The other day I was talking with a fellow physician about how successful the dental profession has been in getting this message across. When most of us were barely able to hold our own toothbrush, we were completely indoctrinated in how important prevention was to our dental health. I can still remember hearing about “Mr. Tooth Decay” and how evil he was!!!
How about you? Do you brush and floss your teeth daily? Do you manage to have your dental checkups on a regular basis? Certainly you understand the importance of prevention and do your best to maintain your dental health.
So how about the health of your spine?
Chiropractors have been encouraging their patients to take good care of their spinal health in much the same manner as dentists ever since the discovery of Chiropractic by Dr. Daniel David Palmer way back on September 18, 1895. Chiropractors know that maintaining the structural integrity of the spine is paramount to allowing the nervous system to properly regulate the myriad organs, tissues and cells of the body and therefore good health.
Most of us have observed how the elderly among us seem to ‘shrink’ as they get further along in their journey along the pathways of life. I can remember my Mom being 5’2” tall when I was a young man, and yet in the last years of her life she was a mere 4’8”! Mom had actually lost a full 6” of her height as the days, months and years of her life passed by.
Just as our dental structures will deteriorate over the years without good preventative care, the human spine will also undergo deterioration with the march of time. Year after year the human spine is subjected to not only the various experiences of our lives, but the endless exposure to the force of gravity on a daily basis.
From the dental perspective we see cavities and rotting teeth, while in the spine we see deteriorating, bulging, protruding and herniating discs; and bone spurs that often end up putting undue pressure on vital nerve roots as the space between the vertebrae narrows.
The whole process of aging is truly fascinating.
Often patients are told that they have arthritis of the spine. Other patients are told they have something called degenerative disc disease; or degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis. Sounds like a disease huh? In actuality all of those fancy sounding names are really just another way of saying that your spine is aging.
So what can we do about it? Is there a way for us slow down or prevent the aging process?
This brings us back to the old adage of ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’.
The Radiologist’s Paradigm Shift
Recently I spent the better part of the morning with a radiologist from one of the local MRI imaging centers. We’ve known each other for quite a few years and while we were reviewing some lumbar MRI imaging studies on a patient, he asked me why we were not treating more patients with spinal decompression therapy in a ‘pre-emptive’ or preventative approach. It was such an interesting question!
The radiologist shared that he had been reading spinal x-rays and MRI imaging studies for over 35 years and had always pondered how early in a person’s life he could begin to identify some sort of ‘marker’ that would indicate that the degenerative process had already begun. His feeling was that the earlier we could identify these changes and take ‘pre-emptive’ action, then the greater would be our chances of preventing or slowing down the degenerative processes of aging.
His point was that since nonsurgical spinal decompression was known to help heal injured discs and lessen the effects of spinal stenosis or narrowing, wouldn’t it make good sense to use that technique as a ‘pre-emptive’ form of preventative care for all patients who had evidence of degenerative processes on their imaging studies?
So how can we do this? I’m glad you asked!
Pre-Emptive Spinal Decompression Therapy
Patients who have demonstrated ‘degenerative markers’ on MRI imaging studies, with or without clinical signs and symptoms, may benefit from Pre-Emptive Spinal Decompression Therapy (PESDT).
PESDT is a form of rehabilitative therapy that utilizes therapeutic exercise, nonsurgical spinal decompression, and manual therapies to slow and/or reverse degenerative processes in the spine and associated connective tissues.
PESDT treatment protocols involve focused rehabilitative programs that require a minimum of 90 days and individual cases may require longer programs. Long term case management often includes periodic assessments with follow up MRI imaging studies for assessment.
Are You a Candidate for PESDT?
If you have had a previous MRI imaging study that has demonstrated degenerative conditions within your spine, or have been told that you have some form of degenerative spine disease you may very well be a candidate for PESDT.
Those patients who demonstrate a history of recent or chronic lower back pain, especially those with sciatica or any form of pain in the buttock or lower extremities, are in need of PESDT and most likely will benefit from nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy.
Want to learn more?
Call today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Grace at 503-684-9698