You may have seen advertisements and articles lately about “decompression therapy
” for low back disk problems
. This “new” technique is not new at all! The only thing new is that an expensive machine does the work instead of the chiropractor and a long (25 visits) care plan is required. This technique is not paid for by insurance and the patient is usually required to pay for the whole care plan up front ($1,500-$2,500). The concept of using traction to treat and reduce lumbar disk bulges
has been used by chiropractors for forty years! It is called the Cox technique
and the clinical results are equal to that of expensive equipment. Best of all, insurance pays for the technique as a part of a normal chiropractic appointment! That's right, insurance pays for it!
The Cox technique is a marriage of chiropractic and osteopathic principles which have been refined since 1970. Backed by clinical research, Cox technique is performed on a specially designed table that has movable parts which allows the doctor to perform what is referred to as flexion-distraction traction. 95% of back pain patients DO NOT require surgery.
For patients with a “slipped, bulging or ruptured” disc, Cox technique provides the following benefits:
1. Increases the intervertebral disc height to remove anular (outside layer to the disc) tension on the anular fibers and nerve by making more room and improving circulation.
2. Allows the nucleus pulposus (inner layer of the disc) to assume its central position within the anular fibers and relieves irritation to the spinal nerve.
3. Restores vertebral joints to their physiological relationships of motion.
4. Improves posture and locomotion while relieving pain, improving body mechanics and creating a state of well being.
1. The posterior (back of the disc) disc space increases in height.
2. Flexion (bending at the waist in a face down position) stretches the ligamentum flavum (ligament on the front side of the spine) to reduce stenosis.
3. Flexion decreases disc protrusion and reduces stenosis.
4. Flexion opens the vertebral canal by 2mm or 3.5-6mm more than extension.
5. Flexion increases metabolite transport into the disc.
6. Flexion opens the apophyseal joints and reduces posterior disc stress.
7. Intervertebral foraminal openings enlarge giving patency to the nerve.
A chiropractic physician is a seven year trained specialist in musculoskeletal conditions. We will do a thorough exam of your complaint to include orthopedic and neurologic testing. We will take x-rays that will help determine the nature and origin of the pain. MRI's and other expensive tests are often not needed unless there is progressive neurological findings or no improvement. All this effort is to ensure the most exact diagnosis possible in order to care for your spine properly.
Depending on your diagnosis (a simple sprain or a disc herniation with sciatica) a treatment plan varying from daily visits to once per week will be recommended to you. A re-exam will be done at an appropriate interval to access your progress.
Ancillary treatment modalities may be recommended: hot/cold therapy, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, massage, nutritional supplements and braces. Stretches and exercises will be taught to increase flexibility and increase core strength. Listen to the recommendations and decide what is best for your health.