PRP,” he details. “PRP contains healing and growth factors that help the body’s regenerative cells rebuild tissue in the damaged joint.

“After the PRP, we inject another material called Wharton jelly, which contains more of the vibrant substances that promote the body’s healing ability.”

Wharton jelly is the protective tissue that surrounds arteries and veins of the umbilical cord. A vital component of fetus development, Wharton jelly is obtained from women who donate their babies’ umbilical cords following healthy births. Wharton jelly contains a high concentration of healing and growth factors, which help to cushion arthritic or injured joints.

The regenerative medicine protocol at Johnson Medical Center begins with three consecutive weekly PRP injections.

“At this point, I’m 80 to 90 percent cured, but I’m expecting to reach 100 percent.” – Orrin

“The PRP gets the joint ready for the Wharton jelly injection, which is the last of four injections that are part of our protocol,” Dr. Johnson informs. “Wharton jelly is the most effective tissue we use to promote healing.”

Injections are less invasive than surgery, and patients recover much faster, Dr. Johnson contends. In addition, there is a very low risk for complications, such as bleeding and infection, which can occur with joint replacement and other surgeries.

“Regenerative medicine provides an option for patients with conditions that a year ago I would just refer for surgery,” the doctor asserts. “It’s been a terrific addition to our practice, where we also use physical therapy, chiropractic and other modalities to assist with the process of rehabilitating the joint. The goal is for the treatment to be a long-term restorative event, not just a short-term fix.

“Best of all, it works. We’re seeing tremendous results with our regenerative medicine protocol. Within weeks of treatment, patients are experiencing terrific relief from joint pain. In a period of months, we’re seeing an actual increase in the joint space and true healing of the joint. You don’t see that level of healing with joint replacement
or other surgery.”

At Johnson Medical Center, regenerative medicine injections are administered by a specially trained medical provider under ultrasound guidance, which ensures the injections are appropriately placed at the site of the degeneration and/or injury.

“Our provider has traveled across the country to receive the best training in regenerative medicine techniques,” Dr. Johnson assures. “She has developed expertise in using ultrasound to get the PRP and Wharton jelly exactly where it needs to be in the joint. She doesn’t give the injections blindly.”

Orrin’s neuropathy symptoms responded quickly to Dr. Johnson’s regenerative medicine protocol. Orrin noticed a difference in the numbness in his feet even before his treatment was completed.

“I received a total of four injections one week apart, and by the second or third injection, I was feeling some sensation in my feet again,” Orrin reports. “I was given my last injection in early April, and right now, I have feeling all over my feet.

“My walking is probably 80 percent of what it was when I was younger. At this point, I’m 80 to 90 percent cured, but I’m expecting to reach 100 percent. When I went hunting this past spring. I got to the woods before daylight and had no fear.”

Shared Experience

As a homemaker and mother, Marlene Vose raised two sons. When her sons became teens and flew the coop, Marlene looked for someone else to mother. She started volunteering for multiple organizations within her native New Jersey community.

Marlene feels ready to begin golfing again.

“I volunteered at Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Browns Mills as well as the dialysis center in New Jersey,” Marlene shares. “There were many other volunteer organizations I was involved with, including those for multiple sclerosis and kidney disease. I drove people to the hospital for their treatment and then back home.

“I’m a people person, which is why I volunteered. When someone needs help, I’m there for them.”

Marlene, 85, needed someone to be there for her last year when a longstanding back issue flared and caused intense pain. The condition also interrupted Marlene’s active lifestyle, which includes spending time golfing, line dancing and sailing.

“About 50 years ago, I was in a car accident in which I was hit from behind,” Marlene recounts. “I’ve had trouble with my back ever since. Then a year or two ago, my back condition started getting really bad.

“The severe pain I experienced felt both sharp and aching at the same time. It stayed mostly around an eight on a scale of one to 10, but at times it was a 10. It hurt to just sit and ride in a car, so I couldn’t do that for very long, and I eventually had to stop dancing because of it.

“The pain was so bad that it even woke me up at night and made it hard for me to get back to sleep and get a good night’s rest. I’ve had back problems for a long time, but not to this extent. I was a mess.”

Adding to Marlene’s plight is an inner ear issue that affects her balance and causes problems when she walks. Because her balance is off, Marlene was unable to stand and walk straight. Instead, she tilted forward, facing the ground.

“Five years ago while in Virginia visiting our son, we were taking a walk and I fell flat on my face,” Marlene relates. “Fortunately, my son was in front of me and my husband was in back and they grabbed me, but I ended up with a banged-up face.”

Marlene escaped serious injury on that occasion, but walking while tilted forward substantially increased her fall risk. Any fall could result in an injury to Marlene’s back, which could aggravate her pain and disability.

Over the years, Marlene visited many health care providers, including chiropractors and family physicians, seeking help for her back. She tried physical therapy and rehabilitation programs, but they provided only minimal relief. When her pain exploded last year, she became desperate. Shortly after, she learned about Dr. Johnson and Sedative Stretching.

“My husband and I picked up a copy of Florida Health Care News, and I started to read Dr. Johnson’s article,” Marlene recalls. “It was about a woman who golfs, and I golf. I said, Oh, my God, that’s me. Her experience was just like mine.

“This was November 2020, and I didn’t care if I got COVID, my pain was so severe that I just wanted help. I went to Dr. Johnson, sat in his office and asked, Can you help me? He listened very attentively and said, Yes, I can help you. He suggested Sedative Stretching.”

“My pain level now is maybe a one instead of an eight or 10, and that’s wonderful.” – Marlene

Scar Tissue Adhesions

Many people with painful muscle and joint problems can benefit from Sedative Stretching, Dr. Johnson asserts. He says that 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 continues, 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 stresses. “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 typical daily activities result in chronic, low-grade inflammation. Many times, this occurs in 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 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 symptoms 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 aging. But while it’s very common for people to become stiff and sore with age, it’s not normal.

“When this occurs, people will compensate how they move their bodies, 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 occurs before seeking appropriate care. Often, people will utilize over-the-counter and prescriptive medications, which help alleviate symptoms. Unfortunately, this gives a false sense of being cured while the underlying scar tissue continues to cause excessive damage.”

Regained Flexibility

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 elaborates. “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.”

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 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.”

Unanticipated Benefit

Marlene says she gained immediate relief from her pain following the Sedative Stretching procedure. The protocol also resulted in a benefit that neither Marlene nor Dr. Johnson anticipated.

“After the Sedative Stretching procedure, I could stand up straight,” Marlene enthuses. “We were amazed. Dr. Johnson looked at me many times and said, I can’t believe how straight you are standing.

Since undergoing Sedative Stretching, Marlene’s back pain has decreased substantially. As a result, her daily life has improved markedly. As her back condition continues to improve, Marlene is slowly resuming her active lifestyle.

“My pain level now is maybe a one instead of an eight or 10, and that’s wonderful,” she states. “My sleep is good. My walking is great. I can go up and down the stairs at my house. Before I had to hold onto the railing but not now. I just zip right up and down the stairs. And I started line dancing again, which feels good. I haven’t attempted golfing yet, but I feel I can do it. I plan to try golfing and sailing again soon.”

Orrin and Marlene are exceptionally pleased with the outcomes of their treatments. They are also pleased with the provider and his staff.

“Dr. Johnson is wonderful,” Marlene praises. “He’s very personable and really listens to me. He said he could help me and he did. All the people at Johnson Medical Center care about their patients. I think that goes a long way.”

Orrin calls Dr. Johnson the “Rolls-Royce of doctors.”

“He’s top of the line,” Orrin raves. “He’s knowledgeable and has compassion about his business, which drives the whole thing. He’s the best doctor I’ve ever been to, and his staff are great people.

“My experience at Johnson Medical Center was definitely a positive one. I would do it again in a second if I had to, and I’d gladly recommend Dr. Johnson and regenerative medicine to anybody.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photos by Jordan Pysz. mkb
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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

      Dr. Jeffrey P. Johnson has been in private practice since 1986. At Johnson Medical Center, Venice’s premier, fully integrated medical clinic, Dr. Johnson and his team can treat every member of the family. The practice specializes in dia... Read More