Finding Relief for Back Pain
Lower back pain is a common condition, most commonly caused by discogenic back pain, which is a degenerative condition. The term “discogenic pain’’ means that one or more intervertebral discs are the pain source. The symptoms of discogenic back pain include local pain and stiffness.
Originally it may come and go. Each time it returns, the individual may see a gradual increase in intensity, or the pain may last longer. In advanced stages, it may result in referral pain into the arms or legs along with weakness, tingling or numbness into the upper or lower extremities.
Our bodies undergo many changes as we age. There is typically a gradual change in the spinal structures, notably involving the intervertebral disc. Discogenic pain is usually associated with activities that increase the pressure within the intervertebral disc. These activities include sitting, bending forward, coughing and sneezing, which usually increases back pain. Leg or arm pain is often caused by pinching of the nerves in the neck or lower back.
How can discs cause pain? Discs are comprised of two parts: the out layers, called the annulus fibrosis, and a centrally located gel- like structure called the nucleus pulpous. Each intervertebral disc has a nerve supply in the outer third layer of the annulus fibrosis.
One of the most common causes for discogenic pain occurs when the disc tears or cracks due to its degenerative changes, allowing the nucleus pulpous to move out from the center into the weakened annulus fibrosis. This allows a chemical to be released, which irritates the annular nerves, and can cause pain. This condition is best visualized on an MRI.
At the Back Pain Insitute of Fort Myers, we use a treatment technique called the VAX- D, which is a table- like device that applies a distractive force to the lumbar or cervical spine. The procedure is controlled via computer technology, which is designed to avoid stimulation of the proprioceptors that can cause muscle guarding. This device was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1989 for treatment of herniated and degenerative disc disease and radicular pain.
In 2005, a landmark study confirmed that the VAX- D therapy is one of the most effective treatments for chronic lower back pain. This study was sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. It demonstrated that the VAX- D treatment was 88.8 percent successful on more than 430 patients who were observed. The patients selected for the study had failed at least two previous non- surgical treatments. This information was provided by VAX- D leading expert Dr. John Hapka, D. C., of the Back Pain Institute of Fort Myers, Inc. To learn more about the VAX- D treatment, call 239- 936- 2225 or visit backpainswfl. com.
VAX- D works by alternately stretching and relaxing the lower spine, thereby relieving pressure on structures in the back ( the “cushion” discs and vertebral bones) that cause lower back pain. Dr. John Hapka is a leading VAX- D expert.