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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Testimonials

  • "Dear Dr. Zabawa,
    I want to thank you for being my #1 healthcare provider.
    I have been under chiropractic care for 40 years and of the many chiropractors I have been treated by,
    you and your precise atlas adjustment are the best.
    It really is gentle and effective. I've had migraines, scoliosis, herniated L4-L5, and sciatica -
    and in the 11 yrs of being under your care I have had no problems or re-occurrence of any
    of my former symptoms.
    You are the best and I thank you."
    Judy B.
  • "Hi, I'll always remember the wonderful things you've done for me at Atlas Chiropractic of Sarasota.
    I thank Dr. Zabawa for getting me up and running!
    My last chiropractor said there was nothing else they could do for me, and I felt as if my life was over.
    (I couldn't even play video games without pain.)
    Now that I've been introduced to your atlas adjustments: I'm lifting weights again, working (making money),
    and yes - even playing video games. Wow!
    THANK YOU!!!!!"
    Lyle H.
  • "We've had 40 years of various types of chiropractic therapies (sometimes weekly),
    but have never felt truly aligned until now."
    Marsha & Alain M.
  • "I was diagnosed with scoliosis as a child, and through good habits & care have managed to avoid surgery.
    About 30 years ago my research into spinal maintenance led me to upper cervical chiropractic
    (specifically orthospinology) over general chiropractic.
    This is just phenomenal. When my atlas is adjusted and my spine is aligned, it is amazing how good I feel.
    It helps the nerves and muscles of the body function so well, and I believe it has been the key to slowing
    the spinal degeneration caused by my scoliosis.
    * And it's so non-invasive! *
    Now that I live in Sarasota, I am so glad to be under the care of Dr. Zabawa.
    It's no surprise that he came highly recommended. I have always been impressed with
    the professionalism and care I've received at Atlas Chiropractic of Sarasota.
    It compares to anywhere in the country."
    Kyle Ann M.
  • "Very thorough. Quick recovery after a car wreck!"
    Nathaniel B.
  • "For 3 years I had been having headaches every day.
    I even went to a neurologist for my headaches, but he said they were a condition of menopause :(
    A friend suggested going to Dr. Z because of the unique procedure he uses and the great results.
    Dr. Z took care of me and within about 3 months my daily headaches were gone.
    What a relief!
    I don't think I've had one since :)"
    Allaesia M.
  • "I lived in pain with an undiagnosed broken back for 23 years since a horse & buggy accident as a teenager.
    When I injured my back again as an adult, the x-rays showed that I had fractured a vertebra back then,
    as well as this time.
    I received some help from going to regular chiropractors in recent years, but still lived in pain.
    I am so thankful that I found Dr. Zabawa.
    After 35 years and lots of pain, within a month or so
    I was PAIN FREE!
    It is amazing how such small adjustments to the atlas vertebra in my neck have made such
    a big difference to my life.
    To this day, I come in periodically to maintain my new found health.
    Praise and glory to God."
    Mary T.