Tag Archives: Spinal Decompression

Spinal Decompression Treatment; 6 Months Later

I got asked a very legitimate question a little while ago regarding if I thought my spinal decompression treatment was worth it. Given that I’m still having issues with my back, *I* consider it a reasonable question anyway. 🙂

The very short answer is YES.

The detailed answer, with all the wheres and whys takes a little explaining however.

First, let me start with the obvious caveat that lawyers have none the less made mandatory anymore; your medical professional is the best person to advise you if ANY form of treatment is suitable for you Specifically.

Likewise everything I’m going to write here comes from a layperson. A moderately well read layperson who has put the advice given to personal use and seen benefits, but I am NOT a licensed health care professional in any form. Everybody’s physiology and biochemistry is a bit different too, so results may vary.

A Little Background:

Yes, I am still having troubles, but they’re largely focused on my lower back at this point. The area that I had decompression on was my neck or cervical spine area.

My neck was worse off, which is why the doctor decided to try it first. The degeneration there caused all manner of problems. I had sleep issues, severe headaches that were a mix of extreme tension headaches and migraines, brain fog and trouble focusing, and probably a dozen other issues, including a Parkinson’s-like tremor in my left arm. All that from pinched nerves in my neck caused by the spinal degeneration. My neck was at stage 3 spinal degeneration per the diagram below.

My lower back / lumbar region, on the other hand was at phase 2.

I had the headaches since the mid 1990s also. Since there was no real neck pain to accompany them and the other symptoms, I had NO idea for years that it was actually a spinal issue. Flair ups were bad enough and I was scared enough of addiction to opioid pain killers that I was taking 8 extra strength Advil pills at a time. If I didn’t have a constitution like Charlie Sheen’s, I probably would not have a stomach or liver left at this point. DO NOT do what I did there.

The real breakthrough came about 9 or 10 years ago. I was sitting at the PC, suffering through another severe headache when I heard something on the balcony of our apartment (probably just a bird or the neighbor’s cat). I turned my head to the left, and my neck popped so loud it sounded like a gunshot going off. My pain almost instantly went from an 11 on a 1 to 10 scale down to a 2, and a zero within minutes.

Over the following years, we tried multiple treatment options. Chiropractic treatment was variable. My first chiropractor actually tore a disc in my neck! The one after that was much better, but could only hold the situation at bay pain-wise. Acupuncture did wonders for the pain itself but nothing to fix the actual degeneration either.

By the time I was considering the spinal decompression, my MRI scans showed I was getting close to the point of either surgery or letting the bones fuse themselves together.

Side Note: You can see that process in the diagram above. it’s the body’s answer to protecting itself when it can’t actually heal the compressed disc(s) on it’s own. The vertebrae will literally grow out towards each other and try to fuse together.

Surgery, as I pointed out in previous posts, is expensive and has a very high fail rate over time. Decompression is $4000 vs anywhere from $100,000 and frequently more for surgery that fails regularly, and typically transfers the strain to other parts of the spine. I also saw enough benefit from the earlier alternative medicine that I had legitimate reason to believe decompression could work.

So, LONG story short, I was in nearly 25 year, long-term bad shape and out of options when I tried decompression. It still helped me.

I’ve never told that whole story in 3+ years of time here because I try to avoid personal drama online. It’s toxic and it focuses on the problem instead of moving forward. In this case though, it’s important to understand how bad off I was before treatment.

The Right Doctor Makes All the Difference:

The reason the lower back pain is still there and there are a few minor ongoing neck issues is that I chose the wrong doctor. He was very hands-off, letting his office staff run the computerized automatic decompression table, didn’t communicate well, etc…

We also got off on the wrong foot when we did my initial test treatment to see how I’d respond. The treatment did OK for my neck but he refused to look at my lower back that day, and sent me home in so much lower back pain that I could barely get in and out of the Mustang. I verbally lit him up when I showed up for the next treatment and told him if he did that again, I’d cancel treatments, get a refund for the balance and trash him on every review site I could find.

I didn’t have a treatment problem after that, but needless to say, we were politely cold to each other from then on. My original neck treatment pack was 24 treatments with a review of progress at that point and possible continuation for the full normal package of 36 (12 extra treatments).

He also just gave me the vibe of somebody more interested in dollars than patient well-being, but that is only a personal opinion.

So second long story short, assuming you have options in choice, is to find a doctor you feel comfortable with, will answer questions, and gives the vibe of caring as opposed to wishing you’d hurry up so they can be off to something else. In the case of the greater Nashville area, I had at least 4 other clinics I could have looked into beyond the local one.

My actual progress, combined with my dislike of the doctor meant I never even went back in for the re-evaluation or possible lower back treatment.

The Process Will NOT Be Fun, At First

I wrote about this in my earlier posts. I had quite a bit of subdermal scar tissue along my spine at the neck. Normally this kind of scar tissue only forms as a result of surgery and other “invasive” incidents or procedures. It DOES happen otherwise though, and the longer term your injury is, the more likely the scar tissue is there, or at least fibrous tissue that VERY closely resembles surface scar tissue. In the case of spine problems, the tissue will or may form to try to protect and reinforce the area around a damaged or compressed disc.

Even if you don’t have any subdermal ‘scar’ tissue, keep in mind that you’re still stretching muscles, tissue, etc… that have been constricted and tight for a while. Discs will try to expand to their natural shape also, and nerves will shift. It’s all going to hurt.

With all the scar tissue that broke loose in my neck, I was miserable for the first week. I lived with a cold pack on my neck. I could feel the difference in the type of pain though, and a reduction in the secondary issues I was dealing with. No brain fog, muscle ache pain vs severe migraine pain, etc… The cold packs really did help also and are important for fighting inflammation caused by the treatment.

About half way through the treatments, the pain was minimal, and I was “Hell yeah! let’s keep the ball rolling!”. By treatment 24, my neck felt like it did when I was 20.

Post-Treatment Makes ALL the Difference:

If you want to make sure you get your money’s worth out of treatment, doing the right things afterwards makes ALL the difference. Lead a dumb lifestyle and stress your back, and I’ll guarantee you’ll reverse everything you gained in a matter of mere months. Our forced move away from Nashville (mainly doing it ourselves), and a few other events put a definite strain on my lower back and neck so I’ve felt it first hand.

I’ve also stuck with the therapy and other habits that are undoing that strain and continuing my healing progress.

Here’s the work you’re going to expect to have to do:

Dietary Changes: Simple and sometimes obvious. If you’re overweight, that puts an extra burden on your spine. Sugar causes inflamation. Highly acidic food leach calcium from your bones. Changes do NOT have to be instantaneous. It’s awesome if you can quit cold turkey. If not, work on slowly reducing unhealthy foods while you search for healthy alternatives and ways to cook them where you enjoy eating them. If you’re a sugary drink junkie, like me, slowly reduce them and substitute with water. I do NOT recommend the vast majority of diet drinks as their artificial sweeteners often cause more issues than they fix. Stevia and Monkfruit ‘sugar’ being notable exceptions and natural.

Nutritional Supplements: specifically those designed for bone health and nervous system support. Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium in particular are important, if not outright vital. Get them naturally via food as much as you can. Use high quality supplements otherwise. That means no junk sold at the local drug or grocery store.

Personally, I take Animal Pak vitamins intended for competition bodybuilders. I’m anything but a bodybuilder. However, the vitamins and minerals are top quality and sourced from easily bio-absorbed sources. There are no nasty fillers or binding agents either. Did you know that many cheap vitamins use Plaster of Paris as a binding agent or silicon dioxide (ie sand) as a filler ? Think either of those are good for your digestive system?

Solaray is another good supplement company that I can recommend. Anywhere my main multivitamin falls short, such as the aforementioned Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium, I supplement with Solaray.

At Home Physical Therapy: It will take work to finish rehab of your injured spine. Because my back and neck were in such bad shape initially, I have two home traction units I use (updated reviews on them coming soon). Overall, I think they’re a worthwhile investment if you get the right ones and use them properly and regularly.

If your spine wasn’t in as bad a shape or suffering for such an extended period of time, you can possibly get away with with a massage wand, stretching, yoga and relaxation exercises. If you’re inclined to label yoga as some new age BS for soccer moms, consider that Diamond Dallas Page’s yoga program has literally saved the life and restored the health of some former big name wrestling stars. Scott Hall being the biggest success story.

Bottom line is that you have to maintain flexibility and range of motion as part of maintaining and strengthening your back.

I should include using proper lifting techniques and such as part of the general category of “therapy”. Continue lifting with your lower back instead of your knees and you’re just asking for a return to back pain. Trying to lift more than you safely can; also trouble. Take care of your body and it will take care of you. 🙂

LASTLY; IF You Were Long-Term Sedentary Because of Your Injuries: Remember it will take time to undo all of the muscle loss and weight gain. DO NOT push yourself in some blind determination to return to your glory days overnight. At best, you’ll be so exhausted you can’t do anything. At worst, you’ll re-injure yourself.

Go slow, keep your exercises as low-impact as possible (which is why I like rowing), and progress at a rate your body is comfortable with. Save the macho, “no pain, no gain” stuff for the military, and kids who will end up with their own back issues eventually. You’ll get stronger and more active, it just takes time and a sensible approach to it.

ALL of this should be considered life long stuff also. The biggest mistake that people who injure their backs make is to only do these kind of things until they start to feel better. Inversion tables are a great example. They’re frequently bought by people in the early stages of back pain. They really work too so long as you don’t have bad knees or a couple of other medical conditions that can make them unsafe.

The new owner will use them for a few weeks, feel better, and immediately toss the thing on Craigslist though. Inevitably they end up hurting again eventually too because they didn’t change the habits that got them hurt, or continue doing what they needed to rehab and strengthen their back.

Yes, the exercises and therapy takes time. Quality nutritional supplements cost money also. Consider the alternative of an unproductive, pain filled sedentary lifestyle though.

PAST SPINAL DECOMPRESSION POSTS:

Treatment, Days 1 & 2

Spinal Decompression; Day 5

Where I’ve Been; Grappling with Changing Realities

Spinal Decompression; Day 14

Pronex Traction Unit Review / How I’ve Learned to Use One

Brief Spinal Decompression Update

One Last Spinal Decompression Update

One Last Spinal Decompression Update

At least for a while.

At this point, I’ve got three treatments left in battery of 24. I’ll be done next Wednesday. Things have been really up and down the last week and a half. I suspect it shows in the quantity and quality of my posts too.

Most of the time, I feel great. The decompression treatments have overall lived up to the hype. The problem that I’m having however is that my neck seems more inclined to pop out of joint than it used to be. No doubt that’s from all the subcutaneous scar tissue now being broken up. Everything is more loose. I have greater flexibility, but everything is also a little more prone to slipping slightly out of alignment. It’s caused some pretty severe headaches at points also.

Granted, the situation is also more prone to correcting itself than it used to be, but it still can be a slow process.

Long explanation made short; higher peaks of well being, but more frequent lows also.

At this point, we’ve found a pain management specialist in our HMO. One that also sometimes does spinal decompression, or at least writes referrals… I don’t know. I’m going to try to get an appointment to see that doctor for an evaluation and recommendations on how to proceed from here.

I’ve hit a plateau (using the term generously) with the current treatment process, so paying for further treatment sessions would seem foolish without that consult first.

Granted, I also need to get back on track with the home end of the treatment process. I’ve admittedly slacked off a little there. I need to eliminate that as a potential part of the problem so as to better determine a course of treatment moving forward.

When I know more, I’ll post another update.

I’d still highly recommend looking into spinal decompression for those who are having back problems. Mine is a fairly unusual and severe case after all. And it’s still helped.

Links to Previous Posts:

Personal: Decompressing (contemplating the treatment)

Treatment, Days 1 & 2

Spinal Decompression: Day 5

Spinal Decompression: Day 14

Brief Spinal Decompression Update

Brief Spinal Decompression Update

It’s been a while since I updated here. So, let’s talk progress.

Long story short, it’s slow progress forward, and I’m continuing to improve.

The only real stumbling block at this point is sinus problems keep me tossing and turning all night, which puts my neck in bad positions and I wake up hurting. The pain when this happened used to be much worse, and last longer. I’m worried if I don’t find a fix there that it will undo all my treatment though.

At this point, I’m on treatment #14 with 10 more to go…

Pronex Traction Unit Review / How I’ve Learned to Use One

At the request of a follower, I’m doing a more in-depth post about the cervical (neck) traction unit made by Pronex:

THE THEORY BEHIND IT:

If you’re having trouble visualizing how the unit works, this picture will help:

The dense foam rubber cradle is contoured to fit your neck in the proper (healthy posture) position. You inflate the rubber air bag in the center using the ball pump, and the device expands. It pushes against your shoulders and the base of your skull to decompress the vertebrae. This lets the spinal discs return to a normal shape and frees pinched nerves, etc… Kind of how the picture in picture is showing with the arrows.

The expensive spinal decompression treatment I’m currently undergoing with a “professional” is actually very similar in operational theory.

BUT DOES IT WORK???

Yes, it does… HOWEVER, it’s absolutely critical that it’s used properly. Failure to do so can cause some pretty severe neck pain. I learned this the hard and painful way when I first got my unit.

The bad part is, I was actually following the manufacturer’s instructions.

WHERE YOU CAN GO WRONG:

This is one of those areas where I should put out a disclaimer that I’m not a medical professional. I’m a moderately well read layperson who has learn from trial and error as well.

If a neck injury is old, and/or re-aggravated via whatever means (sports, car accidents, etc…) there’s likely to be scar tissue formed below the skin, on the connective tissue and supporting muscles. Scar tissue is NOT very elastic and it tends to enflame any nerves it comes into contact with. You stretch it too much, too soon, it hurts.

There’s also the chance that a person’s neck or back may have other issues going on (deformities, bone chips, etc…) that would make traction a poor treatment option. That is something to discuss with a medical professional.

WHAT’S WORKED FOR ME:

In my own case, I had several herniated discs, one previously ruptured and torn disc, bone spurs, pinched nerves and a good deal of deep scar tissue. The standard “pump it up for ten to fifteen minutes, and just let it do it’s thing” caused me an insane amount of pain. My educated guess as to what happened is that the scar tissue was tearing. That based on the type of pain, and having experienced it previously when the scar tissue on my knee cap tore and broke up. It’s a fairly distinct type of pain.

What worked for me, tested out over the last few days, has been using the Pronex to duplicate the traction patterns of the DT Hill machine that I’m being treated with at the chiropractor’s.

First, get comfortable on a firm surface. DO NOT use a bed or couch. Too soft and the device won’t move and will inflate only at the top. Use a floor, a yoga mat, etc…

Once you’re settled in, pump the Pronex up until you feel a light to moderate pull in your neck. Ignore the feeling of it pushing against your shoulders and skull, and focus on the feeling in your neck. That’s how to gauge how much inflation. When you get that feel of a light to moderate pull in your neck, stop and count to 20.

When you hit 20, deflate the traction unit, let your neck rest and count to 20 again. At the end of 20 seconds, pump it back up again until you get that same light to moderate pull feeling in your neck. Count 20 again, then deflate.

It’s a pretty simple pattern. It gives your neck muscles a chance to rest and adjust between stretches though. That significantly lessens the chances of a muscle pull or a drastic tear in any scar tissue that MAY be there.

Keep up the pattern for 15 minutes, then go put a cold pack on your neck. It may not hurt immediately after you do treatment, but it could shortly after. The cold pack will counter any swelling and inflammation. The best option is to have one in the refrigerator and put it directly on the skin. You get more cold to the muscles than if you used a frozen one wrapped up in towels.

My neck has been such a mess that I live with a cold pack on my neck the day I get treatments. The next day I feel great though.

If you didn’t guess, this is NOT a quick fix. There’s no such thing anyway. This is something you’ll have to do once or twice a day, every other day for an extended period of time. The longer your neck has been bad, the longer it’ll take to fix it. Even when you think you’re feeling better, keep it up. The reason physical therapy most often fails is that people quit too early. I’d say keep at it for a month to fully heal your neck. It may take even longer if your neck is in really bad shape.

Keep at it though. What’s the alternative? Continuing with pain? Destroying your liver and stomach with OTC pain killers? Opioid addiction? Surgery that costs more than a house and will only result in other problems later? A month will pass before you know it anyway.

The obvious, common sense exception here is that if you feel any increase in pain, (esp sharp pain) even if it’s at the first pump of a traction unit, STOP!

Traction, if done right and there aren’t hidden complications, should feel comfortable. Your neck MAY be sore afterwards, but that’s what the ice is for; reducing the inflammation in the stretched muscles.

Breaking up any scar tissue or adhesions will take time, but little by little, they will break up and you’ll regain movement and reduce pain.

Using this method, I’ve even been able to undo the pain caused by testing the piece of crap home traction unit my chiropractor gave me. Again, the big key is to take it slow and keep the neck stretch moderate. Overdo it and you’ll have pain on a level you won’t believe was possible.

HOW TO BUY:

The Pronex is a pricey piece of foam rubber at $300. IF you buy one, I’d recommend Amazon since they will let you return it for 30 days whereas the manufacturer will not take a return for ANY reason. If you’ve got a neck over 18 inches, make sure you get the large model also.

I’d further recommend Amazon because, per the bad reviews there, occasionally some do get out the factory door with dry rotted air bladders. This way you still have a return option in the event of a factory defect.

OTHER OPTIONS:

With a price tag like that, I’m sure some of you are asking if anything else similar would work. Here’s some other options and what my research and talking to a few different chiropractors has led me to believe.

Overhead Neck Traction Units:

Remind you of a game of Hangman? O_O

There’s quite a few variations on these. Some you pull a cord, some use water for resistance / counter weight, etc… My Sacramento chiropractor was adamantly against the use of these contraptions. Most aren’t designed to maintain good head posture while using them, and he said he’s seen too many injuries from pulling too hard, using too much water, etc… They just look like a booby trap for the “Here’s yer sign” crowd, don’t they?

Inflatable Neck Pillows Traction Units:

First, if you notice, her head is photoshopped on. Either that or she’s part giraffe, LOL.

These look like a good idea on the surface. They MIGHT work OK for minor neck issues and headaches too. The main reason my chiropractors don’t like them is that again there’s not enough in the design to assure proper neck posture / alignment before stretching.

Neck Hammocks and Foam Pillows:

These are both supposed to work fairly well, and only use gravity and your own body weight to help restore correct posture. Restoring the correct shape to your neck will naturally spread the vertebrae out a little and give some decompression.

My best educated guess is that these would work fine for milder neck issues or ongoing therapy after more major treatment like spinal decompression or a Pronex. Stage 2 spinal degeneration is more iffy and I wouldn’t hold my breath if you’re dealing with stage 3 degeneration.

Similar Traction Units:

Would probably work just as well as the Pronex. This one, by Comfortrac and sold on Amazon, is $80 more than the Pronex, but looks more solidly built. Coincidentally, the neck rest is adjustable, looks similar to the one on the chiropractor’s machine, and cradles the neck with proper support. The upward tilt via the ramp is also duplicated by the professional therapy machine.

All I can say is study the design to see if a machine looks well made and comfortable, and compare prices.

Inversion Tables:

I’m actually a believer in these, and currently own one by Innova:

You strap your ankles in, recline partly back anywhere from just beyond horizontal to completely upside down. From there, gravity stretches out your spine.

Me, I go completely inverted because my back doesn’t get a good stretch otherwise.

LOL, I couldn’t resist.

Here’s the thing though… In my experience, inversion tables are far more beneficial for lower back problems than they are neck issues. You’ve got the entire weight of your upper body pulling on your lower back after all (not that you want to overdo it). This is a Your Mileage May Vary kind of thing, since I had alot of scar tissue holding my neck tight.

Inversion tables have a few caveats also. If you have high blood pressure or glaucoma, you shouldn’t use them. The extra blood going to your head will get REALLY uncomfortable if you do have them. Likewise, if you are prone to acid reflux and have a weak stomach valve, being inverted can be problematic.

On and added personal experience note. Many tables are now coming with lumbar supports or massage units like the one strapped to the machine above. They’re useless. They’ll actually hold your back in place and work against the table. If you get an inversion table, get a no frills model that looks comfortable. That massage thing is off of ours and now is used for separate therapy.

Other Lumbar Traction Options:

I’m really not familiar with, so I’ll have to pass on offering any input. My inversion table has worked fine for helping my lower back pain so that’s all I’ve used.

DISHONORABLE MENTION: Posture Pump 1100-SX

I decided to be fair and not just run on the assumption that it did put the adjustment pressure in too limited an area. Sure as hell, I was right. After a very conservative use, my neck was killing me. I had to use the Pronex to help alleviate the pain. I want to pummel the chiropractor with this turd.

The concept isn’t bad, and is similar to the shaped foam pillows above, but if you want to get one, for the love of humanity, GET THE 1400-D MODEL!

As you can see, this one offers much better, more even support. You’re far more likely to get an even stretch with this version.

When using anything inflatable like the Posture Pump, my advice would be to follow the same pattern and level of stretch that I recommended with the Pronex. That helps your neck get a good stretch with less risk of pulls or tears.

CONCLUSION:

And that’s about all there is to tell. You now know almost everything I do about home treatment of neck and back issues after years of studying, questioning chiropractors, and just plain old trial and error.

Don’t forget other additional options like yoga, stretching, maintaining good posture and nutrition, drinking enough water, etc… They really do make a difference, particularly in avoiding future flair ups.

Remember, treatment will be an ongoing thing too. There are NO shortcuts to good health.

Spinal Decompression: Day 14

5 minute read

Time for a treatment update. Monday / Yesterday was treatment number 7. I’m now 25% through my battery of 24 treatments.

Yes, it still amuses me, LOL

Overall, I’m progressing nicely. My neck is feeling better, I have more energy, my mood has improved, and my body is actually wanting healthier food too.

On a related note, the machine that I linked the YouTube video to in my earlier post:

IS indeed the exact model of table I’m being treated with.

My only real complaint at this point is the doctor and his business practices.

My Annoying Chiropractor:

My first annoyance is that he’s still all but completely absent from my treatments. It’s his office assistants setting up and running the machine. Only one quick “how are you doing today?” from the ‘doctor’ in the last few treatments.

Second was that I was supposed to get some physical therapy exercises to do at home to help my progress. That was put off multiple times until I called the staff out regarding it, in front of multiple other clients. What do they give me? Four basic exercises pushing my head against my hand in order to build neck strength. 🙄😒

IF he had listened to me or even examined me closely, a weak neck is NOT an issue with me. My pinched nerves had my neck and traps clinched up tight as a rock literally for years. The first chiropractor I went to in Sacramento had a massage therapist on staff, and the therapist couldn’t even work my shoulders at all they were so tight. I’m not a mutant weight lifter, nor do I look like one, but trust me, I have a damned strong neck for a 51 year old.

Luckily, I still know some flexibility stretches from my martial arts training and my last chiropractor.

Third, I was supposed to be getting some sort of home traction unit, again to supplement my treatment while at home. I got a big song and dance about how it was soooo much better than the Pronex unit I told them hurt me before:

Well, I got billed $169 dollars for THIS:

Ok, so the theory is sound with the thing. Push your neck out (up) back into a proper S curve, correcting posture issues and spreading the vertebrae, allowing the discs to return to normal.

TWO problems though. The first anyone with a basic understanding of anatomy will spot: It’s putting the pressure on too narrow an area of the cervical spine. The pressure needs to be more evenly distributed to get the result they’re claiming. The manufacturer knows this too, because they came out with a newer model with two inflatable areas that distribute pressure along the entire neck. I got an older model that could potentially cause more harm than it fixes.

The second problem is the price. $169. I found it on Amazon for as low as $57.99, although many suppliers were over $100 (barely). I’m still not sure if I’m a much better shopper than he is, or he’s just marking junk up almost 300%

My last issue ties back to number one above: You try to ask this guy a question and despite having a love me wall to put most chiropractors to shame, he either can’t or won’t answer questions.

Most recently I caught him behind the front desk and asked about the treatment plan’s restrictions on carbonated soft drinks… Was there a reason that other sugary stuff like lemonade and sweet tea were not listed? He avoided a direct answer and gave me some line about just recommending what’s best and that an occasional soft drink wouldn’t kill me, it just wasn’t optimal for healing.

Here’s the proper answer:

ALL sugary drinks are highly acidic. Sugar itself is an acid. Drinking them causes inflammation, and keeps existing inflammation from healing. The acid level is also bad for your spine, and skeleton in general, because your body will leech calcium and magnesium from your bones to correct the PH level in your body.

Already knowing that answer, I asked him the question to see if he knew anything further about carbonation potentially causing other issues, etc… Instead I got BS’ed because he didn’t know the answer, or thought I was too dumb to appreciate it. 😡

The Actual Treatment Thus Far:

Progress continues to be good here. My pain level is higher after treatment, but after I’ve put cold packs on my neck and rested a little, my pain is now down to a consistent 2 or 3. The treatments are now up to 30 minutes long also. Yesterday, I timed the machine to see it’s pattern. It started at 15 seconds of tension and 15 seconds of relaxing the pull, and slowly worked up to about 30 seconds of tension followed by 20 to 25 seconds of release.

Overall, I’m pretty optimistic about this working. Any remaining doubts and fears center around it working long term. Time, what I’ve learned the last week, and my extra work will combine to tell the tale there.

So What Have I Learned About My Neck and Treatment?

Primarily that my neck does still have quite a bit of internal scar tissue. 27 years of popping and grinding, and tension induced compression will do that. How do I know? The type of pain and the sensation when I feel the area.

Years ago, I used to have scar tissue on my knee. If you’ve ever had a similar patch (vs a thin line of it), you know the feeling. It’s like poking a gel ice pack in terms of resistance, and there’s a burning, pulsating pain when you bump it too hard (or it starts to tear).

The left side of my neck in particular has that feel from my ear all the way down to my shoulder. So if I want to get my life back, I have to break that scar tissue down.

I’ve also learned that Magnesium is a good deal more important a nutrient for muscle and nerve health than I previously gave it credit for. It’s part of my supplement routine from the chiropractor. Once a day, and it really helps with muscle tension.

The Battle Plan:

The scar tissue realization and the timing of the machine were important insights. They helped me realize that the reason the Pronex was causing pain is that I was using it the wrong way; too long with tension, not frequent nor long enough enough relaxation between tensions. I was tearing up the scar tissue too quickly, and maybe pulling some actual muscles with scar tissue adhesions also. I need a slower, less rigorous use of the device to get proper results.

That’s my theory anyway, and I’m going to be testing it out later. If I follow the machine’s pattern and still get excessive pain, then I’ll just discard the thing. If it works, I’ll keep it up.

I’ll also make use of my inversion table, particularly in an effort to work on my lower back issues. I’ve gotten hold of a few yoga programs specifically for neck and back issue treatment, and will be making use of those as well. Those along with stretching, taking the supplements I got and lots of water. I’ll probably throw in some meditation and Tai Chi as well.

All in all, I believe this is going to work, but it will take doing ALL 24 treatments, (maybe a few more), and doing all the homework and more thanks to having an apathetic chiropractor.

Spinal Decompression; Day 5

My latest update here, and yes, I’m sticking with the pictorial theme because it amuses me, lol. My most recent treatment was Friday. That was treatment #3.

That treatment went better. Maybe I should have been down just a little more on the table, or maybe my neck has just loosened up that much, but I didn’t feel the stretch as much. I was hurting most of Friday however. My neck kept popping as well, which makes me again question if a chiropractic adjustment before the decompression wouldn’t be better, so as to make sure everything is in as good a position as possible before treatment.

As a side note, I’ve kept up with my water, supplements and cold packs as well. We paid too much for this process for me NOT to take it seriously.

Yesterday, however, I woke up feeling better than I have in a LONG time. My tinnitus was diminished significantly, i had a ton of energy, and I was more pain free than I’ve been in years. Even acupuncture hadn’t had this level of effect.

Did I feel perfect? Hardly. Even the level of relief I got felt miraculous though. It was enough improvement that I could see why the doctors worry about people stopping early. That happens with all kinds of treatments; everything from antibiotics to physical therapy. The result is almost always that relief is short term as well.

As if to prove my point, today I woke up a bit more sore and stiff than I was on Saturday. I’m actually looking forward to treatment tomorrow. For once, I’m seeing real hope of reversing all of this. 🙂

The pain in my neck had diminished a great deal on Saturday. Surprisingly fast if it was caused by scar tissue breaking up. I had cold packs on non-stop Friday however. Between that and my body’s ability to block out pain, that may account for it.

Again, so far so good. It’s early yet, so I’m still hesitant to recommend this as an option for folks. Especially if they end up with a cash focused doctor like me. It’s looking very promising however.

This… hope… thing feels REALLY weird too. O_O

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