Are you experiencing symptoms such as joint pain, tenderness, stiffness, locking of a joint, or swelling of a joint? Do you have pain that is worse towards the end of the day or after long periods of inactivity, like sitting in a chair? You may be suffering from osteoarthritis, or OA. One in five (22.7%) adults in the United States report having doctor diagnosed arthritis. This common disease has many different names such as degenerative joint disease, degenerative arthritis, or “Arthur”.
Osteoarthritis, is basically a ‘wear-and-tear’ condition that is caused by excessive or abnormal stress to the joints of the spine and extremities over a period of time. This abnormal stress will lead to formation of new bone in the areas of stress, commonly referred to as bone spurs, or osteophytes (this new bone growth is the body’s attempt to strengthen and stabilize the joint in the over-stressed area). These osteophytes can be seen on x-rays, and are a definite sign of abnormal stress and loading to the affected area. This abnormal stress and joint degeneration/osteophyte formation can lead to pain, stiffness, and inflammation in and around the joints of the spine and extremities.
In more advanced spinal cases, osteophytes can pinch or compress the spinal cord or spinal nerves as they exit the neck or lower back. This can be a much more serious condition leading to neurologic compromise and cause symptoms to radiate into the arms or legs. Due to the potentially serious nature of spinal stenosis proper treatment of spinal arthritis is important not only to manage and improve the current symptoms but also to help prevent progression of the condition.
Cox Flexion-Distraction therapy is a gentle, comfortable, hands-on, treatment for spinal pain and dysfunction. In recent decades Cox Therapy has emerged as one of the most effective, safest, and well researched treatments for spinal conditions, including spinal arthritis.
Cox Treatment is performed using a specially engineered treatment table that gently pulls and stretches the joints of the spine. With the patient lying face down on the table, either the headpiece or the lower portion of the table supporting the legs of the table can be slowly pulled down and away. (Which part of the table that moves is dependent upon which part of the spine is being treated). This motion gently stretches the joints of the spine, which pulls the spinal bones away from each other and acts to “decompress” the joint and gently stretch the muscles and ligaments around the degenerated joint. Side-to-side and rotational motions can also be performed in a similar manner.
As the spine stretches the doctor is able to focus the release pressure at very specific levels of the spine by applying a specific pressure to the arthritic/degenerated area with a specialized hand contact. The ability to direct the distraction effect to the exact level of joint restriction makes Cox Flexion-Distraction treatment more effective than traditional stretching exercises and other distraction therapies or devices which apply only a general stretch or traction. In our experience this is also more effective and comfortable than traditional joint manipulation techniques. Each decompression stretch is held for 5 seconds and is applied in a rhythmical push-pull action five or six times. This process is usually repeated three to four times. In our experience the majority of people with pain and stiffness related to spinal arthritis respond very well to this approach.