Health­care Pros

Find­ing Re­lief for Back Pain

RSWLiving - - Department­s - BY DR. J OHN HAPKA

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.

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