Getting Rid of That Aching Back.
Avoiding the Knife
Candidates for VAX-D include those with herniated discs,
degenerated discs, and sciatica, among others. More than 1,000 patients are
treated with VAX-D therapy each month, according to the VAX-D Network, a group
that promotes the treatment, which is available in 26 states.
Treatment usually consists of 20 daily sessions that last about
30 minutes each. Patients lie fully dressed on the table on their bellies with
a pelvic harness strapped around their hips. Tension is applied through the
harness as the table, which is divided into two sections, moves apart. The
therapy is administered through a computerized system that applies tension
followed by periods of rest. Handgrips held with elbows straight allow the
patient to release the tension at any point.
"This gives the patient a lot of peace of mind because if
they have any concerns, simply letting go stops the forces of traction,"
Each VAX-D session costs about $150. After therapy has been
completed, Naguszewski still recommends lifting no more than 50 pounds and
avoiding repetitive bending, stooping, or crawling for several weeks.
Taylor says he started to feel some relief after about 40
sessions and six weeks of therapy. The numbness in his foot and thigh has
disappeared. He doesn't water ski anymore, which started his back pain in the
first place, and still receives treatments once a week. But he does swim, walk,
ride his Harley, and can work 70-hour weeks.
"I live a normal, active life. We go to the movies. We go to parties. We
got to restaurants and drive all over the country. Other than not being able to
engage in active or high-impact sports, I live a full life," he says.
"Without VAX-D, I don't know where I'd be. I would probably
have a bunch of steel in my spine and probably be stuck in bed someplace. I was
headed there real fast."