Monday, December 3, 2007

What is Degenerative Disc Disease and can Spinal Decompression help?

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is a natural condition of the body that causes deterioration of the intervertebral discs.The discs that are in between the bones act as shock absorbers for the spine, allowing it to flex, bend, and twist. Degenerative disc disease can take place throughout the spine, but it most often occurs in the discs in the lower back (lumbar region) and the neck (cervical region). This deterioration is a gradual process that can take place over years. This can compromise the spine. Although DDD is relatively common, its effects are usually not severe enough to warrant significant medical intervention.

Long before Degenerative Disc Disease can be seen radiographically, biochemical and histologic (structural) changes occur. Over time the collagen (protein) structure of the annulus fibrosis weakens and may become structurally unstable. Also, water and proteoglycans(PG) content decreases as one ages. PGs are molecules that attract water. These changes are linked and may lead to the disc's inability to handle mechanical stress. Degenerative disc changes are more likely to occur in people who smoke cigarettes and those who do heavy physical work (such as repeated heavy lifting). People who are obese are also more likely to have symptoms of degenerative disc disease. A sudden (acute) injury leading to a herniated disc (such as a fall or a motor vehicle accident) may also start the process of degeneration

When the space in between the vertebrae becomes smaller as in DDD, the body's natural reaction to this is the construction of bony growths called bone spurs (osteophytes). Bone spurs can put pressure on the spinal nerve roots or spinal cord, resulting in pain and affecting nerve function.

Non Surgical Spinal decompression is one treatment that can help to restore the disc height. For patients who have chronic low back pain from DDD, and want a non surgical approach, spinal decompression may be the answer. Call our Glastonbury CT office (860) 633-8756 today to see if you will be a candidate for lumbar spinal decompression.

Monday, October 8, 2007

What is the difference between Traction and Spinal Decompression?

Spinal traction is a treatment option that is based on the application of a longitudinal force to the axis of the spinal column. In other words, parts of the spinal column are “pulled” in opposite directions in order to stabilize or change the position of damaged aspects of the spine. For example, You can have traction to the neck, to the low back, to your leg or your armtraction to the low back with inversion
Traction is helpful at treating some of the conditions resulting from herniation or degeneration but traction is unable to address the source of the problem. Research has shown that Spinal Decompression therapy creates a negative pressure or a vacuum inside the disc. This effect causes the disc to pull in the herniation and the increase in negative pressure also causes the flow of blood and nutrients back into the disc allowing the body's natural fibroblastic response to heal the injury and re-hydrate the disc. The DRX 9000 is the premier spinal decompression therapy unit to accomplish this.

Traction and inversion tables, at best, can lower the intradiscal pressure from a +90 to a +30 mmHg. The DRX 9000 is clinically proven to reduce the intradiscal pressure to between a -150 to -200 mmHg. Traction triggers the body's normal response to stretching by creating painful muscle spasms that worsen the pain in affected area. Spinal decompression takes the muscles out of the equation and focuses on the disc herniation.

Friday, September 28, 2007

"I Was Told I Having Stenosis. They Said Nothing Can be Done And I've Gotta Live With My Pain!"

What is STENOSIS first of all? Stenosis is a closure of the hole or holes in the back of the spine where nerve roots branch off of your spinal cord. More specifically this is called neural foraminal stenosis. Those exit holes are called your neural foramen. You can also have spinal stenosis which typically means you have closure or shrinking of the canal in the back of the spine that the spinal cord travels down. This canal is from the brain down to your lower body.

So what happens and what creates this "stenosis"? Arthritis (in other s degeneration) takes place usually in the discs and endplates of the vertebrae. When the disc flattens and bulges (aka degenerates) then #1 - that bulge can literally fill up those canals meaning your neaural canals and or your spinal canal.
#2 - the bones start to break down creating rigid/ jagged edges and spurring (bone spurs) that also put pressure on nerves and contributes to shrinking the neural foramen or spinal canal. Remember the disc acts as a spacer creating the gap or hole nerves travel out of. Once the disc flattens from a disc breakdown or herniation then you will lose the full opening in that foramen that should be there.

Facet degeneration and ligament hypertophy or inflammation also work to create pressure on the nerves or spinal cord.

So basically if the disc can be rehydrated and reheightened, and bulges and herniations can be pulled back into place, it can open these holes back up relieving nerve pressure and preventing more degeneration and arthritis to take place.

Great news, this is what Spinal Decompression does. Before Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression most patients were simply sent to physical therapy and given meds or pain shots. If this didn't work they were recommended surgery. Now we have an extra option for care of stenosis. No more just living with the pain!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How does Chropractic care help a disc herniation?

The the goal of chiropractic treatment is to put the spine in alignment. When the spine is in the normal, healthy alignment it holds the disc into place better. The adjustment helps take pressure of the nerves and restore motion back to the affected joints. Putting motion back and taking pressure off the nerves restores the function of the area. Fluid can be absorbed and released properly, nutrients can as well, waste material can be released, and inflammation will go down.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Valuable tool in diagnosing Lumbar Disc Herniations: MRI's

One of the ways to determine if a patient has a disc herniation is with an x-ray- specifically a lumbar MRI will pin point exactly the nerve root responsible for the pain down your leg. MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and it a very telling tool when it comes to looking at disc herniations. When looking at a lumbar spine MRI we can assess if the intervertebral disk spaces are of normal height, and the disks do not project past the posterior surface of the vertebral bodies in any segment. Here is a normal Lumbar MRI:

The patient lies inside a large, cylinder-shaped magnet. Radio waves 10,000 to 30,000 times stronger than the magnetic field of the earth are then sent through the body. This affects the body's atoms, forcing the nuclei into a different position. As they move back into place they send out radio waves of their own. The scanner picks up these signals and a computer turns them into a picture. These pictures are based on the location and strength of the incoming signals.

Our body consists mainly of water, and water contains hydrogen atoms. For this reason, the nucleus of the hydrogen atom is often used to create an MRI scan in the manner described above

History Of MRI
It was on July 3, 1977 that the first MRI exam was ever performed on a human being.

It took almost five hours to produce one image. The images were, by today's standards, quite ugly. Dr. Raymond Damadian, a physician and scientist, along with colleagues Dr. Larry Minkoff and Dr. Michael Goldsmith, labored tirelessly for seven long years to reach this point. They named their original machine "Indomitable" to capture the spirit of their struggle to do what many said could not be done.

This machine is now in the Smithsonian Institution. As late as 1982, there were but a handful of MRI scanners in the entire United States. Today there are thousands. We can image in seconds what used to take hours.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What is a Herniated Disc?

A Herniated Disc or Disc Protrusion or Extrusion or Prolapse or Slipped disc all essentially mean the same thing. Part of the disc has pushed out possibly putting pressure on a nerve or creates inflammation that is putting pressure on a nerve.

Technically speaking the diference between a Disc bulge and a disc herniation is that a disc hernation involves the inner part of the disc breaking out through the outer layers.

The disc is made up of an inner gel like part called the nucleus and an outer more cartilaginous section called the annulus. So a bulge is when that annulus is pushing outward or “bulging” outward but the border is not broken. A herniating disc, that inner material actually breaks through the annulus to the outside. A common analogy is a jelly donut – the nucleus is the jelly and the annulus is the rest of the donut. If you squeeze the donut the jeely pushes toward one side bulging the donut on that side. “a bulged disc” When you squeeze that donut and the jelly comes out that’s your disc “herniation”. Either a disc bulge or herniated disc can put pressure on a nerve. Typically a herniation creates more pressure but not always.

Friday, September 21, 2007

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is low back/buttocks and leg pain. Basically your sciatic nerve is formed form nerve roots in the lower spine that come together to create the sciatic nerve. This nerve travels down the legs giving off multiple branches which supply and control our legs, knees, ankles, feet, etc…
The sciatic nerve exits out an area in the buttocks next to the piriformis muscle which is why people with sciatica can often have pain in the buttocks region. It then travels down the leg. Depending exactly on the severity of pressure and what nerve fibers are effected one may have pain in the leg but often can get other symptoms such as burning, numbness and tingling, or even weakness.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Frequently asked questions about Spinal Decompression

What causes low back pain?

Low back pain can be caused by a number of factors from injuries to the effects of aging.The spinal cord is protected by the vertebrae, which are made of bone. Between each vertebra are soft discs with a ligamentous outer layer. These discs function as shock absorbers to protect the vertebra and the spinal cord. Many of the problems that cause back pain are the result of herniation and degeneration of the intervertebral disc. Degeneration is a process where wear and tear causes deterioration of the disc. Herniations, or bulging of the disc are protrusions from the disc that press on surrounding nerves, causing pain or numbness.

If I undergo DRX 9000 treatment, how long does it take to see results?

Most patients report a reduction in pain after the first few sessions. Typically, significant improvement is obtained by the second week of treatment.

How long does it take to complete DRX 9000 treatment?

Sessions times are between 30-45 minutes, daily for 5 weeks. Though, the number of sessions may vary depending upon the severity of the condition.

Do I qualify for the DRX9000 treatment?

Since I began using the DRX 9000 spinal disc decompression unit, I’have been inundated with questions from both doctors and patients as to which cases it will best help. Obviously proper patient selection is essential to favorable outcomes, so let me explain to you of the Inclusion and Exclusion criteria so you may make the right decision since not everyone qualifies for the DRX treatment.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Pain due to herniated and bulging lumbar discs that is more than four weeks old
  • Recurrent pain from a failed back surgery that is more than six months old.
  • Persistent pain from degenerated disc not responding to four weeks of therapy.
  • Patients available for four weeks of treatment protocol.
  • Patient at least 18 years of age.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Appliances such as pedicle screws and rods
  • Pregnancy
  • Prior lumbar fusion less than six months old
  • Metastatic cancer
  • Severe osteoporosis
  • Spondylolisthesis (unstable)
  • Compression fracture of lumbar spine below L-1 (recent).
  • Pars defect
  • Pathologic aortic aneurysm.
  • Pelvic or abdominal cancer
  • Disc space infections
  • Severe peripheral neuropathy
  • Hemiplegia, paraplegia, or cognitive dysfunction.

Are there any side effects to the treatment?

Most patients do not experience any side effects. Though, there have been some mild cases of muscle spasm for a short period of time.

What is the difference between the DRX9000 and the VAX-D?

The DRX is three generations past the initial VAX-D table developed years ago. Actually, the former North American distributor of VAX-D is the present manufacturer of DRX who had requested upgrades to the VAX-D unit but was refused, which explains why the VAX-D hasn’t changed in twenty years. So he and other decompression spinal practitioners brainstormed the problems with VAX-D, and with the help of many engineers, the DRX 9000 unit was developed just two years ago.The most obvious differences between the DRX9000 and the VAX-D would be their success rate and the comfort levels while a patient is being treated. Below are some side by side comparisons.

DRX9000Vax D
Patient lays on back (supine)Patient lies face down (prone) which can be very uncomfortable
Harnesses prevent any stress to the shoulders or arms.Required patients had to hold on with their hands causing severe shoulder/arm problems
The amount of decompression can be targeted to the specific disc level by varying the angle of traction.Nonspecific for disc levels with its straight-line traction

Friday, March 9, 2007

Welcome to CT Spine and Disc Center's First Blog

Hello everyone,

Welcome to CT Spine and Disc Center's Blog. Our office specializes in Spinal Decompression using the Drx 9000. Specifically for patients who have lower back pain due to a herniated disc, disc bulge, sciatica, spinal stenosis,or degenerative disc disease. The DRX 9000 is an innovative non invasive therapy for low back pain relief.

Our office is conveniently located in beautiful city of Glastonbury, Connecticut, near the intersection of Main Street and Hebron Avenue. Our office hours are Monday Thru Thursday- 8:30- 6:30 pm.

If you have any questions regarding Spinal Decompression, give our office a call at 860-633-8756 or post your question here on our blog.

CT Spine and Disc Center
30C Hebron Avenue
Glastonbury, CT


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