Low Back Pain —
A Creative Approach for Resolution
VAX-D — Vertebral Axial Decompression
The computerized system runs through approximately 15 cycles of gentle decompression/relaxation sequences.
Anyone who has or is suffering with a low back problem knows first hand how disabling the pain can be. It quickly alters one's life style by disrupting daily activities. As the pain pattern lingers, it wears you down by disrupting sleep making one irritable and unable to concentrate. Working productivity diminishes, social life quickly fades as well as participation in sports and other areas of interest. Life becomes a real chore specially when there is no relief in sight.
As a practicing dentist, I had just such an experience. My first severe episode of low back pain occurred in December of 2001. A demanding game of racquetball physically set me up to trigger my disc problem. The day following my vigorous game I moved nine boxes of printed forms at my office. In retrospect this was the straw that literally broke my back. All hell broke loose the next day when I could not even bend down to put my sockets on. The pain was so bad I thought I was going to die. This was the beginning of my educational journey.
I quickly made an appointment with my chiropractor, who had helped me in the past with back problems. However, after two weeks of treatment I was not progressing as I had with past episodes. On a recommendation from a friend, I sought treatment with her chiropractor, who employed a different type of therapy from what I had received. Unfortunately this too was to no avail. I then made an appointment with a patient of mine, who was an osteopath in Manhattan. Although some relief was obtained, I knew I needed something else but in reality did not know exactly the correct approach that would solve my problem. Taking my problem to the next level, I sought evaluation by the head of manipulative medicine at a local osteopathic college. After his examination, he confirmed my problem to be a herniated disc at L3-4 level. Although additional relief was provided, I still was plagued by the low back pain and out of desperation I had to resort to taking Valium in order to fall asleep.
One good thing gleaned from my treatment experience at the osteopathic college was the statement made by my treating physician. He stated flat out (based on clinical experience and information in the professional literature) that patients who under went back surgery were no better off five years after the surgery than those patients who received conservative treatment. This convinced me that no one was going to put cold steel to my spine.
I believe that nothing happens by accident. On Good Friday, I was talking to my webmaster and happened to mention my back problem. He quickly stated that he did some work for one of his chiropractic clients who had state-of-the art technology that had been very successful with low back pain. After getting his telephone number, I quickly called to learn more information.
Doctor Cammarata briefly explained to me the concept of his technology. He stated that the big advantage of using the VAX-D (Vertebral Axial Decompression) machine was that it was a non-invasive treatment for bulged discs, herniated discs and degenerative disc disease. He stated that the VAX-D is designed to achieve decompression of the intervertebral disc. This was achieved by a computerized table with a pelvic harness that gently applied decompression to the lower spine, which would allow the herniated disc to be "sucked" back into position. At this point, what he had to say made more sense then any thing I had heard in the past. He also told me that the VAX-D was safe and effective without any of the risks associated with surgery, anesthesia or steroid injections.
Being in pain and desperate for relief, I went over that day to start treatment. After four sessions, my pain level was dramatically reduced. To be maximally effective one must commit to twenty treatment sessions. Also of tremendous benefit is taking specific nutrients to aid in the healing process.
Specifically I took the following items:
Ligaplex II -- supplies nutrients (vitamins A,C, E and minerals) to support repair and strengthen the ligaments and muscles. Dosage 2 capsules 3x per day between meals.
Cataplex ACP -- This formula provides vitamins A, C and bioflavonoids, which together act as an anti-inflammatory agent. Dosage 2 tablets 3x per day between meals.
Pain Guard Forte -- This formula provides quercetin, magnesium, OPC 85+ and vegetable fiber. Dosage: 4 to 16 per day between meals.
Platinum Plus -- This amino acid combination provides the building blocks for disc repair. Dosage 2 capsules 3x per day between meals.
Glucosamine Synergy -- This formula provides the essential nutrients to repair the disc and support the body during the healing crises. Dosage: one capsule 3x per day between meals.
In addition to taking these essential supplements, one must avoid certain foods, which will aggravate the pain and swelling. These general type foods are as follows:
- Sugar in all forms
- White bread (refined carbohydrates: pastas, cakes, etc.)
- Tropical fruit
- Soft drinks
- Dairy - specially cheese
- Night shade vegetables (white potato, eggplant, green peppers and tomato)
- Fried foods
As an active 59 year-old dentist, healing for me was not instantaneous. I stopped practicing for two weeks to reduce trauma to my low back and maximize healing of the soft tissues. One must also use caution and prudence. I stopped playing racquetball for nine months as well as stopped riding my bike for six months. I also sought a good sports medicine physical therapist who taught me the appropriate daily exercises to strengthen the weakened muscles and help break the existing muscles that were in spasm. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of taking an active part in your healing process.
After six months, I resumed cycling taking it slowly so as not to re-injure myself. In June of 2003, I completed a 60 mile ride for Cancer that is sponsored each year to raise funds. After nine months, I resumed playing racquetball. Again slowly at first until my muscles were strong enough to handle a vigorous game.
I recently had a slight set back as a result of vigorous cycling (back to back 60 mile weekends and a vigorous racquetball game) coupled with a stressful day at work. Bending and twisting every day eventually takes its toll. To help alleviate this component, I have reduced my workweek to 3.5 days. But more importantly I now had the knowledge to immediately seek out the most appropriate treatment. After just two VAX-D treatments my constant pain was changed to less frequent and intermittent and my pain level reduced by fifty percent. It is my belief that with six VAX-D treatments and six weeks of rest I will be fully recovered.
There will always be some controversy as to the appropriateness of newer technologies for the treatment of chronic pain. Most health care practitioners unfortunately are slow to change. The many traditional procedures presently being utilized in the management of spinal pain and disability frequently focus treatment in an episodic manner with such modalities as medications for pain and inflammation, heat and cold, appropriate exercises, manipulation, physical therapy, bed rest, acupuncture, TENS, steroid injections and others. Despite these treatments, many patients have less then satisfactory results in the management of their chronic pain and despite the overwhelming statistics on the magnitude of the problem, the number of cases continues to grow. By sharing my own experience with low back pain, it is my intent to educate those suffering similar type issues with an alternative approach to help resolve their pain problem.