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Back Pain Fact
Back pain is the most frequent cause of activity limitation under age 45

Available Research on Spinal Decompression Therapy

Published Research on the Effectiveness of Spinal Decompression

View With Acrobat ReaderClinical Outcomes for Spinal Decompression
Gionis, Thomas A, MD and Groteke, Eric DC

Study to investigate clinical outcomes of spinal decompression therapy for 219 patients suffering from herniated or degenerative disc disease. Research shows that using DRX9000, spinal decompression was found to relieve symptoms and restore mechanical function in 86% of patients previously thought to be surgical candidates. Note: This study is currently the subject of discussion with certain regulators who have taken the position that a study may need to be double-blinded in order to support an 86% success rate claim.

View With Acrobat Reader Emerging Technologies Decompression, Reduction and Stabilization of the Lumbar Spine: A Cost Effective Treatment for Lumbosacral Pain
C. Norman Shealy, MD, PhD  and Vera Borgmeyer, RN, MA, AJPM. 1997; Vol. 7, pp. 63-65.

Research comparing traditional mechanical traction to a more sophisticated decompression device and its effectiveness in treating patients with pain in the lumbosacral spine. Concludes that a decompression system should be evaluated as a primary intervention early in the onset of low back pain—especially in worker’s compensation injuries.

View With Acrobat ReaderNew Concepts in Back Pain Management: Decompression, Reduction and Stabilization
Shealy, C. Norman, et al., Pain Management, Practical Guidelines for Clinicians, Fifth Edition, Chapter 20, pp. 239-258.

Research and findings identifying the seven major factors in achieving clinical results for lumbar pain. Discussion includes research overview, comparison to other treatments, i.e. traction, and success rates using segmental decompression.

Effects of Controlled Dynamic Disc distractions on Degenerated Intervertebral Discs
Marcus Kroeber, MD,  et al.; SPINE. 2005; Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 181-187.

Effects of temporary dynamic distraction on intervertebral discs were studied on the in vivo lumbar spine rabbit model to characterize the changes associated with disc distraction and to evaluate feasibility of temporary disc distraction to previously compressed discs in order to stimulate disc regeneration. Results of this study suggest that disc regeneration can be induced by axial distraction in the rabbit intervertebral disc. The decompressed rabbit intervertebral discs showed signs of tissue recovery on a biologics, cellular and biomechanical level after 28 days of distraction.

A Retrospective Data Analysis of the Effectiveness of Decompression Therapy in Patients with HNP/DJD, Facet Syndrome and Sciatica
Amy K. Dicke-Bohmann, PhD; Jonathan A Bohman, PhD; Jack Aldridge, PhD, William Squires, PhD, Andrew Rutledge, DC.  Technical Report, June 2004.

Study analyzing data from patients whose diagnosis included lumbar disc syndrome, degenerated disc disease, herniated disc, stenosis, sciatica and facet syndrome and 16 of who had back surgery. These patients were treated with the Lordex RX1 decompression machine. The basic protocol of this study produced a 91.7% positive response in the 122 patients. Many of the patients were able to avoid any invasive procedures after the series of treatments.

View With Acrobat ReaderMRI Evidence of Nonsurgical, Mechanical Reduction, Rehydration and Repair of the Herniated Lumbar Disc
Edward L. Eyerman, MD, Journal of Neuroimaging. 1998; Vol. 8, No. 2.

Serial MRI imaging of 20 patients treated with the decompression table shows in this study over 90% reduction of subligamentous nucleus herniation in 10 of 14. Some rehydration occurs detected by T2 and proton density signal increase. Torn annulus repair is seen in all. Transligamentous ruptures show lesser repair. Facet arthrosis can be shown to improve chiefly by pain relief. Virtually all subjects have sufficient relief of pain to return to work.

View With Acrobat ReaderVertebral Axial Decompression Therapy for Pain Associated with Herniated or Degenerated Discs or Facet Syndrome: An Outcome Study
Earl E Gose, William K. Naguszewski and Robert K. Naguszewski, Department of Bioengineering, University of Illinois and Coosa Medical Group, Rome, Georgia.

Data was collected from 22 medical centers for 778 patients. The treatment was successful in 71% of the 778 cases, when success was defined as a reduction in pain to 0 or 1 on a 0-5 scale. Patients who received vertebral axial decompression (VAX-D) therapy for low back pain, which was sometimes accompanied by referred leg pain.

View With Acrobat ReaderVertebral Axial Decompression on Sensory Nerve Dysfunction in Patients with Low Back Pain and Radiculopathy
Frank Tilaro, MD and Dennis Miskovich, MD. Canadian Journal of Clinical Medicine, January 1999.

Study designed to determine if vertebral axial decompression (VAX-D) could externally decompress the nerve root.  The results showed that after vertebral axial decompression therapy, 91% demonstrated improved neurological function measured by the CPT Neurometer after therapy. Overall improvement was 67%, statistically significant to p<0.05. 64% of patients achieved complete recovery of neurologic function.

View With Acrobat ReaderEffects of Vertebral Axial Decompression on Intradiscal Pressure
Gustavo Ramos, MD and William Martin, MD; Journal of Neurosurgery, 1994, Vol. 81; pp. 350-353.

Study objective was to examine the effect of vertebral axial decompression on pressure in the nucleus pulposus of lumbar discs. The results indicate that it is possible to lower pressure in the nucleus pulposus of herniated lumbar discs to levels significantly below 0 mmHg when distraction tension is applied according to the protocol described for vertebral axial decompression therapy.

A Prospective Randomized controlled Study of VAX-D and TENS for the Treatment of Chronic Low Back Pain.
Sherry E. Kitchener, P and Smart R. Neurological Research, October 2001; Vol. 23, No. 7; pp. 780-4.

Randomized controlled trial to address the question of efficacy and appropriateness of vertebral axial decompression (VAX-D) therapy, a new technology shown in clinical research to create negative intradiscal pressures, and has been shown to be effective in treating patients with chronic low back pain with associated leg pain. A statistically significant reduction in pain and improvement in functional outcome was obtained in patients with chronic low back pain treated with VAX-D.

Spinal Decompression and Physical Therapy Research

A Comparison between Lumbar Decompression Therapy and Standard Physical Therapy as a Means to Decrease Nonspecific Lower Back Pain
James A. Eldridge, Glen Nelson and William G. Squires

Study to determine if a new treatment modality consisting of 21 sessions of lumbar decompression incorporated with lumbar extensor strengthening was more effective in the elimination of nonspecific Lower back pain (LBP) compared to current physical therapy methods. Results found that the therapeutic modality of lumbar decompression using a decompression unit followed by lumbar extensor exercises not only decreased the perceptual pain indices of the subjects, but also alleviated pain to the point that the subjects reported the complete absence of pain.

The Effects of Spinal Flexion and Extension Exercises and their Associated Postures in Patients with Acute Low Back Pain
Dettori JR, Bullock SH, Sutlive TG, Franklin RJ, Patience T; SPINE; 1995 Nov. 1; Vol 20; pp. 2303-12

A prospective randomized clinical trial to compare the immediate effects of back exercise on functional status, spinal mobility, straight leg raising, pain severity, and treatment satisfaction and to determine whether spinal exercise during the acute stage of low back pain reduces recurrent episodes of low back pain. The study concluded that after 8 weeks there was no difference in outcomes between the flexion or extension exercise groups and no difference among groups regarding recurrence of low back pain after 6-12 months.

Trunk Muscle Strength in and Effect of Trunk Muscle Exercises for Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain and Differences in Patients With and Without Organic Lumbar Lesions.
Takemasa R, Yamamoto H, Tani T. SPINE. December 1995; Vol. 20, Is. 23, pp. 2522-30.

Study to investigate trunk muscle strength and the effect of trunk muscle exercises on patients with chronic low back pain. Results were that patients with chronic low back pain had significantly lower trunk muscle strength compared to a control group. Trunk muscle exercises were effective in reducing low back pain in patients that did NOT have detectable organic lesions. Using exercise to increase trunk muscle strength DID NOT completely eliminate the low back pain induced by the organic lesions of patients in group 1.

Spinal Manipulation in Treating Low Back Pain

A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Manual Therapy and Specific Adjuvant Exercise for Chronic Low Back Pain
Geisser ME, et ai. The Clinical Journal of Pain. November/December 2005; Vol. 21, Iss. 6, pp. 463-470.

This article examines the effectiveness of manual therapy with specific adjuvant exercise for treating chronic low back pain and disability. A single blind, randomized, controlled trial was employed. When controlling for pretreatment scores, patients receiving manual therapy with specific adjuvant exercise reported significant reductions in pain. No change in perceived disability was observed, with the exception that patients receiving sham manual therapy with specific adjuvant exercise reported significantly greater disability at post treatment.

High-Velocity Low-Amplitude Spinal Manipulation for Symptomatic Lumbar Disk Disease: A Systematic Review of the Literature
Lisi AJ, et al. JMPT. July 2005; Vol. 28, No. 6, pp. 429-442.

Study to review the evidence for high-velocity low-amplitude spinal manipulation (HVLASM) for symptomatic lumbar disk disease (SLDD).The reviewed evidence supports the hypothesis that HVLASM may be effective in the treatment of SLDD and does not support the hypothesis that HVLASM is inherently unsafe in SLDD cases.

Safety of Spinal Manipulation in the Treatment of Lumbar Disk Herniations: A Systematic Review and Risk Assessment
Drew Oliphant, DC JMPT. March 2004; Vol. 27, No. 3.

Review of research to provide a qualitative systematic review of the risk f spinal manipulation in the treatment of lumbar disc herniations (LDH) and to estimate the risk of spinal manipulation causing a severe adverse reaction in a patient presenting with LDH. Results concluded that the risk of spinal manipulation causing a clinically worsened disc herniation or CES in a patient presenting with LDH is calculated from published data to be less than 1 in 3.7 million.

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