About Dr. Shana

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Shana Johnson, MD

Board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation


I worked as a physical medicine & rehabilitation physician for many years. Mostly in the neurology world with people with conditions affecting the brain, spine, and nerves. Multiple sclerosis was a particular focus of mine. I also cared for those following severe brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and strokes. Over the years, I started to see another group, people suffering from constant headaches, debilitating back pain, and embarrassing digestive issues. These conditions are often triggered and worsened by stress.

My clinic was a funnel for people suffering from these disorders. Once the traditional medications or procedures did not help, they were referred to me for “symptom management” or “chronic management,” since there was no curative course of treatment.

These people often shared the same patterns. They often had disabling symptoms with mostly normal medical tests. They were desperate for help but sensed from their providers that it was “all in their head.” They had undergone multiple procedures that did not help or worsened their symptoms. They all suffered from nerve sensitization; a type of dysfunction in the nervous system where pain signals are not relayed accurately.

In my forthcoming book, Sunbreak, (available on Amazon in fall 2023) I describe the process and tools I found helpful in healing chronic headaches, chronic back pain, and other nerve sensitization syndromes. Sunbreak explains the path to healing through understanding sensitization, building the mind-body connection, and understanding the role of medical therapy.


Detailed Biography


Physician, AskDrShana Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 7/1/2020-present

  • AskDrShana.com
  • Health coaching & telemedicine for sensitization syndromes and stress-related disorders
  • Media contributor–medical news

Medical Director, 2015 to 2020 Health Care Authority – Olympia, WA, 2015-2020

  • Medical Director, Medicaid Fee-For-Service, WA-HCA
  • Evidence-based medical policy development

Assistant Professor, University of Washington Medical Center – Seattle, WA, 2011-2015

  • Co-director UW Medicine Multiple Sclerosis Center
  • Outpatient care-multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spine, and pain management
  • Research
  • Teaching residents and fellows
  • Clinic operations and quality management

Physician, Physical Medicine Clinic, Providence St. Peter Hospital – Olympia, WA, 2009-2011

  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation practice
  • Inpatient rehabilitation care and outpatient clinic care including stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spine, pain management, and electrodiagnosis (EMG/NCS)



  • Multiple Sclerosis Fellowship, 06/2009, University of Washington Medical Center – Seattle, WA
  • Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Residency, University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center – Dallas, TX
  • Internal Medicine Internship St. Vincent Hospital and Health Care Center – Indianapolis, Indiana
  • M.D, Medical College of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, WI
  • B.S, Biology, University of Wisconsin – Madison – Madison, WI



  • Johnson, S., Kraft G., Eds. (2013) Physical medicine and rehabilitation clinics of north america multiple sclerosis rehabilitation. 24(4), Elsevier. 
  • Kraft G, Brown T, Johnson S. (2011). Comprehension management of multiple sclerosis. In R Braddom., Ed., Physical medicine & rehabilitation (4th ed., pp. 1233-1252). Elsevier. 


Selected Journal Articles

  • Halpern, M., Kane, H., Teixeira-Poit, S., Ford, C., Giesser, B., Halper, J., Johnson, S., LaRocca N., Miller, A., Ringel, S. (2018). Projecting the Adequacy of the Multiple Sclerosis Neurologist Workforce. Int J MS Care. Jan-Feb; 20(1): 35-43.
  • Kane, H., Halpern, M., Teixeira-Poit, S., Frost, C., Keating, M., Olmsted, M., Johnson, S. (2014). Factors influencing interest in providing multiple sclerosis patient care among physiatry residents. Neurorehabilitation, 35(1), 89-95.
  • Matsuda, P.N., Shumway-Cook, A., Bamer, A.M., Johnson, S.L., Amtmann, D., & Kraft, G.H. (2011). Falls in multiple sclerosis. PM & R: The Journal of Injury, Function, and Rehabilitation, 3(7), 624-632. 
  • Johnson, S., et al. (2009). Falls in multiple sclerosis: incidence, reason for falls, and provider response. International Journal of MS Care, 11(Suppl 2), 61. 


Selected Presentations

  • Health Technology Clinical Committee, Agency Medical Director’s WA presentations 
  • 1/2020 Cell-free DNA prenatal screening for chromosomal aneuploidies 
  • 11/2019 Femoroacetabular impingement syndrome 
  • 11/2018 Tumor treating fields 
  • 6/2018 Presentation to the Attorney General’s office: Evidence-based Non-pharmacologic Pain Management
  • 1/2018 Genomic microarray 
  • 5/2017 Chronic headache interventions 
  • 11/2016 Negative pressure wound therapy 
  • 5/2016 Platelet rich plasma injections 
  • 3/2016 Spinal injections 


Selected Educational Lectures 

  • 11/2014 Speaker: MS ECHO educational series, Seattle WA 
  • Title: Neurogenic Bladder and Bowel Management in MS 
  • 7/17/2013 Speaker: UW Medicine MS Center patient education series 
  • Title: Improving Walking and Reducing Falls 
  • 5/21/2013 Speaker: Multiple Sclerosis Association of America. 
  • Title: The Changing Landscape of MS: The latest research and updates to help you live your best with multiple sclerosis 
  • 5/2012 Speaker, Patient Power Webcast 
  • Title: Treating Multiple Sclerosis: Where are we now, where are we headed? 
  • 9/2011 Speaker, NMSS patient teleconference 
  • Title: A Candid Conversation about Bladder, Bowel, and Sexual Dysfunction in MS 
  • 9/2011 Speaker and planner for NMSS one day educational patient program 
  • Title: Live Life 
  • 9/2010 Speaker, NMSS patient teleconference 
  • Title: Breakthrough Treatment Options for MS 
  • 3/2010 Speaker, Olympia MS Wellness Symposium, educational program on MS rehabilitation issues 
  • Title: Rehabilitation of MS 


Other notes

  • 1/2008 Selection as 2008-2009 National Multiple Sclerosis Society Clinical Fellow in MS
  • 5/2008 Ed and Ursula Krusen Research Award
  • 6/2008 Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 10th Annual Scientific Day Best Research Award
  • 12/2013 UW Medicine PRAISE Award for patient reported assessment in satisfaction and excellence


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