VAX-D vs Traction – Is Vax-D the same as traction?
We are often asked this question and the simple answer is “no”. The following is a well written explanation from Pinhook Chiropractic Clinic in Lousiana
Although traction devices can stretch the lower back, the y have not demonstrated the ability to decompress the lumbar discs and spinal nerves. Traction tables have a small electric wench that attaches to the head of the table. A rope and pulley are then attached to either a cervical device or lumbar belts. Either static or intermittent traction modes can be chosen, but neither have been shown to reduce intradiscal pressure and decompress the discs and nerves.
VAX-D Therapy has been proven as an effective therapy in several separate and distinct clinical settings. In one study, radiological research was carried out in which fluoroscopic videos of patients with a myelogram were recorded while patients were undergoing VAX-D therapy. Distraction of intervertebral lumbar spaces was observed on VAX-D Therapy, and the filling defect of a myelogram from a herniated disc was decreased. Records were obtained showing a myelogram displacement, from a herniated disc at L4-5, change from a convex image of a disc bulge to a concave image, created by decompressing the intradiscal space during VAX-D Therapy.
The greatest amount of intervertebral distraction and subsequent spinal decompression is achieved at the L4-5 and L5-S1 disc space and decreases gradually toward the upper lumbar and lower thoracic levels of the spinal column.
Treatment begins with a VAX-D technician fitting you with a special lumbar belt. Then you lie down on the table and take hold of the handles at the head of the table. The tech then attaches the strap from the lumbar belt to the foot of the table. During a treatment, the bottom half of the VAX-D table gently glides apart from the top half. Because the lumbar belt you are wearing is attached at the bottom, you will feel a very strong but painless force pull on your lower spine. This is the decompression part of the treatment, and it dramatically reduces the pressure inside the center of your injured disc. After sixty seconds, the lower half of the table glides back home again. This allows your lower back to relax for sixty seconds. Then the lower half glides away again and after another sixty seconds of decompression, it returns home for another sixty seconds of relaxation. These alternating cycles of decompression and relaxation continue for thirty to forty five minutes. The patented design of the table allows the patient to let go of the special hand grips at any time during the course of the treatment. This helps the patient to be more relaxed and causes less muscle spasms or guarding during the treatment. If spasms do occur, the tension meter recognizes this and releases pressure until the muscles relax and then it begins to pull again. In situations where the patient is unable to hold onto the hand pads due to shoulder injuries, a special shoulder harness is used to distract the spine.
The key to success of VAX-D treatments, and what makes VAX-D altogether different from traction or the flexion/distraction treatments done by physical therapist and chiropractors, is the extraordinarily low pressure that is created within the injured disc. Normally, even when you are lying down and resting, the pressure within each one of your discs is approximately 75 mm of mercury. Upon standing this pressure can rise to as much as 180 mm of Hg. (“mm” of mercury is simply the way scientists measure the amount of pressure inside the disc.)
During VAX-D, treatments are able to reduce the pressure in the lumbar spine down to levels of –180 mm of mercury, allowing fluids and nutrients to re-enter the disc; reducing swelling and relieving the pressure on pinched nerves. This is a very low pressure. Traction and distraction devices cannot achieve this. This is important because this is what allows the magic of VAX-D to take place.
Intradiscal pressure measurements on patients undergoing VAX-D therapy have shown that the extent of decompression measured in mm of Hg follows an inverse relationship to the tension applied to the pelvic belt during therapy. The amount of decompression generated by the VAX-D table is computer controlled and guided by the use of a tension meter. The technician can also change this by simply changing the working air pressure.
Remember, while there are veins and arteries in the vertebrae around your discs, there is no blood getting from them into the discs. However, the extremely low, negative pressure created within the disc during a VAX-D treatment works like a vacuum, and that vacuum allows three things to happen. First, much of the bulging or herniated material is pulled back into the center of the disc. Second, the torn or ruptured annulus fibers are pulled together and realigned for the first time. Third and just as important, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals are sucked into the disc from the blood supply in the surrounding vertebrae.
This is vital to the healing process, and it’s actually what makes VAX-D such a clinical breakthrough. The disc is nourished, the nucleus pulposus is pulled back to the center of the disc and the bulge is eliminated, the annulus fibers are realigned and heal, and you, the patient, are no longer in pain.