I am often asked by patients about options for chronic lower back pain. Options outside of the more traditional approaches of Chiropractic, Physiotherapy, Acupuncture and Rehabilitation. Occasionally, patients with severe chronic lower back pain may not respond to the above therapies. They do not have the ‘Quick Fix’ lower back symptoms. So what else is there?
Over the years, I have always recommended home traction or Inversion tables. Now that we have the new clinic with an extra treatment room, we have invested in a state of the art DOC Decompression table for these very difficult cases. For the average patient, with lower back pain derived from severe joint arthritis and compressed discs, this is a great way to go. Gentle traction to start, and only for a minute or two. Then we slowly increase the angle of the table, in order to create a bit more separation of the joints and discs.
So what does this really do?
By stretching the spine, we are creating something called a negative pressure, which can retract or reposition herniated or bulging discs back into place. As the spine stretches, the discs separate, which allow nutrients and oxygen to be pulled into the area. If you were to imagine having 2 magnets stuck together, as you slowly pull them apart, you create this pressure, and pull in whatever is around the area into the space. In the case of your spine, you are pulling in oxygen, nutrients and fluid from the surrounding tissues. The discs now have a chance to expel previously trapped waste and allow the natural healing process to begin.
How does the DOC table do this?
The DOC table remains essentially horizontal, while applying computer generated patterns of traction. The table has the potential to tip, tilt and pivot in all directions, in order to find the perfect place to position the patient in order to relieve their compression.
How often should I do traction or decompression?
We recommend daily at home, or 4-6 days in the clinic. As opposed to the home version where you are using your inverted body weight, in the clinic we will be adding weight and amount of time of traction as you go through a 3-4 week treatment cycle. Yes, it can be time consuming but yes, it may also save you from having back surgery.
When not to do traction of any kind?
1. After an acute injury where the low back has been severely sprained and strained. You need to let the ligaments heal and not pull or traction on them.
2. Severe osteoporosis of the spine may be a limiting factor due to the possibility of creating a spinal fracture.
3. Severe nerve compression has occurred where the caudal equina nerves to bowel and bladder have been compressed and it is now a surgical condition.
Please call us today for a consultation.
Dr. Fred Meinzer, BSc DC