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Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie, Inc.

Traction and stretching machines and their ability to correct spinal disc injury.

When physical therapy fails after a disc injury some people may benefit from traction

Another treatment option is traction for disc injury.  In years past, traction was provided by actually putting weight on pulleys attached to the legs while holding the torso and arms motionless.  This traction process was thought to actually take stress off the disc and therefore allow a bulge to recede.  Also by relieving the pressure on the disc, the symptoms are reduced.  That is why so many people report a relief of symptoms when they are lying down.

A similar method of relieving stress in the spine was accomplished by the invention of machines that would allow you to hang upside down to cause your body to naturally stretch with the weight of your torso. Many people have claimed benefit of this type of therapy. 

Modern machines are now offering a more sophisticated process.  They allow an isolation of segments of the spine and alternating stretch and relaxation of the spinal segment during treatment over a course of months. Of course, there are no long term studies of the efficacy of use of this machine as it is simply too new.  These machines measure in precise ways the angles and position of the spinal discs and column.  An additional drawback of this type of treatment is that it is labor intensive and the machines are expensive.  To avoid surgery people will do anything, and this expense can be an added frustration since most insurance does not cover the treatment option.  There has been some reported success though limited.  In a Tampa, FL, April 30, 2009 a study titled, “The treatment of lumbar disc disease using DRX-9000”, published in the December issue of the Nigata University Journal of Health and Welfare reported seventy five percent of the patients were "satisfied" with the treatment.

It is worth investigating for your condition.  However, note this during your investigation.  I cannot evaluate that study result, as “satisfied” is a vague term.  Use of these machines is controversial and not yet proven viable long term.  In fact there are a number of recent complaints by doctors that they were told they could generate billings by treating patients, only to find out that most insurance companies are not paying for the treatment. 

What is equally disturbing is that the only studies released to date are by those that purchased the machine and therefore they may have a financial incentive for report good results.  Consider carefully before you invest 5 to 7 thousand dollars on this treatment. 

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