Author Archives: Charlie
Author Archives: Charlie
Herniated Disc Treatment: Step One- A self question and answer quiz to help you get in touch with what’s going on and help you determine if you have the symptoms of a herniated disc… Knowing what could have caused your back pain, when it started and what makes it better/worse as well as where you’re feeling things- are all super important questions to know and understand.
Once we know the answers to these questions we can start to to get to the root cause of your back pain and begin treatment for you herniated disc and begin specific exercises to get you relief from your lower back pain.
Click the video below to learn how to start healing your own back..
If you live in the Philadelphia or King Of Prussia area- and are looking to get to the root cause of your pain naturally, over drugs, injections, or surgery…
Call 484 552 3767 to learn about our lower back pain treatment program.
A common question people ask me (on a near daily basis) is- Can my herniated disc heal… or will I need surgery? The answer is a quick YES (meaning yes it can heal.. and NO you likely will not need surgery). This is great news- your body has an amazing ability to send specialized healing cells to the area that’s injured to help the tissue heal.
Truth is, your back is no different than a papercut… both get injured and both can heal. Now, I get it- having back pain is mysterious- most of the time we have no clue what brought it on… and even when we do- WE CAN’T SEE A THING! This can be scary… and leave us wondering what could be going on down there. In many cases- people get images to try and “figure out” what the issue is… Unfortunately- that rarely works… Why? Well, it’s been shown that there is little to no correlation between what is found on the image and what causes your pain. Who’s to say what was found on your x-ray or MRI wasn’t there 10 years ago… and you never knew about it until someone went searching for a problem.
Send your cell phone into the lab to be “swabbed” for germs… do you think they’ll find any? OF COURSE… same goes for your back. Now, do you go around worrying about all those germs… probably not. Your back is no different.
Most people can’t handle the truth (but I tell them anyways) that in many cases of lower back pain- we have no idea what the root cause it… meaning- we don’t know what’s going on.
Crazy, but true. So, if you’ve been told you have a herniated disc- take it with a grain of salt… and know that IF it actually is the source of your back pain- chances are high that it will heal up just fine within 3-6 months.
If you’re looking for quick relief- call us at 484 552 3767.
While there are many causes of lower back pain- the single most common cause is a herniated, bulging, or slipped disc… however you want to say it, disc problems often cause central lower back stiffness. This stiffness often occurs after sitting, driving, or spending time in a bent over position AND then trying to stand up straight. You may feel resistance or some transitional pain. As you move- you feel better and the stiffness subsides.
Understanding what could be causing your stiffness can be key in treating it. Learning what makes it better and what makes it worse, along with specific exercises can give you relief from your lower back pain.
Call 484 552 3767 if you’ve got lower back stiffness that you’re looking to resolve.
What causes Sciatica? Well, a whole host of things… but the single most common cause of sciatica is a herniated disc. A herniated disc is the number one cause of sciatica because of where the disc is located… and how it is commonly injured.
The purpose of the disc is to act as a cushion between the bones in your spine. Commonly, herniated discs are injured by way of bending, lifting or twisting- which places a bending stress on the spine. This stress places pressure on the front of the disc- causing material inside the disc to move towards the back- putting pressure on the back wall of the disc. In many cases- only the disc is injured… but in some cases- if the disc herniates- then pressure can be placed on the nerves which exit behind the disc.
In most cases- the disc material herniates out the back and to one side… leaving you with pain numbness or tingling down one leg.
Keep in mind, while a herniated disc is the #1 Cause of sciatica- there are many other things that can cause it… be sure to consult with a physical therapist in your town for further direction if you have questions.
If you live in philadelphia, royersford, limerick, collegeville, or phoenixville, pa and are looking to get to the root cause of your pain with natural treatment over drugs, injections, or surgery…
Call us directly at 484 552 3767
Did you know that the biggest predictor of whether or not you’ll have lower back surgery is your ZIP CODE? AND people who have an MRI are more likely to have spine surgery. Even more fishy… if the surgeon who recommends the MRI owns the MRI machine, well- the likelihood of spinal surgery increases 34%. – (Lurie, Birkmeyer et al. 2003).
If you live in the Limerick, Royersford, Phoenixville, or Collegeville area… you’re aware that surgery centers (Rothman) are popping up everywhere. And you guessed it… the more surgeons in your area… the more likely you are to have back surgery- NOT COOL… and straight up wrong if you ask me.
With spinal surgery, especially spinal fusions, on the rise… I can’t help but ask myself- What’s going on? Why not PT 1st…
And, I’d be okay with more spine surgery… if research supported that it was the best thing for people with back pain…
Unfortunately, commercials and many surgeons are still recommending fusions despite growing evidence that suggests spinal fusion is NO BETTER THAN conservative treatment (physical therapy).
Spinal fusions were originally performed to help those with severe scoliosis, fractures, and a condition where the spine is unstable (fusing the bones helps make it stable again)… they were not designed to help people with general back pain.
The only true reasons for back surgery are for problems where your nerves are being compromised… losing function- if you notice severe leg weakness or numbness in your leg that is getting worse, or loss of bowel or bladder function. In these cases, back surgery may be used to restore health of the nerve.
Here’s a video I created that chats about when you need back surgery…
I’m consistently amazed by the number of people who have general lower back pain that are recommended to have injections or even surgery as the first step in relieving their back pain or sciatica. Makes no sense.
So why do people continue to get spine surgery and whose fault is it anyway? 3 reasons that I can think of…
1- People think it will be a “quick fix” to their pain.
2- People/society continues to have a “fix me” vs “fix myself” mindset.
3- Healthcare providers not advocating for or educating their patients as they should (lack of time, insurance constraints, MONEY?!)
The takehome? If you’ve got lower back pain- stay active, be informed about your options, and remember- surgeons do surgery!
If you live in the Limerick, Royersford, Phoenixville, Collegeville, Valley Forge, King of Prussia, or Philadelphia area call 484 552 3767 to resolve your back pain naturally.
1. Institute of Report from the Committee on Advancing Pain Research., 2011)
2. Surgical predictors: Lurie JD, Birkmeyer NJ, Weinstein JN. Rates of advanced spinal imaging and spine surgery. Spine. Mar 15 2003;28(6):616-620.
3. Mannion AF, Brox JI, Fairbank JC. Consensus at last! Long-term results of all randomized controlled trials show that fusion is no better than non-operative care in improving pain and disability in chronic low back pain. Spine. 2016;16:588-50
Shoulder pain is super common… luckily physical therapy has been shown to be just as effective (not to mention much safer) than surgery. There are four main types of shoulder pain. Here they are…
Click the link below or keep reading.
1. Weak & Painful Shoulder
2. Stiff & Painful Shoulder
3. Unstable Shoulder
4. Other (often from the neck)
WEAK & PAINFUL SHOULDERS: People who have weak and painful shoulders are often told they have shoulder impingement, a rotator cuff tear, tendinitis, bursitis, or bone spurs. These people can often move their arm fully, without loss of motion, but often have pain while doing so. The pain commonly occurs while reaching up and out the side or behind the back. Treatment for this type of shoulder involves gradually strengthening the shoulder and restoring painfree movement through hands on therapy and exercise.
STIFF & PAINFUL SHOULDERS: People who have stiff and painful shoulders often have a gradual onset of pain and loss of motion. Common problems that cause a stiff and painful shoulder include shoulder arthritis or frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis). You’ll know if you have a stiff and painful shoulder… reaching up and out to the side with be difficult (not just because it hurts)- you physically cannot move it in that direction. A quick test would be to stand with your arms by your side (elbows by side and bent upwards)… try and rotate the back of your hand outwards. You may notice that shoulder pain and stiffness on one side prevents your from moving very far… but the other painfree side might move fine. Treatment for this type of shoulder involves gradually increasing your motion through stretching and strengthening.
UNSTABLE SHOULDERS: People with unstable shoulders often have a history of their shoulder dislocating or popping out socket. Sometimes there is clicking and popping or an ability to “pop your shoulders” in and out. Often these folks are “double jointed” and are very flexible. Unstable shoulders occur commonly in sports such as baseball and gymnastics (where the shoulder is required to move through a lot of motion). Treatment for unstable shoulders can sometimes involve surgery (if it becomes a recurrent problem) or strengthening of the unstable shoulder.
A PROBLEM IN THE NECK (OTHER): Some people I see who think they have a problem in the shoulder actually have a problem in the neck causing their shoulder pain. These people may describe their shoulder pain as burning, or may experience pain, numbness, or tingling down their arm. If the neck is in fact the problem, your shoulder pain should reproduced by specific movements of your neck. Discs, joints, and nerves in or about the neck can send pain signals to your shoulder blade and shoulder, elbow, or hand. Treatment for this cause of pain involves hands on therapy of the neck and sometimes the nerves in the neck- as well as specific neck and postural exercises.
To help determine if your shoulder pain could be coming from the neck- watch this video.
Call 484 552 3767 if you’ve got shoulder pain and want relief.
I’m seeing a trend… and I don’t care for it.
People getting injections for their back pain before they ever try physical therapy! CRAZY… what’s the rush… why cut the lock when you could simply unlock the door… and walk inside? In other words- why do more than necessary…
Quick, but funny real-life story that I think helps represent how crazy getting injections as the first line of defense for back pain really is…
So about 3 months ago, I was pulling a late night in the clinic… it was a long day and I was tired. I was closing up shop… and locked my clinic keys inside the clinic… I had no car keys, and from what I could recall… no spare set of clinic keys. I was screwed…
I called my wife Heather annoyed, and she came to the clinic with a “So what are we going to do?” type attitude. First things first, I asked- “Do you just so happen to have a spare set of keys.” NOPE- was her response…
I said- okay then, we can try the old credit card trick, maybe a bobbie pin to pick the lock, or I’ll pry/cut the handle off (cheaper than calling a locksmith at that time of night… plus, I needed in… and had a full schedule starting at 7 the next morning).
To make a long story short… nothing worked.. and so I began prying the door handle apart… it was my last resort.
Halfway into the process, handle half ripped to shreds… my wife says- “Oh, wait- I HAVE A KEY…”
And just like that, she opened the door.
WHATTTTT- I sat there in disgust trying to channel my energy and find the fun in it…
Eventually we laughed at the silly mistake…
AND NOW- looking back, I think of how unnecessary all that was…
Why would anyone in there right mind know that they could simply “unlock” the door, but instead choose to break the handle off?! HAHA
They wouldn’t… or at least I hope not.
Point being, going to injections as your first step to manage your back pain.. is like breaking the door handle off before trying the key (physical therapy)…
I have a couple issues with and injections for back pain…
Of all these issues… the fact that injections act like a bandaide and cover up the symptoms is a MAJOR PROBLEM…
This leaves many people feeling good temporarily… and they keep lifting, sitting, bending, and twisting all the ways that got them there in the first place…
And then… people wonder why their back pain COMES BACK? It’s a no-brainer… in fact, people should expect it to…
I created a short video that chats about why meds and injections are mostly USELESS in the treatment of back pain (if you actually want to solve the root cause).
So, if you’re scheduled for an injection… and are looking for the best solution for your back pain… call 484 552 3767 or email me directly at email@example.com
Also, if you know of anyone who’s suffering with back pain… and thinks injections are “all that can be done”… could you share this post with them?
Thanks a million,
Dr. Charlie Johnson, DPT
If you’re in Royersford, PA and are looking for natural back pain treatment- call 484 552 3767… you’ll be glad you did ;-)…
Lizzy suffered with back pain for about 12 years… and she tried almost everything. Images of her spine showed “nothing was wrong” with her, and acupuncture, chiropractic, reiki, yoga, and massage were only temporary fixes… the pain always came back and she always went back to treatment, searching for a “fix.”
I explained to Lizzie that we could likely help her, with SNIPER PT… that is super focused treatment tailored just to her. Not a “shotgun approach” to giving her 15 exercises and just hoping and praying that found relief.
You see, as a specialist physical therapist, I have been trained to find THE root cause of your issue, and attack it with just a couple VERY SPECIFIC exercises (1-3… max)- this way, when you feel relief- you know exactly what to do to continue healing yourself… what a powerful thing…
So, I started off by telling Lizzie that we would teach her to heal herself… so if she ever does feel something in the future- she can correct it (on her own) immediately… without having to rely on someone else to put her back in line- or fix her.
To her surprise (remember, she had seen many people before with little relief… and was a tad bit skeptical that we could actually do something for her) she was painfree of back pain in 4 visits… 12 years of back pain gone in 4 visits.
She was so pleased with her treatment- she agreed to create a video for you… to share her experience and try to let others know about specialized physical therapy… at Physical Therapy & Johnson in Royersford, PA.
Here’s what she had to say about her experience.
“I struggled with lower back pain for 12 years. Doctors have x-rayed me and told me everything looks fine. I’ve tried Chiropractic, acupuncture, Reiki, yoga and massage to varying degrees of relief but nothing corrected the problem. A friend recently recommended Dr. Charlie. He listened to what I described and together we investigated what was going on. We worked out a series of exercises and simple adjustments to my daily life and within weeks I finally had relief. I am so very grateful to have found a healthcare practitioner who truly paid attention to me and was committed to figuring out what was going on.”
Watch the video below to meet Lizzie and hear her story…
Also, I want to let you in on a secret… most people with back pain (who’ve had it for as long as Lizzie and have tried everything) think that back pain treatment needs to be complicated in order to get results…
Honestly, this is exactly why most back pain treatment fails…
Treatment that is complicated… with lots of fancy techniques and many exercises can backfire… causing confusion for both the healthcare practioner and YOU the person with back pain… because there are just too many variables. And at the end of the day, you have no idea what’s working and what’s not… make sense?!
Secondly, most back pain treatment causes you to rely on someone or something else… versus taking ownership of things and getting in the game… working together with someone else to help yourself relieve your back pain. While this isn’t the easy road… it brings you to the ultimate solution… one where you have the knowledge, understanding, and tools to heal yourself (versus spending money on someone else to “fix you.”)
Click here to watch my video and learn more about “Why Most Back Pain Treatment Fails.”
If you live in the Royersford, PA area, and have tried everything… but still have some fight in you and are looking for natural relief (and want to feel better like Lizzie) call 484 552 3767 today.
Dr. Charlie, PT, DPT, OCS
I’ve seen it many times… buttock pain and leg pain treated as if it were a problem in the back… when actually it was a problem in the hip.. ALL ALONG. Hip arthritis is a problem that occurs within the hip joint- causing gradual hip stiffness, pain with sitting or at night, pain with walking or going up the stairs, and groin pain, buttock pain, OR sometimes knee and shin pain.
In a past video post- I discuss some of the telltale signs of hip arthritis… Watch it by clicking below.
.Weakness in the hip muscles can create the hip muscles to become overworked… these hip muscles can send pain down the outside of the leg, into the shin, and even as far as the outer ankle bone. These muscles in the hip have been known to create a “pseudo” OR fake sciatica like pain… that even some of the best PTs and surgeons THINK is really coming from the back…
I treated one lady recently- who went all over town for her chronic buttock pain… she tried chiropractic care, physical therapy, had injections to her back, and was even recommended SURGERY- on her back! … BUT when we saw her- it was clear that the problem was actually coming from her hip.
Here’s what she had to say…
“For over a year I have been unable to walk more than 200 ft without having to stop and stretch to relieve the pain in my hip. I had been unsuccessfully treated for 4 months last year for trochanteric bursitis and osteoarthritis by my primary care doctor, an orthopedic surgeon, and many PTs. I decided to visit Charlie as a final attempt this summmer to find out what was causing my pain and correct the problem.
At my evaluation, Charlie had me walk until I felt the pain. While watching me walk, he noticed that I had gait issues. He prescribed an exercise program and 6 treatment sessions. Happily, by the 5th session, I was dancing at my daughter’s wedding and am now hiking every day with our puppy.” Thomasina
Pretty crazy that this was missed all along…
But, if you know the signs to look out for- then it can be easy to tell the difference between a problem coming from the back and/or from hip arthritis.
Click the blue link below to learn about what types of feelings hip arthritis causes.
If you’ve been dealing with buttock, hip, or leg pain, and everyone’s treating your back- thinking it’s the cause of the problem… and no one has really LOOKED closely at the hip joint- AND you’re not SOLD that your back is the issue- or even worse- have been telling everyone… It’s not coming from my back (but no one will listen)… I hope this post helps you.
If you’re in the Royersford, PA area and think you may have hip arthritis- call 484 552 3767 OR email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org…
Hip pain and arthritis can cause groin pain, buttock pain, outer hip pain, and even knee or shin pain. If you’re having trouble crossing your legs- or sitting indian style… then you might benefit from hip treatment to make you move and feel better…
Just the other day, a women came to me with buttock, knee, and shin pain- after she had been told it was coming from her lower back… she even had injections to her lower back- with NO RELIEF.
After listening to her story, and looking at how she moved, It was clear that all of her symptoms were caused by a problem in her hip- NOT her back… in fact, she had no back pain… had someone taken the time to listen- it was clear that she had no back problem.
When I asked- what do you feel is causing your problem- she said, “My Hip!”
Sad, but true…
Anyways, there are several common signs of hip arthritis… click the video to learn the 4 Telltale Signs…
Hip arthritis often sounds and feels like a problem coming from the back— you might even have a problem in the back and the hip!
But, if you’ve been treated for your back pain and nothing is working- consider that perhaps you have no problem in your back…
If you’re 50 years of age or older, and feel buttock, groin, or outer hip pain… even knee pain or shin pain- be aware that your hip could be the problem.
The hip can refer or send pain to all of these areas… many mistake a problem in the hip as a problem in the back… or even sciatica.
It can be easy to miss…
There are even stories of people who have knee replacements (get new knees) and afterwards feel no relief. But when they later get treatment for their hip- or even a hip replacement- all their knee pain is gone…
Hip pain treatment is aimed at improving motion in the hip and then getting you stronger, so you can move better and get back to normal. Many times a hip surgery/replacement is not needed. Physical therapy and specialized hip treatment can completely relieve your pain… cool stuff.
Anyways, if you’re in the Royersford, Limerick, Collegeville, or Phoenixville, PA area- call 484 552 3767 to figure out the cause of your buttock and groin pain.