ADVERTISING: Advertorial — DR. WAYNE M. FICHTER: Different approach to back and neck pain

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Neck and back pain can be caused by a variety of reasons, ranging in moderate to severe symptoms. No matter what the cause, it is important to receive the proper care you need so that the problem doesn’t get worse or keep returning. Today, many people are under the impression that neck and back issues can only be treated with surgery. The good news is that is not the case and there are several non-invasive ways to treat neck and back pain without resorting to surgery. One of the best non-invasive treatments today is non-surgical spinal decompression. In my experience, I have found it essential to use various modalities in order to help people heal and get the best possible results based on their condition. When helping individuals with disc conditions, I recommend different modalities of treatment to help alleviate acute pain and improve long-term benefits. This multi-step approach addresses different pieces of the puzzle when someone has a herniated disc, and it often starts with spinal decompression.

Spinal decompression works by gently separating the vertebrae, creating a vacuum which creates negative pressure within the disc. This causes the bulging or herniated disks to retract, thereby reducing the pressure off the nerve root. The negative pressure that is created within the disc is then able to stimulate the flow of water, oxygen and nutrients into the discs, increasing the healing process and helping to rebuild disc height.

Dr. John Leslie, of the Mayo Clinic, conducted research that indicated non-surgical spinal disc therapy to be 88.9% effective, based on a multi-center, non-randomized pilot study. The patients included in the research study had been suffering chronic back pain for an average of 10 years. After two weeks of treatment, they reported a 50% reduction in pain scores. But it is not enough to decompress the spine. We must also include strengthening exercises in the treatment plan.

I must advise that spinal decompression is not for everyone and I perform a thorough spinal examination and review your medical history and imaging reports to make sure that you are a candidate for spinal decompression. Over the years I have found that in some instances, the degeneration and damage is so severe that surgery is the only option. That is why I take the time to discuss your options before beginning any treatment to save you time, money and frustration.

Part of our non-surgical spinal decompression therapy program includes specific exercises that help strengthen the weakened supporting muscles. We must correct imbalances that are putting undue pressure on discs. First, you need to do specific exercises and stretches to return the spine and body to its proper posture. Secondly, you need to have the necessary strength and stability to support your spine. But without the proper nutrients, it’s hard for your body to heal.

Unfortunately for most people, they are not eating a well-balanced diet and their discs are not getting the proper nutrients needed in order to repair themselves. Almost every movement you make puts some type of force on your discs, so if those discs are weak from poor nutrition and dehydration, injury is just around the corner. By recommending a protocol of whole food, nutrition your disc will recover at a faster rate. Another state-of-the-art modality we utilize for the management of neck and low back pain is cold laser therapy. Cold laser therapy provides an extremely effective alternative to medications, without the horrible side effects. Studies show it can regenerate tissue, increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, decrease pain and increase immunity. Increased blood is important. The more blood flow, the more oxygen and nutrients and the faster healing can take place.

Electric stimulation is a more common modality that we use to help reduce pain levels. Muscle spasms often accompany people with neck and back pain. Electrical stimulation has shown to help relieve these spasms. It may also ease pain by causing the brain to release endorphins, which are powerful morphine-like substances that your body produces in response to pain or nerve stimulation.

By providing a treatment plan designed to address your specific condition, I will utilize various methods to address both spinal and soft tissue damage, which will allow for the best results possible. I encourage questions and I will monitor your progress to discuss any concerns along the way.

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Dr. Wayne M. Fichter Jr. is a chiropractor at Natural Spine Solutions. The business is located at 3913 Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene, 208-966-4425.

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