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What is Flexion-Distraction Therapy?

Woman laying on chiropractic table

Could Flexion-Distraction Therapy Help My Pain?

Most of us experience pain in our muscles and joints occasionally. If we're lucky, the uncomfortable symptoms subside after just a few days. For some people, pain becomes a chronic condition that lasts months or years.

Although pain medication can be helpful, it often causes nausea, dizziness and other unpleasant side effects that can make it difficult to drive or keep up with your usual workload. Flexion-distraction therapy, a natural, non-surgical technique offered by your chiropractor, provides an effective, alternative pain relief option.

What Is Flexion-Distraction Therapy?

Flexion-distraction therapy is performed on a segmented table that moves as your chiropractor slowly manipulates your spine. The manipulations, combined with the movements of the table, stretch and decompress your spine, relieving your back, leg, neck, or arm pain.

As your chiropractor performs the gentle manipulations, a section of the treatment table drops or moves, changing the positioning of your body. When your body drops slightly, gravity enhances the effects of treatment and helps realign your spine.

What Are the Benefits of the Treatment?

Flexion-distraction therapy can:

  • Reduce pressure on your spinal nerves and discs
  • Decrease bulging of herniated discs
  • Improve range of motion and mobility
  • Help you manage chronic back pain
  • Relieve stiffness
  • Decrease neck pain and headaches
  • Eliminate or delay the need for surgery in some cases
  • Promote good disc health
  • Relieve pain and numbness in the back, buttocks, arms, and legs
  • Improve posture

In a study published in The Journal of Physical Therapy Science, researchers examined the effects of flexion-distraction manipulation on patients with lumbar spinal stenosis. The condition occurs when the spinal canal narrows and presses against the nerves that serve the lower back and legs, causing pain, weakness, numbness, and cramping.

Study participants who received flexion-distraction manipulation as part of their therapy experienced a greater reduction of their painful symptoms than those patients whose treatment did not include the technique.

Will Flexion-Distraction Help Me?

In addition to improving spinal stenosis symptoms, flexion-distraction can also be used to treat many other types of back pain. It may reduce pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis and improve spinal movement in patients who have scoliosis.

Flexion-distraction therapy can be helpful if you have sacroiliac syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis, sciatica, spondylolisthesis, sprains, and strains. It's also very effective in treating muscle spasms or low back pain unrelated to a specific condition.

The technique is gentle enough to use after spinal surgery and can be an important part of your recovery treatment plan. If you have osteoporosis or another condition that affects your bones, some treatments may be too risky. Luckily, flexion-distraction is gentle enough that it can be a safe therapy option for people who have brittle bones or are frail.

Flexion-distraction therapy may even be helpful in treating knee pain. In a study published in The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, patients who had either acute or chronic knee pain received flexion-distraction therapy for two to three weeks. At the end of the treatment period, the mean pain scale score dropped from 7.7 to 1.8. Patients who suffered from chronic knee pain maintained their results by receiving the therapy once every month.

Are you tired of living in pain? Flexion-distraction therapy may offer the ideal way to relieve your symptoms, whether you've been experiencing pain for a few days or weeks, or you have a chronic condition. Call us to schedule your appointment.

Sources:

NCBI: European Spine Journal: The Global Spine Care Initiative, 9/27/18

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29480409

NCBI: Journal of Physical Therapy Science: Effects of Flexion-Distraction Manipulation Therapy on Pain and Disability in Patients with Lumbar Spinal Stenosis, 6/30/15

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4500015/

Chiropractic Economics: The Extensive Benefits of a Chiropractic Flexion Table, 9/15/16

https://www.chiroeco.com/chiropractic-flexion-distraction-tables/

NCBI The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association: Innovative Application of Cox Flexion Distraction Decompression to the Knee: A Retrospective Case Series

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5596966/

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  • "I have benefitted tremendously from the chiropractic care I received from Dr. Anderson. Not only has the adjustments helped alleviate my stiffness and aches, but it has helped me have more energy and just feel more balanced over all. A few months ago, I was able to resume a favorite hobby of mine: golf. Due to my previous pain, I never thought that’d be possible."
    Back Pain
  • "I was very impressed with the chiropractic care I received from Dr. Anderson. I had received chiropractic in the past for my neck pain, but not to this level of care. After only a few sessions, my symptoms began to disappear, especially my neck pain, and I know I would not have been able to perform to my everyday work functions without the treatment I received."
    Neck Pain
  • "May says, Dr. Luke is the Best Chiropractor Doctor, I have gone to in all my life. Before seeing Dr. Luke, I used to receive massages and I took Advil daily. I had symptoms of lower back pain, headaches, and pain in my abdomen. Dr. Luke and his style of Chiropractic relieved my headaches and lower back pain; Chiropractic has made me feel much better since I started adjustments with Dr. Luke. Event the pain in my abdomen is gone. I never thought another Chiropractor would be beneficial but I found out that Dr. Luke is the Best that there is. He does make a huge difference and would recommend Dr. Luke to everyone. Thank You, Dr. Luke!"
    May & Zen Abe
  • "I am a professional landscaper constantly using my back and body my work is very physical. With severe back pain especially in my lower back area. I would tell anyone the importance of proper alignment, which leads to a good physical body. Your body needs correction and you must take the steps to correct your problem. Whoever hesitates to correct the body's misalignment will lead to malfunctioning and a crippled body. Dr. Luke adjusted my body to have correct alignment. I'm back to work and good to go. Mahalo, Dr. Luke!"
    Edward Chang
  • "I used to get adjusted every couple of months thinking that was all my body really needed. Since I have come to Dr. Luke I have had my back, neck and elbows adjusted. I no longer have headaches or migraines. Awesome environment as well!"
    Brittany Feiteira
  • "Awesome!!! Helped both my husband and I. First it was my husband- his shoulder would lock up and was stiff and painful. 1st treatment with Cold Therapy/adjustments his shoulder unlocked!!! no more pain or stiffness.
    Then recently I injured my knee, I was on pain medicine and told by my doctor I would need surgery to fix this. I ended up in Dr. Luke's office and have already felt tremendous relief. I mustered up the courage and one day got my back and neck adjusted as well. OMG!!! I am truly enjoying my smooth turning neck and less lower back stiffness due to the adjustments, Don’t be scared just do it !!! And feel great.
    Both my husband n I continue our visits with Dr. Luke . We enjoy the easy going atmosphere . Dr.Luke will teach you how to care for your specific condition . Come and check it out !!! You will be amazed and most happy that you did.."
    Derrick & Lisa Tanabe