By Alexander Germanis
Gravity is an inescapable force. It exists everywhere. We feel its pull on a daily basis, and mankind has sought for countless ways to reduce or remove its influence since time immemorial.
When gravity is combined with time, however, the results can be crippling. This is particularly evident in the human body as we age. The weight of our own bodies constantly being drawn downward by the earth’s gravitational pull combined with the persistence of time can result in some of us actually losing inches in height as the discs in our spines compress. Some people experience even worse things, such as discomfort, pain, numbness, and immobility as a result of this compression.
At True Health Chiropractic and Massage in Bloomington, they seek to undo some of Father Time’s influence, helping people regain movement and live as they were meant to: without pain.
Feeling the Weight of One’s World
The spinal column is the corridor through which the major nerves of the body travel, it stabilizes the body, and provides tremendous flexibility. Because of its complexity, however, it can be subject to many maladies, a more common one being spinal compression.
Spinal compression happens when the discs between the vertebral discs either degenerate from time and age or from disc herniation. As aforementioned, this can result in discomfort in the back and legs, pain, and in some cases a severe limitation of movement.
Don P., a patient of True Health Chiropractic, experienced the crushing influence of spinal compression in his life. “I had severe lower back pain on both sides and pain down both legs, and both feet were partially numb,” he shares. “The pain just slowly got worse over a five-week period and then simply fertilizing my yard with a walk-behind spreader triggered it to get worse; five days later I could not walk.”
Naturally, Don sought solutions to his severe and sudden problem. Deep tissue massage had helped him somewhat with his pain before it had gotten crippling. “But in retrospect, if I would have come to True Health in the beginning that could have been avoided,” he admits, “and I may have never lost the ability to walk.”
The answer to Don’s quest came in the form of spinal decompression (SD).
Modern Help Against an Ancient Foe
“Spinal decompression is extremely effective at treating low back pain, neck pain, and sciatica caused by bulging, herniated, and degenerative discs or facet syndrome,” states Dr. Justin Hillman, chiropractor and founder of True Health. “Before SD, there were very few non-surgical options to treat disc problems. Now with SD, there’s a non-surgical option to treat these issues that’s less invasive.”
That non-surgical method is performed by the DRX9000 decompression machine. The subject of more research than any other decompression tool, the DRX9000 table has been found to be extremely effective at performing its duty. In fact, it can be so good at its job, many patients not only feel tremendous relief after their sessions, but some also fall asleep while using it.
“The treatment process is safe and relaxing,” Dr. Hillman affirms. “The patient is fitted with a comfortable pelvic harness designed to achieve optimal decompression of the lumbar spine. The table is lowered into a flat position, and the patient feels a gentle lengthening in the spine as the disc is decompressed. The treatment lasts about 30 minutes. The session goes through a series of gentle pulls, holds, and releases.”
The thought of a decompression table may conjure images of a torture rack from medieval Europe, or maybe a slightly less antiquated traction machine. This, of course, is not the case. Whereas a traction table uses static force that can cause muscle spasms, the DRX9000 targets the intervertebral discs, bypassing the muscle receptors. By slowly and carefully lengthening the spine, the DRX causes negative pressure, creating a vacuum within the discs. This vacuum repositions the bulging disc, pulling its material back into its proper place. “Spinal experts believe that nutrients, oxygen, and fluids are drawn into the disc, helping with healing,” says Dr. Hillman.
No Arguing with Results
Because the body does not heal instantly, treatment plans with the DRX9000 typically range between eight and 12 weeks for disc injuries like spinal compression. Patients may have several treatments per week during this time, often seeing results after just a few sessions.
Don experienced some relief after only his first session, but it took multiple treatments before he felt a more complete relief from pain. He still goes in for treatments and feels better the day following each session.
“The day of a session I feel kind of tender in the lower back the rest of that day,” he says. “After a night’s rest I can get a grasp on improvement. I have also learned that multiple days of rest has added up to more improvement. I was in such pain in the beginning that I was getting sessions each day. I am very happy with two sessions a week now and multiple days to heal.”
Although the details of Don’s recovery may not be identical to everyone’s experience with the DRX, Dr. Hillman states that the efficacy of the spinal decompression treatments is quite typical.
“A study by Dr. Leslie of the Mayo Clinic shows spinal decompression to be up to 88 percent effective for neck and back pain,” he shares. “And a study by a Harvard trained neurosurgeon showed that patients had a 76 percent decrease in pain, even a year after their last therapy session, and when other therapies already failed.”
“Our office has really embraced the benefits that SD can do for our patients,” he continues. “We have six of the most advanced decompression tables to treat both low back and neck issues. Our staff are all professional and nationally certified on SD. We have done everything we can to make the treatments affordable and effective.”
Time Doesn’t Always Heal
The old saying time heals all wounds not only doesn’t apply to spinal compression, but it will also actually make it worse. “The more severe the disc problem, or the more degenerative issues with the joint, the longer or less effective the treatment can be,” Dr. Hiller agrees. “As with most health issues, the sooner you can address them, the easier they are to heal.”
This is in line with Benjamin Franklin’s advice: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Don could not agree more with this assessment. “Don’t wait!” he implores. I wish I had come in five weeks sooner, when the pain started. If someone does have herniated, compressed discs, I can say spinal decompression is working on me and I am walking without a cane and 95 percent pain free. I am confident I will not need a cane and will be back to my normal in the near future.”
Of course, not every case is the same. Some patients may not be good candidates for spinal decompression therapy of the lumbar spine at all. Pregnant women, people with certain surgical hardware such as rods or cages, those with abdominal or pelvic cancer or severe spondylolisthesis are just some of those who should not try SD treatment.
A Team Effort
Although the DRX9000 is doing the lion’s share of the work when it comes to spinal decompression treatments, the staff at True Health certainly have their place, too. Don is grateful to Dr. Brent Rassi for leading him through the process and to the other staff members for being so caring during his painful ordeal.
“When I could not stand or walk, everyone was so helpful, caring, and understanding,” he recalls. “It was tough for me to get on the machine. Everyone did a great job explaining what was happening and checking back in. It was really a pleasant experience.”
Just as Don’s results are fairly typical with the DRX, so too is his experience with the people of True Health Chiropractic and Massage. “We promise not to push things on the patients that they don’t need, only to get them better,” Dr. Hillman confirms. “I have done extensive training, and continue to do so, along with my staff, to be the best spinal decompression office we can be. When you couple our decompression expertise with our other cutting-edge treatments such as the Pulstar, Neuromed, SoftWave, and massage, we offer everything needed to get better!”
True Health Chiropractic & Massage is located at 2406 E. Washington St.
in Bloomington, Illinois. Please call them at (309) 585-0704, visit them in
person, or online at www.truehealthchiropracticandmassage.com.