Putting in the work to get back to work


Dr. Johnson (pink shirt) pictured with Dr. Mendoza (left) and the PT treatment team

Jay Andrew (Drew) Johnson, DDS had a right shoulder pain. He had been an oral surgeon, standing and bending over to perform his intricate work, for over 30 years. For a while, over-the-counter pain medications, simple anti-inflammatories, managed his pain. Then, they stopped having much of an impact and that was when he knew that medicating his pain was not the solution. That was when he sought a professional and was diagnosed with a right should impingement. His options for treatment were rehabilitation through physical therapy, or surgery. Surgery would essentially end his career so that was not an option.


Dr. Johnson then asked his physician an important question- who would he see if he needed to seek physical therapy himself? This is also, in hindsight, the biggest piece of advice Dr. Johnson would give any patient seeking a PT- “Ask where your physical would go if it was them or their family needing the care.” His physician, without hesitation, referred him to Amado Mendoza, DPT.


Dr. Mendoza had seen this type of injury many times, particularly in athletes and dentists/oral surgeons. For perspective, if a baseball player had the same injury as Dr. Johnson, he would be out for at least three months.


During their initial visit, Dr. Mendoza invested a lot of time evaluating the shoulder and the root cause. He said, “I like to understand the issue as well as the goals of my patient. Each individual is different, and we need to respect that. We then create the treatment plan from there.”


Dr. Johnson started his treatment on February 10th and made the short drive over the bridge from his office in Cocoa Beach, FL to Dr. Mendoza’s in Merritt Island a few times a week. “I put in the work. I needed to put in the time and follow-up with the exercises and videos Dr. Mendoza provided me - at home,” he recalled.


Dr. Johnson’s treatment, as he put in the work both in-clinic and at home, scaled back to weekly visits and then to just at home as-needed care on April 13th. “When I feel a flare-up, now that I am educated on my situation, I know both cognitively and manipulatively, what I need to do and it works. Anti-inflammatories hide the issue; they do not heal it.”


“Really, we do not praise the patients enough for making the commitment and putting in the time,” said Dr. Mendoza. “All of us, our time is precious, so staying dedicated to the treatment plan helps save time and yield a greater chance for success.” To summarize his feelings, Dr. Johnson stated, “I was so pleased I took surgery completely off the table and now understand what causes my issues and how to correct it.”