What is Flexion Distraction Therapy?
Flexion distraction is a form of treatment primarily used on patients experiencing low back pain. This treatment helps reduce pain by decreasing the pressure on the vertebral discs, widens the area for the spinal canal to lay within, and returns motion to the joints within the spine. This type of treatment has been shown useful for those suffering with chronic low back pain, spinal stenosis, lumbar disc herniation, leg pain, knee pain, pregnancy pain of the low back, and as an alternative therapy for those who have been told they need back surgery. The goal with this therapy is to have 50% reduction in symptoms within 30 days. This is a non-surgical approach to relieve pain in those seeking alternative routes prior to deciding on surgery.
Why Seek Flexion Distraction Therapy for Your Health and Wellness?
In a study performed in 2022, a group of individuals who were experiencing low back pain that radiates into the leg were put into an experimental group, which were given both flexion distraction treatments and physical therapy, or a control group, who only had physical therapy treatments. The experimental group who were given both physical therapy AND flexion distraction had more improvement than those who were only having physical therapy treatments. Flexion distraction is an incredibly beneficial treatment for patients who are suffering with low back pain and those who have radicular symptoms in the gluteal region and/or leg.
How is Flexion Distraction Therapy performed?
When flexion distraction treatment is performed, the patient is laying down on the stomach. A gentle but firm pressure will be applied to the area bothering the patient in the lower to mid back, and a stretch will be felt. The feet and hips slowly are lowered towards the ground about 2 feet, and then brought back up over and over. This treatment is very relaxing and usually leaves patients feeling both looser and in less pain than when they came in. This treatment helps to both decompress the spine and stretch the area. It is a gentle enough treatment that even patients who have just undergone spinal surgery can have this technique used to help alleviate pain. Patients with osteoporosis or other conditions that affect the bones usually have limited treatment options because of the risk involved with more aggressive treatments, but fortunately flexion distraction is a safe and effective option for these patients.
What are the Benefits of Flexion Distraction Therapy?
Benefits of flexion distraction include but are not limited to:
- Reducing pressure on the spinal nerves and discs
- Alleviate pain from herniated discs
- Increase range of motion and improve mobility
- Chronic pain management
- Provide relief for stiffness
- Reduce pain in the low back, gluteal region, and in the legs
- Alleviate pregnancy pain in the lower back and legs
Who Should Take Precautions with Flexion Distraction Therapy?
Please inform your Doctor if you have:
- An acute fracture
- An acute Stroke
- Intolerance to contact
- Claustrophobia (since the treatment is performed face down with the face in a headpiece)
- Spinal fusion that is unhealed (new) or unstable
- Advanced osteoporosis (with loss of structural integrity)
- Rheumatoid arthritis with ligament laxity
These patients may require a modified version of this technique to avoid aggravation, but it's not to say they can't have this treatment"
Risks and benefits of this therapy are discussed in detail at the time of your appointment to ensure that it is a safe and effective option for you.
Have more questions?
If you have any questions when it comes to flexion distraction therapy, you can schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation to ask Dr. Hope Ramales any questions you may have prior to setting up an initial consultation and find out if we are the right fit for you.