FHN Complementary Medicine Monthly Newsletter June 2004
With the advent of new machines being advertised for treatment of back problems we thought it would be prudent to look at what they are and what they do.
Lets look at 2 of the major devices out on the market ,Vax D and DRX systems, and a osteopathic /chiropractic technique called flexion distraction. (Cox F and D)
All of these devices ( the Vax-D and the DRX System) are traction devices, according to the FDA. Their FDA product code is "ITH", which is "powered traction equipment".
The Vax-D manufacturers claim a proprietary cycling mechanism that is actually simply a pre-programmed intermittent traction mode. You cannot perform cervical traction or adjust the table's position in flexion/extention, lateral bending or rotation with the Vax-D.
The patient holds onto bars to stabilize the upper body. The Vax-D protocol recommends traction be given in the prone position.
The DRS protocol is in the supine position, with the pelvis posteriorly tilted. The treatment mode is intermittent, with a 60 second on, 30 second off cycle. You cannot perform cervical traction or adjust the table's position in flexion/extension, lateral bending or rotation. There are some extra patient comfort features such as headphones and a blue lamp for relaxation.
Cox flexion distraction is a manual technique where the doctor will hold a spinous process (the back part of the vertebra that feels like a "bump" on your spine) to isolate a single segment for treatment. The distraction manipulation is applied manually by the doctor to the patient's low back at the levels of the spine to be treated or that are painful. The patient lies on a table that is built to traction the spine and also to produce motions that are normal for the spine. To attain these motions, the table goes "up and down" (flexion and extension), goes "side to side" (lateral flexion), or moves in a circular motion (circumduction). All movements are slow. This technique can be applied anywhere in the spine including the cervical spine.
Traction research using the Vax-D machine shows a decrease in intradiscal pressure. Why is this important? Decreased intradiscal pressure causes a suction force inside the discs of the spine. If a herniated disc is present, this suction force can decrease the herniation. Any traction protocol that uses the right amount of force and protocol will have the same positive results shown in the research. In other words, the decompression phenomenon is not unique to the Vax-D, but can be replicated on any traction machine that is able to produce the protocols described in the literature.
The cost of these procedures can run from around $40 per session for the Cox F and D to 5 to 10 times that amount for the Vax D and DRX systems.
Both Complementary Medicine and Healthworks have been using Cox F and D for many years with excellent success at a fraction of the cost of the other systems.
Drs. Glenn and Julie Smith