Want To Try A Non-Invasive Technique For Your Low Back Pain? Try Flexion-Distraction

Flexion-Distraction is a technique used only by chiropractors that can decrease the symptoms of low back pain and even
pain that goes down the leg. Most patient’s feel an immediate relief with their low back pain and leg pain with this
technique. Some additional benefits for Flexion-Distraction include: reduced pressure on the spinal nerves/intervertebral
discs, improved range of motion, help manage chronic back pain, etc. Your chiropractor will apply gentle pressure onto your low back in segments while the lower half of the table moves up and down to relieve tension in the muscles and decompress the spine.

As a student doctor, I have been fortunate enough to treat various patient’s with this technique and have seen astonishing
results. To give an anecdote, I had a patient that was experiencing pain that was starting in their low back and all the way
down the left side of their lower extremities. They had been experiencing the pain for nearly a year with the pain being on
and off. The pain was so aggravating that it began to effect their sleep. Nothing was making the pain go away and would
take them nearly 15-20 seconds to get in an upright position from a seated position. Following 2-3 visits of using Flexion-
Distraction, they jumped off the table because they have not felt that good in years and stood up in an upright position
without any trouble/pain.

Another painful condition that often shows up in the chiropractic office is sciatica. The term "sciatica" gets thrown around a lot when it comes to leg pain. Sciatica is termed as pressure on the sciatic nerve causing radiating symptoms such as numbness/tingling and possibly weakness usually starting at the low back/buttock region down to the lower extremity and sometimes the foot. Flexion-Distraction can help open up the canal spaces for the sciatic nerve to have less compressive forces pinching the nerve and causing those symptoms.

A bulging disc, or what you may have heard called a “slipped disc”, can also cause pain down the back of the leg.  I find people are often unsure of what is actually causing their pain or what to do to fix it.  The disc consists of a hard outer ring called the annulus fibrosus. The inner material, the nucleus pulposus, is a gel like substance composed of water, type II collagen, and proteins. When you have a slipped disc it is primarily caused by a weakening or tearing of the annulus fibers in the outer ring of the disc taking up valuable space for the nearby spinal cord and spinal nerves.  In many cases a lumbar disc injury can also be safely managed by using Flexion-Distraction.

At this point you may be wondering if this is similar to spinal decompression or and inversion table. Both of those techniques are quite different than Flexion-Distraction. Flexion-Distraction is more of a hands on technique that manipulates the spine while the patient is moved into a flexed position.  There is a traction (or distraction) of the spine occurring while the doctor is applying upward pressure that opens up the canal space for the spinal
nerves . Spinal decompression braces the patient while they are laying in a face up position, and creates a stretch of the spine similar to an accordion to relieve pressure on the lumbar disc space. This is similar to the effects of an inversion table except gravity does more of the work to distract the patient. I have been fortunate enough to try all three of these treatments, I have found the most relief from Flexion-Distraction technique. 

At Triad Sports & Family Chiropractic we use Flexion-Distraction with many patients in the office. If you are having any symptoms related to sciatica, slipped discs, or general low back tightness. Come on in and ask us more about it and give this technique a try. This article was written by Student Intern, Darren Lam, a August 2023 graduate of Logan University College of Chiropractic.

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