But what you're really wondering is...
I help people fully heal by treating the nerve first
What's with the name Yellow Brick PT? (and other FAQs)
Hi. I'm Dr. Lara Johnson.
What is Yellow Brick Physical Therapy?
Yellow Brick PT is your source for help with:
Getting uninjured and staying that way
Learning the simplest tools to booty kick pain out the door and strut your best stuff
Becoming more able in your bod and in your life, long-term
Freeing you up to be more you
How does Yellow Brick PT help with all that?
Mainly through one-on-one hands-on treatment sessions..
Where I assess your whole body: To solve the root cause so you get both pain relief and prevention
And treat the nerve first: By calming irritated nerves, and re-connecting nerves to the muscles they control
Book a free Inquiry Call, so we can discuss your specific problem, answer your questions, and schedule your first session if you want (90 minutes, both Evaluation and Treatment).
“Dr. Lara Johnson is absolutely amazing. My husband had experienced pretty severe neck, back and hip pain for about 10 years. We tried corrective exercise, massages, over 30 visits to the chiropractor, cupping, dry needling and acupuncture. All provided very temporary relief.
Then, I found out my former colleague, Dr. Lara, would maybe be able to help. It was my husband’s last hope before considering surgery. Through weekly treatments with her and her recommendation for some at-home therapy, my husband’s pain is 80% better in just a matter of a few months!
Dr. Lara Johnson’s knowledge of the human body and nervous system is the most extensive I’ve seen and, her dedication to fix the problem PERMANENTLY instead of temporarily is such a blessing. If I could give her 6 out of 5 stars, I would. If you have been experiencing muscle and/or nerve pain or, you’re not quite sure of the pain source, I highly recommend making an appointment with her. You won’t regret it.”
Also through free e-books like these:
Posture 101: 6 Steps to Non-sucky Posture [coming soon- be the first to know]
5 Ways to Win at Running (and other life wisdom for former avid competitors) [be the first to know]
Thought-provoking flagship videos like these:
Exclusive Yellow Brick PT step-by-step virtual programs like these:
No Place Like Home: Meditation, Mindful Mobility, Strength & Length (100+ home video classes)
And, through the Heal. Listen. Learn. Newsletter
Join Heal. Listen. Learn for inspiration, education, and empowerment
Why should I care?
Because your body is your temple. It’s your vessel for carrying you forth in life, and it’s the only one you get.
In the right hands-- yours... and perhaps mine-- it can improve and take you to your highest potential, no matter what your age. I know it’s possible, I see it every day.
Will this really help me?
Maybe. And I sure hope so, I always do. But like most things that matter, it depends.
It depends on many things. What your body has been through over the years. What your experience has been with other therapists. How well you do your stuff at home. If you and I are a good fit. Whether you are expecting clamshells, hot packs, and needles, or laying on a table relaxed and receptive to hands-on bodywork. Whether you hate blonde 40-somethings who love to talk about consciousness, chocolate chocolate chip ice cream, anatomy and physiology, and last night’s movie-binge.
Everybody and every body is different, and no two PTs are exactly alike.
The best way to find out is to book a free Inquiry Call so we can chat. It’ll be fun!
Also, you can check out what other people are saying.
“Dr. Lara Johnson saved me.
I was having so much pain in my gluteal muscles and in my lower back that I could barely walk. I was eating Advil around the clock and was miserable in every way. I am an extremely active 56-year old, a personal trainer, and an avid bike rider. I was overwhelmed and frightened by the pain I was experiencing, and in my physical limitations.
Dr. Lara took care of me both emotionally and physically. Unlike most physical therapists, her approach is extremely holistic, as she finds the primary cause of your problem. She then explains what’s going on in your body. I have seen physical therapists before, and what they tend to do is focus on your specific complaint and treat that issue with standard exercises. Dr. Lara looks at ALL of the systems in your body. She taught me how the neurological system was working and started from there. I was skeptical, and yet after my first appointment, I was able to stop taking Advil.
She also taught me how to embrace a new approach of healing, as my way of doing things (primarily focusing on the muscular system) was NOT working for me. She gave me protocols to follow that worked. She shed light not only on my physiological issues, but more importantly, on my own personal blind spots that were getting in my way. I am beyond grateful for her expertise, her passion for teaching, and for the time she spent connecting with me.
If you want to heal your body the right way--from in the inside out, instead of getting a quick fix only to find yourself re-injured, please go and see Dr. Lara. She will heal you in every way.”
Rhonda M., New York, NY
Ok, so Who is Yellow Brick PT?
I am. Hello, I’m Lara Johnson. I’m a Doctor of Physical Therapy, and a specialist in neuromuscular outpatient orthopedic care for over a decade. Before that, I was a Clinical Exercise Physiologist, research coordinator, EKG stress test technician and course instructor at top universities, as well as a personal trainer, wellness coach, yoga teacher, retreat leader, and group fitness instructor along the way.
I've studied health science my entire life because I'm passionate about understanding the complex universe of the human body, and helping others do the same.
I believe that both our physical pursuits and painful injuries can be educational gold mines, where we learn, grow, and improve ourselves both inside and out by going through a process that challenges us.
I founded Yellow Brick PT so I could help people fully heal, and keep moving and leading active lives long-term.
And so I could treat patients directly, in a quiet undistracting room, with the best results-getting methods I know.
Being fully present allows me to best read your body’s responses, and to get you results as quickly and fully as possible. It’s what I’d want for my mom and dad if they came in for PT (which they have):
Your doctor’s full attention- it’s what I’d want for anyone.
Do you know what it’s like to be injured?
I sure do. I've been there myself many times, and I've helped a lot of people through it.
Nobody likes to stop living life to deal with a physical limitation.
“My time in physical therapy with Dr. Lara Johnson has transformed how I experience my body and allowed me to run, bike, hike and dance again pain free. I have had a repetitive high hamstring injury that has flared up annually since having my kids. I have seen several PT's previously over the past 3 years for this issue, but found my symptoms continued recurring. Dr. Johnson truly approaches her work from a holistic viewpoint that I have not experienced with previous PT's, in order to get to the root cause of her patients' symptoms. Her work started with focusing on my nervous system in order to get my dysfunctional muscles to start to function again. I was amazed to discover that tightness in my psoas muscle was a major contributor to my hamstring symptoms! Along the way she helped me uncover some emotional factors that were actually contributing to why this injury had continued to recur. As a result of this holistic approach I am now able to run/dance and hike again pain free! I highly recommend reaching out to her for a free initial phone consultation!”
Maribeth O., Boulder, CO
How come you have so many degrees and certifications?
I have a passionate interest in understanding how the body works, and it’s been a driver for my entire career.
I also derive extreme enjoyment in developing skilled movement through practice. In other words, I love working out, and all of its accompanying benefits.
I knew early on in undergrad that I didn’t want to study or prescribe medicine, but that I absolutely did want to study health and prescribe exercise.
So I created an Exercise Science major (the first of its kind at Hastings College) out of a pre-med track where I’d already had the foundational basic sciences: Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Anatomy, Human Physiology, Biomechanics.
In grad school at Wake Forest University, I learned that keeping people moving via exercise was the tip top way to prevent chronic diseases of the heart, brain, and bones, amongst many others. And in doing so saves us millions of dollars in health care costs nation-wide and extends people’s quality of life if not actual lifespan. Wow, it’s like a miracle drug without the drug!
Our research studies were proving just how important it was to keep people moving.
And I was learning the detailed inner workings of all the amazing ways the body does this (or doesn’t): think Kreb’s Cycle, how the heart pumps blood and exchanges O2 and CO2, how cholesterol works, and on and on.
I’m ambitious, and just like I had to go for my full potential in the marathon, I just wasn’t done yet with education after my master’s (my teacher parents must be so proud).
Even after years of applied experience helping cardiac patients and smoking addicts safely start exercise programs, testing their VO2max while monitoring their EKG, helping clients get stronger through fitness programming, and coordinating clinical exercise research studies, I knew there was more to understand.
I saw via my own injuries and passion for sport that exercise is healthy- unless it's hurting you.
I toyed with earning a PhD (‘cause I love my academia) and went for a DPT instead, as it was the most applicable (observing, feeling, assessing) and people-helping way to learn about the human body. And studying at MGH in Boston meant interning at various esteemed hospitals and clinics in the Mass General Brigham system.
But it was after all those degrees, during which I memorized every bone, nerve, muscle and connective tissue of the pinky toe, that I started to really see how the parts all fit back together to create a whole.
Like an awesome 10 billion piece puzzle, the body is a fascinating machine of organic autonomy that fits together in ways the scientific community is still trying to understand. It's a never-ending fountain for thirsty life-long learners like me.
Is it true, then, that you’re a holistic PT?
Knowing all the pieces of the puzzle is one thing, understanding how they all fit together is another.
After my doctorate, where I got my highest scores in something called “clinical decision-making,” I studied under a clinical mentor for 10 years, who taught me how to look for the key pieces to the pain puzzle, restore the natural ways they (the body’s systems) fit together, and get results for people in ways I wasn’t seeing in other PT clinics.
He taught me how to treat the neurological system first, because of its impact on the muscular and skeletal symptoms, and I produced better results for the hardest problems, like back pain, stenosis, disc herniations, pinched nerves, and more, than I was getting in all the highly reputable PT clinics I’d worked in.
If holistic means keeping the body altogether as a whole natural entity, and caring for the whole person- physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually- then yes, that is definitely me.
“Lara helped heal my physical injuries, but also gave me the space to express and work through the mental side of an injury too. She taught me the importance of icing and how healing starts in the nerve before anything else can get better. I looked forward to meeting with her because I knew it was going to be a great session and things have only gotten better. I'm stronger than I ever was and I could not have done it without Lara's help!”
Diana B., Boulder, CO, age 25
Wait, so what’s with the name Yellow Brick PT? Are you all into rainbows and musicals or something?
Well, yes, in fact… I love bright bold colors, and Hamilton is the greatest artistic masterpiece of our modern time (“That’s true”). But..
A little while back, I had a dream that I was swept up in a big tornado and suddenly landed in a weird but brightly colored place.
I had wished for something magical in my life, sure, but this was nuts. As soon as I got there I immediately wanted to get home (I’m full of internal conflicts). I was told to follow this twisty-turvy road to get to the guy who knew how to get me back. So I followed the road (which was easy because it was bright yellow, but also made of bricks– what an ankle sprain waiting to happen), and found the guy. But as it turns out he (like most men I know) didn’t really have the answers I needed. I actually knew them all along deep down, I just had to discover them for myself… With some wise help to stay on course, and in the company of some great friends I met. My friends discovered their own amazingness throughout our travels, and, well, so did I. Oh, and there was a witch.
When I woke up, I, the ever-serious science-y exercise-loving PT runner, realized I have a creative bone or two in my bod (not just some buff muscles), and that using them makes life (and work) a whole lot more fun.
I also saw that the journey someone goes through when they have an injury is a lot like my dream. They want something different, they meet helpers (like me!) and new friends along the way, and realize that all along they’ve had everything they needed– brains, heart, and courage– to not only fully heal this unfortunate injury, but become more truly themselves (ie. come home) in the process. And that the journey itself is the coolest, most surprising, satisfying part of the whole thing thanks to all those insights and people and improvements you didn’t see coming.
So I chose the name that was the most vulnerable, most different from my industry. The one that would, in its bright colorful childlike glory, be less sterile and goals-y and more inspirational and classic.
Something with less hustle and more heart, less core training and more courage, less intimidation and more intelligence. Something with a meaning we could all get behind. That we can feel somewhere within our innocent crayon-loving selves. So while my treatment methods and philosophies were the same as before the dream, I had come home to my truest self, courageously expressing my unique intelligence now with heart, and giving it to others so they could do the same. Thus was the birth of Yellow Brick Physical Therapy.
“After 20+ years of regular running, I began to struggle with significant hip, back, and hamstring pain. For 1.5 years, I went to; complied with and spent a lot of money (even outside of insurance) on 'traditional' physical therapies and doctors with no relief. Each practitioner told me I was getting too old to keep up my level of physical fitness and some even told me I was decompensating rapidly because of that. One doctor, after telling me to start taking pain killers regularly and back off exercising, told me he'd heard of Dr. Johnson and that "it wouldn't hurt to try her."
I started feeling better in just my first conversation with Dr. Johnson. She actually listened so that, together, we could answer the question of why I was experiencing what I was physically. She wanted to help my unique needs, not just flex knowledge or fit me into a mold. Most important, she wanted to get to the root cause of the problem and actually fix it. And, this is what makes her an incredible practitioner and 'alternative' in practice - she's using her solid, scientific understanding of bodies to question old, ineffective practices and replacing them with improved methodology.
I was nearly pain free for the first time in almost 2 years after my first treatment with Dr. Johnson, for over-used and under-cared for psoas and iliopsoas muscles. I cried with relief and disbelief. She comforted and reassured me while keeping me accountable to a long recovery yet 100% treatable condition.
Now, I'm running freely; truly, faster and stronger than ever. I am 43 years old. I've learned so much about how to treat my body well - inside and out. I am so grateful to be moving again and well and am ever appreciative of my new lease on life because of Dr. Johnson.”
Jen L., Nederland, CO