Dr. David Johnson is a brain and spinal neurosurgeon. He’s also a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer and co-founder of the first in-hospital CrossFit affiliate in the Southern Hemisphere.
“It was always my vision to optimize my patient’s outcome through addressing the root cause of their problem,” he says.
That means fixing the thing that caused the patient to require surgery in the first place.
“Around 2014, 2015, I realized as a spinal surgeon, I was fixing up the symptoms of a disease which I refer to as movement dysfunction, but there was no rehabilitation methodology that addressed movement dysfunction,” he continues.
So Johnson decided to develop one, opening CrossFit Neuro in St. Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
After having surgery to address what Johnson refers to as the symptoms of movement dysfunction, patients transition to “cause-based therapy” led by CrossFit Level 1 and 2 Trainers who are also healthcare professionals.
“The quicker we get someone moving after surgery, the quicker the healing process can occur,” Johnson says. “I perceive the movement to be the therapy, the medicine. … (Patients are) not actually beginning to heal whilst they’re lying in bed.”
Johnson’s new CrossFit-driven approach provides a solution to a global health crisis.
“In medicine today, 90% of disease burden is preventable,” Johnson says, emphasizing the four pillars of health CrossFit Neuro teaches in its seminars for general practitioners: quality movement, sleep, nutrition, and stress management.
“I believe if you can master those four pillars, that sets the playing field to build your health upon,” he says. “Everything else just falls in place; you just don’t get afflicted by chronic disease.”
It’s the same therapy thousands of affiliates deliver to millions of athletes around the world every day.
“We know that CrossFit and functional movement is developing the fittest on Earth,” Johnson says. “We’re transferring that same blueprint into a clinical setting.”
Additional reading: Rest When You’re Dead