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. I cared for patients who had multiple sclerosis, as well as those who had suffered brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and strokes. And pain of all different types—back pain, headaches, and whole-body pain. I treated the vast spectrum of injury and recovery.


Throughout the years, I encountered a condition that my medical training hadn’t prepared me for: people who developed medical disorders while under long-standing overwhelming stress.


Over the next few years, I studied stress-related disorders (SRD). I noticed many of the conditions I had treated—such as chronic back pain, headaches, and digestive issues (with largely normal medical tests)—were rooted in stress, trauma, and feeling constantly overwhelmed. Research has revealed these disorders share a type of problem in the nervous system, too, called nerve sensitization and are referred to as central sensitization syndromes (CSS).


In my book, Sunbreak: Healing the pain no one can explain, (available on Amazon) I describe the process and tools I found helpful in healing myself and others.


Detailed Biography

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

  • AskDrShana.com
  • Health coaching for sensitization syndromes and stress-related disorders
  • Contributor to Psychology Today, WebMD, and 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



  • (2023) Sunbreak: Healing the pain no one can explain
  • 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
  • 11/2023 Scottsdale Top Docs, Sensitization syndromes


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