Expert Commentary: Dr. Peter Ferraro, D.C. April 24, 2009

Posted by Admin on April 24, 2009

Back pain may be the leading debilitating ailment in the United States. maybe the world. And with a problem of such proportions, there is a great deal of money to be made. Tens of thousands of patients every year undergo traumatic and expensive back surgery to repair herniated discs.

The rub is this. More and more research is showing that surgery often has no better results than less invasive procedures. Other research is demonstrating promising results in other forms of therapy, such as injecting oxygen ozone.

However, we, in the chiropractic field, live by the old adage "do no harm". To me that means that all therapies should begin with the least invasive, most gentle approach possible. Don't get me wrong. There is a time and place for aggressive approaches to back pain, such as surgery. But in my opinion it should never be used until all the other options have been tried - no matter what the surgeon says. After all, the surgeon's bread is buttered on only one side of the equation - and that may prejudice even the best of intentions.

In our field of chiropractic care, the breakthrough technology is called spinal decompression. In cases of herniated discs, a patient lies or sits on a spinal decompression machine. Using computed guided technology, the machine gently pulls the spine, elongating it at precise angles and traction. The gentle pressure separates the damaged vertebrae which creates a vacuum allowing the retraction of the protective jelly-like material that extrudes from the space between the discs. (In a herniated disc, the jelly-like substance that cushions the vertebrae is pushed out like jam from jelly-donut and the vertebrae rub against each other.)  The vacuum also pulls blood back into the space aiding the disc to heal naturally.

It is a simple and completely non-invasive solution and in most cases it works. The vast majority of my patients find relief in just a few sessions. Sometime patients can return to a full and active life within a few weeks. All of this without surgery, or other invasive procedures, such as injections.

Even insurance companies are beginning to see the light. Since spinal decompression is a lot less expensive than surgery (and in most cases equally if not more effective), many insurers are now willing to cover the treatment. At long last, the insurance companies are beginning to understand that good medicine is usually cheaper medicine.


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