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What is Flexion Distraction Therapy?

Abbreviated (FD) treatment is excellent for decompression of the spine and treatment of spinal disc related injuries. It is also quite effective at mobilization of the lumbar and lower thoracic spine.  The treatment is quite passive on behalf of the patient, they simply need to lay still and relax while the doctor moves the back half of the table, in specific patterns, which vary depending on the area of treatment.

The lumbar portion of the table moves both up and down, side to side as well as circumferentially.  This movement is controlled by the doctor, and constant communication is maintained with the patient, to avoid any uncomfortable movement.

Benefits of Flexion Distraction Therapy

Flexion Distraction Therapy is an excellent treatment for creating movement in patients who cannot move well themselves.  This is used both for patients who are remarkably deconditioned, and/or in too much pain to move. The most common of these is the latter, patients who are in too much pain, and this is typical of acute disc herniations.  Flexion Distraction therapy offers a very useful tool to create a gentle force through the spine, which has been documented to pull the vertebral disc back toward the center, where it is supposed to sit.

Throughout the course of Flexion Distraction treatment, it is quite often documented that a patient with a posterior disc herniation (discs that have moved toward the spine) exhibits centralizing symptoms, with high incidence of resolution.  What this means is, pain that is felt further down the extremity will slowly “raise” back up the limb until it is “centralized” back into the lower back.  Further treatment may completely resolve the pain.  In other words, those patients with posterior disc herniation often benefit from this type of therapy.

Who Can Benefit from Flexion Distraction Therapy?

Posterior disc herniations are not the only cases that benefit from this type of care.  The tables we have at Herrington Family Chiropractic also have a section in the center of them that can be dropped down.  This extra space is excellent at treating mid to late term pregnant patients, as well as anyone who has some extra “fluff” around the midsection. (enough to make it uncomfortable to lay face down).

Beyond table accommodations, Flexion Distraction therapy is amazing at stretching the stubborn muscles in the low back between the ribs and pelvis.  While it is typical for patients to have tight muscles here without realizing it, it does quickly become apparent to Dr. Herrington during the physical examination.  In this way, Flexion Distraction Therapy may be used as an adjunctive therapy prior to the adjustment, if you typically experience a tight stiff low back.

Contraindications for Flexion Distraction Therapy

This style of treatment is not useful in patients who are in too much pain to move.  While this is not common, it can certainly be possible, especially in cases with severely acute disc herniations.

Beyond the previously mentioned point, the contraindications for Flexion Distraction Therapy follow the same contraindications as Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy; Aneurysmal Abdominal Aorta, remarkably high blood pressure, Rheumatoid Arthritis (specifically rheumatoid nodules in the cervical spine, with cervical adjustments), Down’s syndrome (with cervical adjustments), general hypermobility conditions (such as Ehler’s Danlos syndrome), Advanced sclerotic conditions (such as Ankylosing Spondylitis), fractures, infections, and bone cancer are some of the most common.  

Are you experiencing joint, neck, or back pain? Work with a Buffalo Chiropractor that can help you.

Here at Herrington Family Chiropractic, not only does Dr. Herrington excels at spinal manipulation, but is also highly proficient at soft tissue manipulation. Utilizing techniques such as Myofascial Release Technique (MRT), Graston, Soft Tissue Massage, Ultrasound therapy and Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) to ensure patients can be effectively treated for all their aches and pains.

If you have been living with joint, neck, or back pain, please contact us to schedule your consult.

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