A.M. Best, the international insurance rating and information company, estimates that low back pain alone costs workers' compensation, insurance companies, and employers an excess of $50 billion annually. Some estimates exceed $100 billion. Many procedures such as surgery not only fail - but also more often than not, eventually leave patients with other problems to contend with like compromised surrounding discs, scar tissue, infections, and additional surgeries. CBS News estimates there are 80,000 unnecessary spinal surgeries in the U.S. each year.
Consider These Back Pain Facts:
- 80% of all back injuries are lower back related.
- The total number of spine operations in the U.S. alone has approached 500,000 annually.
- The majority of all back surgeries are compromised within 5-7 years.
- Spine surgery ranks 3rd among all surgical procedures.
- When disability payments are considered, the cost to American industry for low back pain is astronomical.
- It is one of the most frequent complaints during primary care visits.
- 8 out of 10 people will see a physician for back pain.
- 5.4 million Americans are disabled annually.
- 4 million of those disabled are permanently disabled.
- 10% of all low back pain episodes become chronic.
- Back Pain is the most frequent cause of activity limitation under age 45.
- It is the #1 cause of work absence after colds & flu.
- An estimated 93 million workdays are lost each year due to back pain.
- Only 50% of injured workers ever return to work if absent for 12 months or more.
- Low back pain's cost exceeds that of any other single health disorder.
How does VAX-D work?
High intradiscal pressures cause discs to bulge out and press painfully on nerve roots. They also make for a compressed, anaerobic environment unsuitable for healing. Decompression produces and sustains negative pressures within the disc, creating a vacuum effect that draws in nutrients and fluids to promote the repair of injured discs and surrounding tissue. This vacuum has also been shown to aid in the retraction of escaped cushioning gel from herniated discs.
When negative is a positive.
Much like gauging the air pressure in a car rite, scientists have been able to use pressure sensors to measure the various pressures put on spinal discs while lifting, standing, sitting, laying down, undergoing traction and during VAX-D Therapy. Like other pressures found in the body such as blood pressure, intradiscal pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg)
While traction, physical therapy and manipulation may reduce disc pressures to as low as 40 mmHg, only VAX-D has been shown to achieve negative pressures within the spine. Clinical studies have shown that, with VAX-D Therapy, negative pressures as low as -160 mmHg are created within the injured disc during the treatment session.
Traction is not decompression.
With traction, weights are added one by one to the end of the traction bed, which in turn, adds tension to a harness secured around the patient's pelvis, lengthening the spine. The intention is to relieve pressure, but the linear force of this traction can produce spasming, which may lead to greater injury. Studies confirm that the benefits of traction come from simply immobilizing the spine. In face, the Quebec Task Force ruled in 1996 that traction was not an effective treatment for chronicherniated discs. The results are not long lasting and cannot produce negative pressures in the disc. Decompression also lengthens the spine, but the approach is far different, and that makes all the difference.
The Logarithmic Difference
Normally, pulls exerted on the spine trigger sensory receptors in the back to tighten the muscles surrounding the vertebrae and discs in an effort to protect them from injury - - a mechanism in the body known as the proprioceptor response. VAX-D Therapy is able to detect, then bypass this response through a patented motion-controlled biofeedback system which then allows the back to relax completely. With the body's natural protective mechanism "distracted", VAX-D can administer tension without causing injury.
The Technology and the Solution
Spinal experts have known for decades that discs, in compressed, anaerobic state, find it next to impossible to heal. Through decompression therapy, negative pressure is created in the nucleus pulposus (the jelly-like center of discs) drawing in moisture, oxygen, and nutrients from the surrounding body tissues. The disc wall (or annulus fibrosis) of the nucleus pulposus is thus strengthened after each decompression mimicking the same healing and repair process which occurs in a bone fracture. In this revitalized environment some experts surmise this process reactivates fibroblasts (the repair workers in the disc), sealing up tears in the disc wall. This has recently been confirmed with pre- and post-treatment discograms, and in the long-term relief of chronic back pain patients, some who have suffered more than 20 years.
The spinal decompression system "distracting process" has been shown by MRIs to widen the discs height space allowing a decrease in intradiscal pressure while helping the disc reposition itself. This results in shrinkage of the hemiation, and reduction or elimination of pressure on surrounding nerves. While results do vary, most back pain patients who have completed spinal decompression therapy resume their normal, active lifestyle with their newly invigorated discs providing better support to the spine. This includes long term chronic or post- surgical failures. Toward the conclusion of the treatment series, the patient is taught mobilization and core strengthening exercises, and is shown how to minimize the chance of re-injury through use of everyday mechanical principles.
Astronauts have added to our knowledge of disc repair & regeneration as well.
Astronauts in the anti-gravity state found that their narrowed disc spaces actually grew in height. As a result, the anti-gravity state of the therapeutic pool provides an ideal environment for applying decompressive stresses to the spine. This therapeutic modality, along with a strict exercise program & careful attention to avoid most recompressive positions/postures of the spine provide an ideal environment to achieve discal regeneration & healing.
The VAX-D & DRX-9000 spinal decompression machines are an integral part of this approach. The VAX-D has demonstrated in studies the capability of exerting 160 mmHg stress on lumbar discs to draw gel contents back into the center of the disc & reduce the hemiation. (Traditional pelvic traction could not come close to placing a negative stress on nuclear discal contents.) If the affected discs can be kept decompressed for a sufficient period of time, healing will take place in the hemiated area & the disc will, in effect, be strengthened and capable of a more normal support/shock-absorbent function that it originally served.
Does spinal decompression work for spinal stenosis? - for facet arthropathy? With healthy discs capable of reducing stresses on other supporting spinal structures, we can achieve positive results with these problems as well.