Flexion Distraction is used to treat back pain and herniated discs of the lumbar spine. There are also many cases where a patient may not tolerate manual manipulation and this is a great alternative.

You may be familiar with axial decompression or other “decompression” techniques. Many of these are unassisted machine-based treatments. Flexion Distraction differs because it is a ‘hands-on’ decompression therapy that is controlled by the doctor. With Flexion Distraction our doctors have the ability to control pressure, vector, and timing interval. This makes it effective at reducing or eliminating a patient’s symptoms in a shorter period of time.

Flexion-Distraction, (F/D) is a gentle, treatment procedure utilized for low back pain. Flexion-Distraction is a safe alternative to back surgery for those 95% of patients whose conditions do not demand surgical intervention. The doctor is in control of the treatment movements at all times.

Flexion-Distraction is utilized for many conditions such as:

  • Disc Herniation/Ruptured Disc/Bulging Disc/Herniated Disc
  • Sciatica / Leg pain
  • Spinal and Foraminal Stenosis
  • Failed course of Steroid Injections
  • Chemical Radiculitis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Transitional segment
  • Failed Back Surgery Syndromes

How does Flexion-Distraction Work?

For Disc related conditions

  • Increases the intervertebral disc height to remove annular tension on the annular fibers and nerve by making more room and improving circulation.
  • Allows the nucleus pulposus, the center of the disc, to assume its central position within the annular fibers and relieves irritation of the spinal nerve.
  • Restores vertebral joints to their physiological relationships of motion.
  • Improves posture and locomotion while relieving pain, improving body functions, and creating a state of well-being.

For Non-Disc related conditions

For patients with other conditions causing back pain (facet syndrome, spondylolisthesis, sprain/strain, scoliosis, transitional vertebra, sacroiliac restrictions and misalignment, certain types of spinal stenosis), Flexion/Distraction provides all of the above benefits, plus the ability to place the spinal joints into normal, painless movements so as to restore spinal motion without pain.

  • The posterior disc space increases in height.
  • F/D decreases disc protrusion and reduces stenosis.
  • Flexion stretches the ligamentum flavum to reduce stenosis.
  • Flexion opens the vertebral canal by 2 mm (16%) or 3.5 to 6mm more than extension.
  • Flexion increases metabolite transport into the disc.
  • Flexion opens the apophyseal joints and reduces posterior disc stress
  • The nucleus pulposus does not move on flexion. Intradiscal pressure drops under distraction to below 100mm Hg. On extension the nucleus or annulus is seen to protrude posterior into the vertebral canal.
  • Intervertebral foraminal openings enlarge giving patency to the nerve.