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Flexion-Distraction Therapy - What is it?

We are very excited to announce that we have recently added Flexion Distraction treatments to our practice.  Flexion-Distraction, (F/D) is a gentle, chiropractic treatment procedure utilized for back and neck pain. Flexion-Distraction is a safe alternative to back surgery for those 90% of patients whose conditions do not demand surgical intervention. The doctor is in control of the treatment movements at all times.

Flexion-Distraction is utilized for many conditions such as:

  • Failed Back surgical Syndromes
  • Disc Herniation/Ruptured Disc / Bulging Disc / Herniated Disc
  • Sciatica / Leg pain
  • "Whiplash" injuries
  • Stenosis
  • Arm Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Failed course of Steroid Injections
  • Chemical Radiculitis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Headache
  • Transitional segment
  • Many more conditions….

How does Flexion-Distraction Work?

For Disc related conditions:

  1. Increases the intervertebral disc height to remove annular tension on the annular fibers and nerve by making more room and improving circulation.
  2. Allows the nucleus pulposus, the center of the disc, to assume its central position within the annular fibers and relieves irritation of the spinal nerve.
  3. Restores vertebral joints to their physiological relationships of motion.
  4. Improves posture and locomotion while relieving pain, improving body functions, and creating a state of well-being.

For Non-Disc related conditions:

Patients with other conditions causing back pain (facet syndrome, spondylolisthesis, sprain/strain, scoliosis, transitional vertebra, sacroiliac restrictions and misalignment, certain types of spinal stenosis), Flexion/Distraction provides all of the above benefits plus the ability to place the spinal joints into normal, painless movements so as to restore spinal motion without pain:

  1. The posterior disc space increases in height.
  2. F/D decreases disc protrusion and reduces stenosis.
  3. Flexion stretches the ligamentum flavum to reduce stenosis.
  4. Flexion opens the vertebral canal by 2 mm (16%) or 3.5 to 6mm more than extension.
  5. Flexion increases metabolite transport into the disc.
  6. Flexion opens the apophyseal joints and reduces posterior disc stress
  7. The nucleus pulposus does not move on flexion. Intradiscal pressure drops under distraction to below 100mm Hg. On extension the nucleus or annulus is seen to protrude posterior into the vertebral canal.
  8. Intervertebral foraminal openings enlarge giving patency to the nerve. 



Chiropractors Really Do Treat Asthma?

By Peter Fysh, DC

This is a case report of a child whose chronic asthma responded well to regular spinal care.

Case Report

Johnny, five-years-old, had been suffering from bronchial asthma for the past three years. His attacks were now coming daily and he was on increasing doses of medication, which included the bronchodilator spray, Ventolin, and steroids. Johnny's mother was very concerned about her son's condition. She had just been told by Johnny's physician that his medication dosage could not be increased any further at his age, even though his asthma attacks were occurring daily and were quite debilitating.

"Is there anything chiropractic can do for my son's asthma," Johnny's mother asked her chiropractor, almost in desperation. The chiropractor explained that not all cases of asthma responded to spinal adjusting, but that enough did, that would suggest that Johnny should undergo a thorough spinal evaluation. The chiropractor explained that in his experience, the cases that responded best to spinal adjusting were those which commenced at a young age, like Johnny's. Chiropractic seeks simply to restore normal function to the spine and nervous system, and if that is part of Johnny's problem, then we should see some appropriate response. The chiropractor further explained that working with the spine was not always a quick solution for asthma and that improvement in Johnny's condition might come gradually over a period of months. During this time, Johnny would probably need to be evaluated each week and should certainly continue with his prescribed medications. To a parent who had cared for her son through the many helpless nights of asthma, the slightest prospect of success was acceptable.

Johnny was evaluated by the chiropractor, found to have problems in several areas of his spine, and was started on a course of chiropractic treatment. Johnny, like so many patients with chronic bronchial problems, was found to have an anterior dishing of the spine in the midscapular region, a phenomenon which had been identified by F. Pottenger, M.D., British, last century.1 In Johnny's case, his spinal problems were mainly confined to the thoracic region, with occasional adjustments to the upper cervicals and to the lumbar spine and pelvis.

Johnny's response to the treatment showed a gradual improvement in his condition. After four weeks of treatment, his mother reported that the asthma attacks were now less intense, even though they still came every day. After six weeks of treatment his attacks were now down to three days a week. After eight weeks of treatment, Johnny visited his physician for further evaluation. To the delight of his mother, Johnny's steroid medication was reduced by half. Chiropractic care continued on a weekly basis, with very light spinal thrusts being applied to the midscapular spinal region and specific cervical adjustments being made, as indicated by palpation, about every second week.

After Johnny had been undergoing chiropractic care for four months, his asthma attacks were quite mild but still occurring about every second week. About this time, he again visited his physician for evaluation of his medication. This time his steroids were discontinued, and he was advised to continue with the aerosol inhaler daily. Johnny was now being seen only every other week by the chiropractor. After six months care, Johnny had stopped using his Ventolin inhaler, but his mother still carried it everywhere they went, just as a precaution.

Johnny's case is not unusual in chiropractic. It is one of thousands of similar case reports on file in chiropractors' offices throughout the country. The sad part is that there are possibly millions of asthmatic children in the world who are destined to a life dependent upon medication, children who, because of close-minded attitudes and politics in the health care profession, will never have the chance to see if chiropractic spinal adjustments can help their asthma and so provide a better quality of life.

Conclusion

Should chiropractors treat children for asthma? According to some so-called authorities, chiropractors should only treat back pain. Who should decide what conditions are treatable by chiropractic spinal adjustments? Surely it is the field doctor viewing the results of the treatments and the response of various disorders to chiropractic care.

If just one chiropractor evaluates and adjusts the spine of a child who has chronic asthma, and that child responds to the regular treatments by having future attacks of asthma which are less intense and less frequent, or better yet, no asthma at all, then surely it would seem appropriate for that chiropractor to try to help other children similarly afflicted.

References

  1. Pottenger F: Symptoms of Visceral Disease. Moseby, St. Louis, 1944.

Peter N. Fysh, D.C., B.APP. Sc. (Chiro)

Sunnyvale, California


Brain Function (Sensorimotor Cortex) Increases with Chiropractic Care

by

Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMLP

Chiropractic care improves brain function and the body's motor or movement ability

Research findings that redefine care for every rehabilitation patient for all motor disorders

According to the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation (2011), "Sensory processing (sometimes called 'sensory integration' or SI) is a term that refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Whether you are biting into a hamburger, riding a bicycle, or reading a book, your successful completion of the activity requires processing sensation or 'sensory integration'" (http://spdfoundation.net/about-sensory-processing-disorder.html).

According to Wikipedia (2011), "A motor skill is a learned sequence of movements that combine to produce a smooth, efficient action in order to master a particular task. The development of motor skill occurs in the motor cortex, the region of the cerebral cortex that controls voluntary muscle groups" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_skill).

According to LearningRX (2010), "Sensory motor integration is the synergistic relationship between the sensory system and the motor system. Since the two communicate and coordinate with each other, if one is problematic, the other can suffer as a result. The two involve receiving and transmitting the stimuli to the central nervous system where the stimulus is then interpreted. The nervous system then determines how to respond and transmits the instructions via nerve impulses to carry out the instructions (e.g. a hand-eye coordination movement)" (http://www.learningrx.com/sensory-motor-integration-faq.htm).

The synopsis of the above 3 paragraphs is that the human body senses information (sensory processing), processes the information in the brain (sensorimotor cortex), and then sends the information to the part of the body that has to perform a function, such as moving your thumb, walking, talking, picking something up or any other function we do in our lives. As the above paragraph eloquently stated, if any of the 3 areas are not working properly or working not optimally, every part of the system suffers.

In 2010, Taylor and Murphy concluded in their research that chiropractic care improves the functional levels of the motor cortex, premotor areas, and that this improved measurement was maintained after a 20-minute training task, indicating that it wasn't a transient finding. The authors further offered that the practical applications suggesting that:

1. this alters the way the central nervous system responds to motor training

2. a chiropractic spinal adjustment/manipulation alters the neurological integration at the cortical (brain) level

3. this explains the mechanism responsible for reducing pain levels and increased functional ability after the adjustment/manipulation

4. this explains the mechanism of overuse injuries and chronic pain conditions

The above 4 areas change the way we should approach strategies in rehabilitation for all neurodegenerative and congenital motor and sensory disorders. A list of potential disorders that could benefit in rehabilitation from this research is:

1. muscular dystrophy

2. Duchenne muscular dystrophy

3. myasthenia gravis

4. Parkinson's disease

5. fibromyalgia

6. multiple sclerosis

7. Huntington's disease

8. stroke victims

9. all other neuro-muscular diseases

On a clinical note, this author, having cared for muscular dystrophy patients for 30 years, can report that in every instance, the patients were able to ambulate (walk) with greater ease and had significantly more motor control (movement) while under chiropractic care. The goal of rehabilitation in the neurodegenerative patient is to both increase muscle tone and through repetition of activities of daily living, gait training, balance training, speech training and all other motor functions, to help retrain the muscles to maximize the body's ability to regain those functions. The rehabilitation is essential in most cases and critical to the person regaining an independent life.

The therapist in rehabilitation creates a setting similar to a car or kitchen so that the patient can re-create activities of daily living. In doing these activities with the help of the therapist, the patient is activating stimuli in the sensory nervous system. Touching and movement are senses that the brain has to process and then send impulses back to the muscles to move in order to perform daily tasks. In order for function to be regained maximally, there can be no dysfunction at the spinal level. That dysfunction is defined in chiropractic as subluxation or a vertebrate out of place, negatively affecting the nerve and fixed in the wrong position.

Based upon the research by Taylor and Murphy (2010), if there is a spinal dysfunction (subluxation) it prevents normal impulses from the sensory system and lowers the ability of the brain from functioning at its optimal. Therefore, the most rehabilitation can offer is maximization of the body's ability at reduced capacity. The implications are staggering as in many cases that could mean no matter the expertise of the therapist or the diligence of the patient, the rehabilitation would not be as successful or could fail if the brain could not function at a higher level.

Through chiropractic care, the patient can have the ability to function at a higher level and live a "more normal life" with neurodegenerative disorders. The implications go well beyond neurodegenerative disorders and cross over to industry, sports and everyday life. However, that will be discussed in another article.

References:

1. Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation (2011). About SPD. Retrieved fromhttp://spdfoundation.net/about-sensory-processing-disorder.html

2. Wikipedia (2011). Motor skill. Retrieved fromhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_skill

3. LearningRX (2010). Sensory motor integration. Retrieved fromhttp://www.learningrx.com/sensory-motor-integration-faq.htm

4. Taylor, H. H., & Murphy, B. (2010). The effects of spinal manipulation on central integration of dual somatosensory input observed after motor training: A crossover study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 33(4), 261-272.


Cellphone Use Tied to Changes in Brain Activity

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health have found that less than an hour of cellphone use can speed up brain activity in the area closest to the phone antenna, raising new questions about the health effects of low levels of radiation emitted from cellphones.

Read more 

By TARA PARKER-POPE

Thursday, February 24, 2011


 

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