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Spinal Decompression Therapy

Avoid Spinal Surgery And Use Of Pain Medication Drugs, Reduce Sciatic Pain And Avoid Hospitalization.

Dr. James Perkins Discusses Spinal Decompression Therapy And Treatment

Spinal decompression for lumbar spine disorders is one of the most misunderstood concepts there are, when it comes to public awareness. The confusion may be due partly, to the ads you see and hear each time you open your mailbox, turn on the radio or Google “back pain”. Expensive treatment packages, which vary greatly, involving “state of the art” traction equipment are everywhere. I find however, that many people have misconceptions because of what they have heard from the experiences of others.

As a physician who has treated many hundreds of patients for over 30 years, I have used many successful techniques, including decompression of the spine. I would like to educate you by providing a little history and by describing in lay terms, clinically proven decompression therapy and the science behind it.

In my experience the benefits of spinal decompression include:

  • Avoiding Spinal Surgery And Use Of Pain Medication Drugs
  • Avoiding Time Consuming And Expensive Physical Therapy Which Is Marginally Effective At Best
  • Reduction Of Sciatic Pain
  • Avoid Hospitalization
  • A Comfortable Way To Reverse Painful Failed Back Syndrome
  • Increased Flexibility And Range Of Motion


In January of l980, as a first year chiropractic student at Palmer College of Chiropractic (Davenport, Iowa), I attended a 2-day extracurricular seminar offered by Dr. James M. Cox, D.C.

Dr. Cox delivered the most fascinating lecture imaginable on the anatomy, physiology and neurology of the lumbar spine. The 50 doctors and students in attendance learned through workshop sessions, in which Dr. Cox taught the correct use of the Cox-McManis Flexion Disc-Traction Table. For years afterwards, I attended every seminar by Dr. Cox, that my formal education schedule would allow.

Once in my own independent practice (June, 1986), I bought a Cox-Mcmanis Flexion Disc-Traction Table. Within 2 years, I had to bring another one into my office, because my patients with compression issues, disc problems, sciatic and serious low back pain had to wait too long, for the room our Cox Table room to become available. Because the Cox Disc-Traction Method works, I have always experienced great demand for it and still use these same two tables daily, in the care of my patients. For ease of reading, I will hereafter refer to them as Cox Tables.

I must make something very clear at this point.   Drugs and surgery have poor outcomes with regard to low back disorders. They should be only used as a last resort, when all non-invasive possibilities for treatment have been ruled out. I never hesitate to refer patients to orthopedic specialists, when I determine that more diagnostic testing, or that an orthopedic second opinion is called for. However, because I have found that disc-traction methods are so effective clinically, I have seldom needed to refer my patients out, during my many years in practice.

Decompression anatomy starts with the knowledge of what neuroscience calls the “motor unit”. A single “motor unit” of your spine, includes at its center: the disc, the bony vertebrae (above and below the disc), the spinal cord housed within those vertebrae, and the nerves that exit the spinal cord through notches in the vertebrae. If I may add a loose analogy, there is also the “motor oil”, with which your spinal fluids could be compared. Inflammatory response due to injury of the motor unit, arthritic build-up of “spur” formations, misalignment of the spine, etc., often creates the need to include decompression therapy which provides healing nourishment to the “motor unit”, while taking pressure off the nerves which become pinched between the vertebrae.

The disc, vertebrae, spinal cord and nerves of each motor unit in your spine, are literally sitting in fluid. Disc-traction decompression methods create a negative pressure (like a pump) inside the fluid filled motor unit. During decompression therapy, nutrient rich blood, lymphatic fluid and cerebral spinal fluid, are manually pumped in, to circulate throughout the parts of the motor unit. Also important in the healing cycle, is the elimination of accumulated cellular waste. Gentle manual decompression aids the motor unit to naturally rid itself of these toxins. Active motion is how nature intended these fluids to circulate throughout the parts of the motor unit, since there is no direct local blood supply (as with other parts of the body).

Not only does this method of decompression exponentially speed up healing time by bathing the motor unit in cleansing and nourishing fluids, but in cases where an inflamed disc is actually bulging or herniated, the negative pressure (described above), gently and gradually sucks the heart of the disc (nucleus pulposus), back into place at the center of the disc. With the shape and position of the protruding disc restored, inflammation abates. This takes pressure off of the pinched nerve within the bony, vertebral opening where the nerve comes out, giving that compressed nerve an opportunity to heal.

Decompression therapy works. Treatments may be necessary 2 to 3 times per week, for 3 three to 4 weeks. Less frequent, supportive treatments for another 4 to 6 weeks are usually necessary, in order to ensure stability and complete resolution of pain. This may seem excessive, but consider the cost of safe, proven, non-invasive treatments totaling approximately $600 to $1,000. Now, compare those figures to back surgery starting at $15,000. Assuming your deductible is met, you could still have out-of-pocket costs starting at thousands, not hundreds of dollars. With surgery, you also accept the risk of complications and no assurance of a successful outcome, while you put your life on hold for weeks of rehab while you heal. Which do you think is the better choice in deciding to get your life back?

Can everyone with serious sciatic and low back pain benefit from lumbar decompression therapy? Not everyone. However, I find that 90% of the patients I see with serious sciatic and low back pain can experience marked and even permanent relief from pain, allowing a return to productivity and quality of life once thought to be lost.

About the Table:

The Cox Table is designed to be 100% safe. There is literally no contra-indication to its use, if used by a trained practitioner of the Cox Flexion Disc-Traction Method. Understand that physical therapists and the medical profession do not have this technology. The traction you will receive from traditional methods is administered with you on your back, with a harness around your pelvis, around your shoulders, and a cable attached to each harness. A winch literally, pulls your vertebrae by cable tension. This is called “axial unattended traction”. 26 to 50 visits, lasting 40 minutes to 1 hour per session, is what you should expect to see results, which often are mediocre at best. This method is also very expensive.

I use the Cox Flexion Disc-traction Method because, rather than a motionless stretching, I use movement , employing normal ranges of motion of the human spine. This method is very safe, because rather than putting the patient on an unattended motorized machine, the physician is the source of the movement .   With my hands in contact with the back muscles of my patients, I can literally feel how much disc-traction should be applied, how long to apply it, and even when restriction releases and tension begin to soften.

The table is in two parts, hinged in the middle, and has strong springs to aid in controlling the specific pressure needed to decompress the spine. The patient lies face down and the table bends in the middle. The “universal joint” concept employed by Dr. Cox’s design, allows the physician an opportunity to gently stretch the soft tissue of the patient’s spine, not only in forward flexion and side-to-side motion, but also in a circular motion known as circumduction. Again, all movement is within natural ranges of motion of the human spine.

In contrast to other methods (described above), this is “attended” traction, where the physician has one hand in contact with the muscles of the motor unit(s), while the other hand manually manipulates the lower half of the table with calculated trajectory and pressure. In addition to this therapeutic hands-on assistance, the gentle motion based traction allows the spine to benefit from its naturally endowed rejuvenation processes. Motion is the key to rapid recovery, because motion is what the spine needs for rehabilitation and to maintain a healthy state.

For over 30 years, I have utilized the Cox Flexion Disc-traction Table daily in my office. Through the use of this method of decompression, hundreds of my patients have been saved from having to undergo risky back surgery.

If you have been diagnosed with bulging or herniated discs, and suffer from sciatic and/or low back pain, call Alternative Health Solutions at 248-855-8707. Take your life back – make the call today.

About the Author:

Dr. James Perkins, D.C., N.D. is the Clinical Director of Alternative Health Solutions, which is comprised of a team of multi-disciplinary natural health care professionals, providing holistic rehabilitative support to patients who seek relief from disc problems, sciatic and low back pain.

In addition to chiropractic spinal decompression therapy, Dr. Perkins and our practitioners utilize acupuncture, trauma release techniques, structural integration, and therapeutic massage techniques.  For pain and various disorders which are associated with emotions and a stressful lifestyle, energetically based techniques, including acupuncture and reiki are used.

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