[ Discover The NEXT LEVEL SYSTEM ]
Get Back to Doing What You Love by Finding A True Solution to Living Pain-Free
Voted Back-to-Back Best PT Clinic in Mercer County
How to maximize your healing process and have a speedy recovery so that you can get back to living your active life
If you’re passionate about your health, I want to introduce you to the system that’s enabled me to help countless people get out of pain and back to doing what they love most.
I found myself searching for a solution to my chronic knee pain before being forced to give up on my dreams of playing collegiate basketball. I never found a solution for myself, so I vowed to become the solution for people like you, and thus, the Next Level System was created. Since then, it’s been refined, honed, and has become something more impactful than I ever thought possible.
Because when you dedicate the time and effort to following through with the Next Level System, you unwrap an inner potential that is life-changing.
Imagine surpassing your goals with ease, all due to your new outlook on life.
Imagine your newfound potential no longer having to deal with exhausting pain.
Imagine taking on new fitness challenges without the fear of pain restricting your beliefs.
All of this happens when you’re feeling confident about your health and living pain-free.
When it comes to pain, the most popular action usually taken in recovery is to do nothing and hope the pain goes away on its own…
...next, it’s to self-heal, usually by googling unproven methods…
...or by watching videos on YouTube.
These methods can prolong your recovery process or even worse, increase the pain you’re suffering from.
But when you take action by going through the Next Level System, you’re not alone in a world of pain and uncertainty.
Instead, you’re guided and fully supported by a team of world-class professionals who care about getting you back to doing what you love.
[ THE NEXT LEVEL SYSTEM ]
How to Eliminate Your Pain From The Deepest Root Cause
And Fully Reclaim Your Active Lifestyle
The way our medical system approaches pain is totally backwards. We pump people full of pain killers, aggressively recommend unnecessary surgeries, overemphasize the results of imaging, focus heavily on passive "feel-good" modalities (ice, heat, stim, massage, etc.), and rely on generic exercise therapies that, at best, just help manage symptoms.
The human body is the most beautifully complex machine on earth...but we've reduced its treatment down to narrow-sighted, limited approaches that fail to respect that.
The result?...The highest rates of chronic pain in history.
Don’t fall victim to this trap. An empowered, pain-free life awaits if you’re willing to go just a little deeper.
The first step to becoming pain-free is to appreciate and accept that pain is rarely because of structural damage in your body.
Now don't get me wrong, if you tear your ACL or severely sprain your ankle, that has to be honored first and foremost. But in the absence of an obvious and serious structural injury, we have to let go of the need to pin our pain on minute structural injuries. We have to stop clinging to the idea that if we find and fix the one little thing that’s damaged, then all of our pain will go away.
It’s tough, because that’s how we’ve been conditioned to think. But the structural aspects of pain...tendinitis, impingement, degeneration, bulging discs, spurs, etc...are usually NOT the reason why pain exists.
These things are just symptoms...Mere effects of much deeper rooted causes.
If you want true lasting relief, you have to think deeper.
[ HONORING YOUR BODY'S COMPLEXITY ]
The 4 Pillars of Recovery
As complex as our bodies are, physical recovery is actually pretty simple if you focus on the right things at the right time.
To do that, you must appreciate the 4 Key Pillars of Recovery.
Failure to address the right pillar at the right time will lead to failure in your recovery. Properly identifying your weakest area, and focusing your attention there will lead to optimal results.
Do you want to learn the exact step-by-step system we’ve used to create lasting transformations for countless athletes and active adults in pain?
And how you can get back to the lifestyle that you love too?
We've created a transformational guide that details our unique approach and gives actionable steps so you can get on the right path to recovery. Inside, we'll show you...
Why most people fail with conventional rehabilitation approaches
The principles of recovery that transcend age, athletic ability, chronicity, and site of pain
The 7 Levels of Recovery you must go through to get rid of your pain...and ensure it never comes back
Actionable steps to get out of pain and transform your life, regardless of where you hurt or how long you’ve been in pain
[ HOW TO ]
Correct the #1 Driver of Pain...
Dysfunction in movement is almost always the primary driver to pain in active people. It’s common for our bodies to develop imbalances, asymmetries, and restrictions that cause certain muscle groups and structures to overstress. If these dysfunctions are left unaddressed, pain and injury will result.
The greater our ability to move freely in different ways, the less likely we are to overstress any one thing. Therefore, it’s imperative we maintain an acceptable level of movement variability to live pain-free.
The easiest way to understand the concept of movement variability is to visualize a joystick. A joystick can move in any direction, but it always rests back in the center. Your body, as a system, functions similarly.
Optimal variability is characterized by a system that always rests back in the center, and maintains an equal ability to move in all directions. But maintaining that in today’s world is hard.
Most jobs are sedentary. Our lives are filled with stress. We mismanage our injuries. Specialize in sports. And engage in repetitive workout regimens.
Our bodies optimize to what they do most. So when we repetitively expose ourselves to the same things, or chronically compensate around unresolved previous injuries, very predictable patterns in our bodies can develop. These patterns dominate our movement and fuel the dysfunctions discussed above.
Here’s how to fix it...
Step 1) Identify Your Dominant Movement Patterns
Having a dominant movement pattern is like having a joystick that is stuck off-center. It means that you overutilize certain directions of movement and can't access others. If you're in pain, we need to determine where your joystick is resting first.
This is simplified by the fact that the joystick will only ever sway into one quadrant...the upper right. This is because there are only two patterns that our bodies fall into...extension-dominance and right-dominance.
Pattern #1: Extension-Dominance
The vertical axis of the joystick represents the two opposite ends of our physiological spectrum: flexion and extension.
FLEXION (JOYSTICK DOWN) = Rest/Digest, Low Stress, Recovery, Flexibility/Mobility, Exhalation
EXTENSION (JOYSTICK UP) = Fight/Flight, High Stress, Power & Explosion, Rigidity/Stability, Inhalation
Extension dominates because of stress and repetition. Like most animals, we are built to spend very few, fleeting moments in high stress (fight/flight), and live most of our lives in low stress.
But in modern times...EVERYTHING is a stress...money, work, school, relationships...
Combine that with frequent engagement in extension-driven activities like lifting weights, running, or sports, and...as motivated active people...our joysticks get pushed in the upwards direction A LOT! The compound effect of this can cause the body’s resting state to orient towards extension over time.
As that happens, movement follows, and we end up developing extension-based movement tendencies like excessive anterior pelvic tilt and overactive calves, quads, and back musculature.
Pattern #2: Right-Dominance
90% of the world is right handed. That’s not a coincidence. We’re all built to have a slight tendency to favor our right sides. Even those of us who are left-handed have a heavy liver on our right side, a brain that is left-dominant (left brain controls the right side), and a right diaphragm that is larger and better leveraged than our left.
This inherent asymmetry, of which we've provided just a few examples, is meant to be a good a thing. It facilitates our abilities to reach, rotate, and interact with our environment in the ways that we need.
It only becomes problematic when it becomes overly dominant. When that happens, predictable asymmetries in our movement result, such as one shoulder sitting lower than the other, apparent leg length discrepancy, scoliosis, or one rib flaring out more than the other.
These patterns can get extremely nuanced, but the overarching concept is this:
Stress & Repetition
Dominant Movement Patterning
Therefore, a comprehensive rehab program must begin with stress/load management and reversing dominant movement tendencies. Start there, and everything else falls into place.
Step 2) Change Your Breathing To Free Up Movement & Reverse Dominant Patterns
To re-access directions of movement and restore variability, we start with the one thing that has the largest impact on our bodies...BREATHING.
We can go for days without water. Weeks without food. But we can't go more than a few minutes without air. Our whole body is driven by it. It’s so powerful...we can literally change our whole physiology in one deep breath.
The muscle that controls our breathing is the diaphragm. It’s connected intimately to muscle chains of both the upper and lower body. Thus it has immense power. It’s like the conductor. Everything else is the symphony. If we want harmony, we have to make sure the conductor is on beat.
When we develop dominant movement patterns, the diaphragm loses position and leverage (it gets thrown off beat). This restricts our ability to manage air flow and pressure in certain positions and postures, which limits our ability to move through them. In order to regain access to those movements, we use corrective exercises that emphasize positions opposite your dominant patterns and force you to drive air pressure into areas you struggle to expand.
There are a lot of nuances to selection, performance, and progression of these exercises...but when we get this right, EVERYTHING RESETS.
It’s like a magic! The conductor gets back on beat and the symphony starts playing together again. Tight muscles relax because you’re repositioning your joystick at a neuromuscular level. This gives the system access to all options back, which allows restricted movement to reopen and stress to come off your painful area(s).
Step 3) Clear any residual, isolated range of motion restrictions
Restrictions in ROM that we experience as humans RARELY are the result of true muscle or joint tightness...it’s mostly neurological. That’s why resetting the system as discussed above works so well.
But occasionally, the joystick gets a little jammed, and we have legitimate, isolated ROM restrictions that warrant specific addressing. Frequently, these restrictions are effects of unresolved previous injuries. Manual therapy techniques and/or targeted mobility exercises can be deployed when necessary to address these issues.
Step 4) Re-establish muscle control
When your body functions in dominant patterns for prolonged periods of time, certain muscle groups will inevitably become over facilitated/overactive, while others will become inhibited.
It’s like your muscles are tracks on a mixing board. Each one has a slider that determines how loud or quiet it is. Now that you’ve reopened options for movement, you have to even the sliders out so you can establish balance and control. None of the changes from above will stick if you fail to take this step.
This is done through targeted corrective exercises that force you to re-engage your inhibited muscle groups, and dial down your overactive ones.
These exercises typically start with low complexity, where you focus on one or two muscle groups at a time in simple positions. As you progress, you’ll learn to “integrate” multiple muscle groups together to master control over all directions of the movement joystick.
Once you’ve done that, you’ve effectively established good movement variability.
...and you'll feel amazing!
But if you want to stay that way, step 5 is most important...
[ STEP #5 ]
Develop Strength & Endurance the Right Way to Ensure Your Recovery Lasts
After you’ve re-established variability (freedom) of movement, you have to make it ADAPTABLE. You have to make sure that it sticks regardless of what physical stress you put your body under. Otherwise, you will be prone to slipping back.
There are two primary things you must do to make this happen.
First, you must train in a way that compliments and reinforces the movement patterns that you re-established in the previous steps. If you had an affinity for extension, you must reinforce controlled flexion in more challenging postures and positions. If you were dominant on your right side, you must incorporate asymmetrical and alternating movements into your training.
Second, you need to establish adequate strength and endurance in those movements. Without strength and endurance, your body will default to your dominant patterns when you add load or become fatigued. This is done through balanced training.
If you do those things your recovery will last!
[ THE TWO WAYS ]
We Help Athletes & Active Adults Like You
The Next Level System -- Physical Therapy on Steroids!
For dedicated individuals who are passionate about finding a true solution to their pain.
This is a 1-2 session/week program in 1-on-1 sessions with one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy. The comprehensive sessions are designed to get you out of pain and back to all of the activities that fulfill you.
For dedicated individuals who are pain-free, and want to stay that way, while taking their health and fitness to the next level.
We provide you with guidance on training, nutrition, movement, mindset, and more.
This is a membership program that will give you mastery over your physical health and ensure you remain pain-free.
[ WHEN YOU START IMPLEMENTING THIS INTO YOUR RECOVERY ]
The Results Are Incredible.
You start noticing that you can do small things again without experiencing pain.
Your confidence grows as your range of motion continues to expand
Your family and loved ones notice the positive energy you’re giving off
And you’re motivated by your success to target new goals.
And this is what happens when you do that…
Karen is Happy Going into Triathlon Race Season Knowing That She is a Much Stronger, More Competitive Athlete
Michelle nearly had to give up her Pro Basketball career because of knee pain. Now she is Dominating the Competition Again.
Want to Implement the Next Level System?
“If you come here for one week and you don't feel better, bill me”
“I was expecting to come here and do the tedious little band stretches and get stretched out by the athletic trainer and just your typical tedious boring-type rehab stuff, you know. And then I come in and the first three weeks I'm here, all I do is breathe. It's not your dad's physical therapy. It's definitely new stuff. It's not what I expected when I got here. It's a different way of doing it, but it works. It does the things I need to do.”
“I came to you, everything fell into place and then out of nowhere, I was the best I've ever been”
“The doctor that I saw told me that I shouldn't throw a baseball for at least two months. I came to Next Level, started throwing within a month. After another month, before I even should be throwing, I hit 95 for the first time. I learned a lot by coming here.”
“I would feel worse, go back to the chiropractor, get it fixed, feel worse again, and break it, go back get it fixed.”
“I really wanted to get better and I didn't want to think about what I was doing and that I couldn't do it. And now, I'm really at that point where everything seems better, even things that I didn't think needed to be better”
“I'm much happier and I can interact with my kids, not even thinking about what we're going to do”
“Since I've been here it's allowed me to have a better understanding and framework of why I've moved this way for years. We had that open dialog, so it wasn't like I felt like there was too much hand-holding when it didn't need to be there.”
“I exploded this summer. I ended up winning the triple crown and the player of the year”
“I was thinking, am I really not going to be healthy in the spring for baseball? Like, is this going to affect the rest of my career to now, I'm at such a good point where I'm so glad I took off that time and came to Mike and finally just went right at it and attacked the problem. And it's completely paid off.”
“I wanted to be pain-free, and able to workout the way I want to workout without having pain in my hip, and I’ve been able to do that.”
“Dr. Ben really treated my goals as just as important as some Olympic athletes goals would be. I really felt that he was trying to help me achieve my goals and be the best I could be, and was just so positive about it. Maintaining that positivity that I could improve, that I would get better, and just having that reassurance made it fabulous.”
[ ABOUT DR. MIKE & THE NEXT LEVEL TEAM ]
Dr. Mike Wehrhahn developed his passion for healthcare as an athlete. After recurrent injuries derailed his college basketball career, he committed himself to becoming a world-class physical therapist.
After completing one of the country’s premier post-doctoral residencies in sports rehabilitation, Dr. Mike passed up his opportunity to work in pro sports to start Next Level PT in Hamilton (his wife, Nicole, is a Steinert grad).
Since opening in 2016, Next Level has become one of New Jersey’s fastest growing PT clinics. They’ve quickly developed a reputation for getting superior results with tough cases using their unique methods.
Next Level PT specializes in helping athletes and active adults get out pain and back to doing what they love. Many of those include professional, Division I collegiate, and Olympic level athletes.
They’ve been awarded best PT clinic in Mercer county in both 2017 and 2018.