1) What can I expect:
On your first visit a complete history and examination will be performed to identify which tissues are causing your pain (primary pain generators) and what movement patterns or individual weaknesses are contributing to your problem. This may include specific spinal strength testing depending on how severe your symptoms are. This allows us to determine which treatment is right for your particular condition.
2) How does muscle weakness in my back cause pain?
Muscles cause movement across a joint and stabilize those joints during movement. You must have the strength to not only perform your normal activities of daily living and demands of employment but the endurance to be able to perform them throughout the day. When weakness develops in the spinal muscles there is a breakdown in this ability. We then develop improper movement patterns and a loss of stabilization of the spine. Other muscles take over to compensate for this weakness which allows you to continue to perform your normal activities but performing those normal activities will overload this weak area and cause pain. This may manifest anywhere from pain with activity to a loss of the ability to perform normal activities of daily living. To help you withstand these stresses and strains placed on the body on a daily basis you need to have optimal strength in the spinal musculature. During one of your first few visits we will usually test your spinal strength to determine how weak your muscles are compared to age-matched norms (other men or women your age and weight). We can then predict not only if you are going to respond to our treatment but how long it will take to return you to your normal strength. Once we return you to your normal strength your spine should be able to withstand the stresses and strains placed on it by your daily activities and demands of employment.
3) I’ve tried physical therapy before and it didn’t work for me. Why is this going to be any different?
We have specialized testing and rehabilitation equipment called MedX which isolates the deep intrinsic muscles of the spine and tests them individually. Because of the elaborate patented restraint system we are able to eliminate recruitment of other muscles that may assist the test or exercise which allows us to isolate the weakness and rehabilitate it specifically. Based on the test we are able to start you with enough weight to cause growth of the muscle but not enough to overload the spine and cause pain. This allows us to be more aggressive with the rehabilitation without increasing the pain. We always test and exercise through a pain free motion and because of this isolation we are able to have success where other clinics don’t.
4) How long does physical therapy take?
A usual visit will take ½ to 1 ½ hours depending on the severity or complexity of your case and your individualized treatment program. We know your time is as important as ours so we will schedule your appointments to help avoid any waiting.
5) How long before I see progress?
Because we are able to isolate the functional strength deficit that is usually causing your neck or back pain and are able to exercise it specifically you should note a difference after the first few visits. People frequently note a significant difference after the first visit.
6) When can I start exercises?
People with chronic pain can oftentimes start following the initial examination. Those who have been involved in an injury such as a car accident or work injury may need to wait 30 days before beginning the MedX rehabilitation to allow healing of the damaged tissues but are often given mild mobility exercises within the first few weeks following injury.
7) How long does it take for the total rehabilitation program?
The length of treatment often depends on the severity of the injury and how long it has lasted. Research has shown that 6-10 weeks is a typical length of rehabilitation. Research has also shown that the strength you develop using the MedX is maintained by normal activities. This means in general you DO NOT have to keep using the MedX after your rehabilitation.
8) Why can’t I exercise at home or the gym?
Home exercises or exercising equipment at the gym are helpful but cannot isolate the deep extensor muscles that are usually the culprit when it comes to chronic neck or back pain. MedX testing and rehabilitation machines are the only machines that will isolate the spinal muscles in the neck and back while eliminating the ability for you to recruit other muscles to assist the test or exercise.
9) How does MedX work?
MedX works by isolating the spinal muscles in both the neck and back through an elaborate restraint system which allows testing of the weakest areas of the spine and exercising of those weak muscles specifically without allowing you the ability to recruit other muscles to assist either the test or exercise.
10) What makes MedX so much more effective compared to the usual ball exercises?
It simply isolates the muscles of the back and neck through an elaborate restraint system which allows testing of the weakest area of the spine and then compares that to other men or women your age or weight. We are then able begin the rehab with enough weight to cause growth of the muscle but not enough to overload the spine and cause pain. Because we are exercising the weak link specifically, we are able to be more aggressive with the rehab which allows us to see improvements rapidly. Ball exercise, while appropriate in some cases, is nowhere as effective.
11) If you can compare my strength to someone my own age and weight, how
does that help you know this is going to benefit me?
This allows us to be more effective in predicting outcomes. A 21 year old male is much more active than an 85 year male. If we compared the strength of this 21 year old to the strength of an 85 year old male, even if there was a significant strength deficit, it would still look pretty good. By comparing him to another 21 year old we get a true representation of where his strength is and where it should be compared to other 21 year olds his age and weight. By comparing you to someone your age, weight and gender we are able to more accurately predict your response to our treatment.
12) If someone is in pain are they still able to have a test on MedX?
Yes and no. Someone who is seeing us for chronic neck pain or chronic low back pain would probably be tested on the first visit unless they were in severe pain or there is significant pain with movement. We test through a pain free range of motion and can limit the motion in the cervical spine from 0° to 126° and in the lumbar spine from 0° to 72°. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident or work injury or other injury for that matter we would need to defer the testing until 30 days have elapsed since the injury to allow the tissues to heal.
13) When I’m done w/ treatment will I have better motion in my
back and neck?
Yes. Improving spinal strength decreases muscle spasms and improves mobility.
14) Why don’t more clinics have these machines?
There are a number of factors for this. These machines while being extremely effective for strengthening the spine are extremely expensive and insurance reimbursement is the same whether you exercise on a MedX machine, a ball or the floor. Because of the restraint system you need someone who is highly trained to administer the test and rehabilitation. Finally these take up considerable room and a lot of clinics don’t have the space. Another factor is research education. Many clinicians think they can do as much on a ball as you can on the MedX but this is just not the case and research proves it.
15) If I have a bulging or herniated disc can the MedX help me?
The MedX equipment is specifically designed to isolate low back or neck movement thus helping the patient move in a safe manner and restoring normal movement to the spine which also increases nutrition to the discs. Even if a disc has a bulge or herniation it still responds to movement, which is limited initially and correct movement is essential to restoring disc health.
16) If I’ve had back or neck surgery can MedX help me?
Rehabilitation after back or neck surgery is of utmost importance. Many of the people who have had surgery went through a long period of inactivity and pain before their procedure. They then undergo surgical procedures which can damage soft tissue leading to further deconditioning. Scientific evidence shows that many of the injured muscles will not recover on their own even with normal activities. The MedX is a very safe and effective way to gently start the rehabilitation process and gradually build the injured area back to normal strength levels.