Flexion distraction therapy is an advanced, traction based therapy commonly used to manage the symptoms of disc injury and various other lower back pain complaints with great success.
It is a very useful and gentle chiropractic treatment, and is a careful approach for disc injuries, lower back and leg pain symptoms and a reliable alternative to explore if spinal surgery has been recommended.
Conditions that may benefit from flexion distraction therapy include:
- lumbar disc injuries (ruptured discs, bulging discs, herniated “slipped discs” or degenerated discs)
- degenerative spinal conditions
- spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)
- low back pain
- leg pain
- buttock pain
- sciatica pain
- general lower back stiffness
- sprain or strain
- sacroiliac syndrome
- ankylosing spondylitis
- post surgical back pain.
What does flexion distraction therapy involve?
Flexion distraction therapy involves the use of a specially designed motorised table that simultaneously distracts (stretches) and flexes the spine in a gentle cyclic motion.
The chiropractor applies mild pressure to specific areas of contact that is intended to relieve pain, restore motion and realign the spine. It also works towards relieving pressure on the spinal nerves and discs, lower back pain and radicular symptoms including sciatica.
Sciatica is a common complaint, involving pain, tingling or numbness in your legs, feet and toes caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Flexion distraction therapy is clinically proven to:
- reduce pressure inside the spinal disc
- widen the spinal canal
- reduce pressure on the spinal nerves
- return motion to spinal joints.
It is generally considered a very safe, effective, conservative approach for disc injuries, low back and leg pain symptoms, and a definite alternative to explore if spinal surgery has been recommended.
How does flexion distraction therapy manage symptoms?
Flexion distraction therapy can assist with managing symptoms of disc injury and offers sciatic pain relief.
The gentle pumping rhythm of flexion distraction therapy enables the spinal disc to be placed under negative pressure, causing a vacuum effect within it. Because of this negative pressure, disc material that has protruded or herniated can be pulled back within the normal confines of the disc and permit healing to occur.
This technique can help move the disc away from the nerve, reducing inflammation of the nerve root and eventually any associated pain, pins and needles, numbness or weakness of the leg (that may be related to your herniated disc).
Flexion distraction therapy is a well researched and powerful first line treatment for back pain and other health conditions related to the lumbar spine.
Chiropractors at Health First Chiropractic have been using this method for many years to manage the symptoms of sciatica and disc herniation and have offered many patients ongoing pain management and an alternative to discomfort, temporary disability and spinal surgery.
Is flexion distraction therapy painful?
Typically flexion distraction therapy is not painful, and in fact, the large majority of people who have undergone this chiropractic treatment advise that they find it comfortable and relaxing.
Thanks to its softer nature, it is often used with patients who are recovering from spinal surgery or back injury. Flexion distraction therapy is also well suited for patients experiencing high levels of pain who feel they unable to tolerate vigorous chiropractic adjustments and require a lighter approach.
No spinal manipulation “cracking” is involved
Is flexion distraction therapy appropriate for older or more frail patients?
Movements are repetitive and usually slow, without any quick thrusts or undue pressure so it can be an ideal chiropractic treatment for people with arthritis, osteoporosis or of an advanced age or those who require a lighter touch.
In fact, flexion distraction therapy has been successfully used to help manage many conditions of the aging spine including degenerative disc disease and spinal stiffness associated with osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis.
Flexion distraction therapy and spinal surgery
Many patients find relief from flexion distraction therapy for a variety of conditions and some even avoid spinal surgery. If you’re considering surgery, it might be a great idea to book a consultation with one of our experienced chiropractors, to see if you are a good candidate for this treatment. A trial of non surgical care may well be warranted prior to surgical intervention.
Depending on the type of surgery, patients who’ve previously undergone spinal surgery can still be treated with flexion distraction therapy, in most cases.