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LIVING WELL: New spinal disc treatment offers real results

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A few weeks ago, I traveled to Dallas to attend a national conference on non-surgical spine treatment.

While there, I enjoyed meeting and comparing notes with other experienced spine doctors. Attendees came from across the United States to advance their knowledge about news regarding conservative treatment options for injured spinal discs.

One theme that kept popping up among those of us who have been practicing for more than 20 years was how gratifying it is to be able to offer newly developed safe, effective treatment options that do not require surgery. In order to appreciate how exciting that is, it is necessary to realize that only a couple of decades ago, surgery was often the only recommended option for a large number of spinal disc cases.

When I began my career, the best conservative option for bulging lumbar (lower back) discs was a process called flexion, or distraction. This involved significant financial investment in a specific type of treatment table and investing the time to be trained in using the technique.

Realizing how important the treatment would become, I became proficient at the technique and invested in two of the specialized treatment tables. Over the years, I have treated thousands of patients using this approach. Most were able to avoid spinal surgery.

However, for the most severe cases of lumbar discs, this approach was occasionally not sufficient to resolve the problem. In addition, the options to treat severe cervical disc cases that caused neck and arm symptoms were limited.

A little more than 20 years ago, a medical doctor in Canada began development of a new approach to resolve spinal disc cases without using surgery. Out of this research has come a completely new field of spinal treatment called non-surgical spinal disc decompression.

The innovative change that allowed developers to create a more effective type of therapy involved advancements in computer technology. By adapting multiple sensors to monitor muscle contraction as a reaction to the applied force of decompression, the innovative treatment technology can actually target specific spinal discs, effectively avoiding muscle resistance.

This means that specially designed tables can actually accomplish decompressive treatment directed to specific spinal discs in a relaxed, comfortable treatment.

Although the new technology promised significant benefits, I delayed implementation in my own clinic. Before offering any treatment to my patients, I prefer to let others work the bugs out.

After watching the technology develop over the years, I decided a few years ago that the treatment was ready for prime time.

Because of the expense of the technology, few clinics have made the investment in the more advanced treatment equipment.

I began a search about two years ago to determine which particular device was the most effective as well as provided treatment with exceptional comfort and safety.

My search led me to acquire the sophisticated HillDT spinal disc decompression device. It has been in use in our clinic now for more than a year.

Several doctors at the conference wanted to know about my evaluation of the device and patient outcomes.

I told them that although I had expected to be pleased, in fact, my experience in treating patients with serious spinal disc injuries had been much better than I expected.

The treatment is so comfortable patients have been known to fall asleep.

When a patient shows up at my office with spine pain and radiating pain, numbness, tingling or weakness into the arms or legs, they usually tell me that they have had episodes of back problems before but never this bad. At this point, an MRI will often show a bulging or ruptured spinal disc.

One of the patient’s first questions is often, “Will I need surgery?”

Everyone is afraid of spinal surgery.

Unfortunately, although surgeons are well trained and do amazing work, the spine often does not respond well to attempts to repair it surgically. In addition to other risks, unpredictable scar tissue development can complicate even the simplest spine surgeries.

In many cases, more than one surgery may eventually be required.

I have had at least two patients during my 25-year career tell me that they have already had more than seven spinal surgeries. I wish they had come to me sooner.

For most patients, even those with severe cases, new non-surgical options including spinal disc decompression offer better outcomes than ever before.


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Back Pain, Health, Health Care, Living Well, Technology
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Members Opinions:
March 13, 2013 at 4:26pm
If only it was covered by Medicare.
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