High intradiscal pressures cause discs to bulge out and press painfully on nerve roots.  They also make for a compressed, anaerobic environment unsuitable for healing.  Decompression produces negative pressures within the disc which experts believe creates a vacuum effect that draws in nutrients and fluids to promote the repair of injured discs and surrounding tissues.  This vacuum has also been shown to aid in the retraction of escaped cushioning gel from herniated discs.

When Negative is a Positive

Much like gauging the air pressure in a car tire, scientists have been able to use pressure sensors to measure the various pressures put on spinal discs while lifting, standing, sitting, lying down, undergoing tractions, and during VAX-D therapy.  Like other pressures found in the body such as blood pressure, intradiscal pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

While traction, physical therapy, and manipulation may reduce disc pressures to as low as 40 mm Hg, only VAX-D has been shown to achieve negative disc pressure.  Clinical studies have shown that negative pressures as low as -160 mm Hg are created within the injured disc during VAX-D therapy!

Traction Is Not Decompression

With traction, weights are added one by one to the end of the traction bed which, in turn, adds tension to a harness secured around the patient’s pelvis, lengthening the spine.  The intention is to relieve pressure, but the linear force of traction can produce spasming which may lead to greater injury.  Studies confirm that the benefits of traction come from simply immobilizing the spine.  In fact, the Quebec Task Force ruled in 1996 that traction was not an effective treatment for chronic herniated discs.  The results are not long-lasting and cannot produce negative disc pressure.  Like traction, VAX-D also lengthens and adds tension to the spine, but it is VAX-D’s patented method that produces vastly superior results.

The Logarithmic Difference

Normally, pulls exerted on the spine trigger sensory receptors in the back to tighten the muscles surrounding the vertebrae and discs in an effort to protect them from injury—a mechanism in the body known as the proprioceptor response.  VAX-D therapy is able to detect, then bypass this response through a motion-controlled biofeedback system.  Now that the body is “tricked” into thinking the spine is not under tension, the stabilizing muscles of the back can relax completely.  With the body’s natural protective mechanism at bay, VAX-D can administer tension without causing injury.

The Key to Decompression

VAX-D achieves decompression through an intricately timed series of pulls, holds, and releases. During a single treatment—which may last up to 45 minutes—moves along the logarithmic curve (shown right), slowly ramping up, holding, then decreasing.  VAX-D’s biofeedback system adjusts this curve of tension specifically to each patient’s needs, making every session truly individualized.

VAX-D involves three phases that repeat up to 15 times throughout a session—the Decompression Phase, the Retraction Phase, and the Rest Phase.  During the Decompression Phase, tension slowly mounts, lengthening the spine.  Up to 99 pounds of tension may be exerted upon discs, dropping spinal pressures and allowing decompression to occur.  During the Retraction Phase, tension decreases and the spine is retracted.  This is followed by a short Rest Phase.

Before VAX-D:

In the illustrated lumbar spine below, vertical orange arrows show how compressive forces during injury can cause a disc (red) to herniate, allowing the inner disc material (blue) to bulge outward (small red arrows).  Disc height decreases.

During VAX-D:

The illustration below depicts the lumbar spine as it would be situated in an individual lying face down, undergoing VAX-D therapy.  Horizontal blue arrows represent spinal lengthening and reduction of external pressures.  Green arrows demonstrate the flow of nutrients, oxygen, and fluids into the disc.  Extruded disc material is re-positioned and pressure on spinal nerves is reduced.  Disc height increases.