Avoid Back Surgery!

Pain-free spinal decompression therapy relieves debilitating lower back pain.

Photos by Jordan Pysz.

Denise Moxon

Denise Moxon, 65, is a retired registered nurse who stays fit by engaging in a variety of activities that include the challenging horse-riding discipline called dressage, yoga and weight training.

Looking after her barn and horses requires physically demanding chores, but that never fazed her. That is until the day her back went out when she was shoveling dirt.

The intense pain started in her lower back and radiated into her right thigh. At first, Denise thought rest would make it go away, so she stopped exercising and riding her horses.

When the pain remained, Denise looked for remedies with two priorities in mind: She wanted to avoid surgery and narcotic pain medications. Over four months, she tried physical therapy, massage, steroid injections and acupuncture.

“I did all of these things just trying to get out of pain and thinking time would take care of it,” she recalls. “But it kept getting worse and worse until I couldn’t even walk my dog for a short distance. Physical therapy did not help, and massage did not help. The acupuncture alleviated the pain, but it wasn’t a cure. I’d be pain free, but then I’d need acupuncture again.

“By the sixth month, I couldn’t tolerate it any longer. I was beginning to believe that surgery was the only thing that could help me.”

Denise consulted a neurosurgeon, who ordered an MRI. The imaging study revealed two herniated discs in her lower spine. She agreed with her physician they needed surgical repair.

Due to the busy surgeon’s schedule, the operation couldn’t be performed for three months. Denise was resolved to suffering until then.

Shortly after scheduling the surgery, however, she learned about Tyler Albrecht, DC, at St. Augustine Spine Center. She was intrigued by a therapy that Dr. Albrecht uses to treat herniated and bulging discs called nonsurgical spinal decompression.

Wanting to learn more, Denise made an appointment to consult with Dr. Albrecht.

Time to Decompres

“When Denise came to us, she was in really bad shape,” states Dr. Albrecht. “She could only walk or stand two minutes before the pain would become severe. She couldn’t do any bending or lifting, and the pain was interrupting her sleep.”

Denise’s herniated discs were causing spinal stenosis, a condition that causes narrowing of the space for the spinal cord. This narrowing puts pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves, causing pain.

“It was a long road because I tried so many things. I’m really pleased with my treatment by Dr. Albrecht. It’s pretty impressive.”- Denise

Through his examination of Denise, Dr. Albrecht determined she was a candidate for nonsurgical spinal decompression. The therapy works to restore herniated or bulging discs to a healthier state, thus relieving the pain.

“What I’ve found is that spinal decompression is usually the best treatment for a herniated disc because it helps to reverse the pressure on the disc and allows the disc to heal rather than just trying to cover up the pain with injections or medication,” notes Dr. Albrecht.

Our decompression table does this by gently pulling the two vertebrae on either side of the affected disc, producing a vacuum effect. This allows bulging material and nutrients to be drawn back into the disc over time, allowing it to heal naturally. Advanced technology and computerized load sensors combine to create a gentle, pain-free treatment that avoids the muscle spasm or guarding reflex that is commonly triggered with rudimentary traction or inversion devices.”

Denise liked how Dr. Albrecht explained the process clearly and comprehensively.

“Dr. Albrecht is very articulate and knowledgeable,’’ she describes. “He’s informative and factual. The result was that I could make the decision on my own about whether to pursue treatment. He didn’t try to make the decision for me, which I appreciate in a doctor.”

Denise began a seven-week treatment regimen with three sessions of spinal decompression each week. In addition, she was treated with a combination of other modalities that are part of the disc rehabilitation program at St. Augustine Spine Center. They included manual therapy, chiropractic care, ice, electrical stimulation and laser therapy to help speed the healing process.

A Full Recovery

Photos by Jordan Pysz.

Denise is back in the saddle now that her back pain is gone.

The therapy sessions were pleasant experiences, Denise relates.

“The atmosphere in Dr. Albrecht’s office is lovely and peaceful,” she says. “And the decompression treatments were very comfortable and easy to do. They’re pain free. You can watch videos while you’re lying on the decompression table, which I did a lot, and it’s restful.”

Halfway through her treatment program, Denise discovered how much spinal decompression was helping. She went to a boat show with her husband and was stunned to realize that walking didn’t hurt anymore.

“We were walking around and after about forty-five  minutes, I stopped and said, Art, I have no pain,” remembers Denise. “Before, I would go places, even though it hurt to walk, because I’m an active person. I would walk, hurt, sit; walk, hurt, sit.

“At the boat show, it suddenly dawned on me that I had been walking for forty-five minutes and hadn’t needed to sit down because I wasn’t hurting.”

Before her first visit with Dr. Albrecht, Denise says her average pain level was six on a scale of one to ten. By the end of treatment, she says, it had dropped to zero.

Dr. Albrecht uses another feedback measure, the Low Back Pain and Disability Index, to gauge results. The questionnaire focuses on how much back pain interferes with daily activities.

“When we started out, Denise was at sixty-six percent on how much the pain was disabling her,” states Dr. Albrecht. “When we finished, she was down to zero percent – she experienced a full recovery.”

That full recovery allowed Denise to resume her fully active lifestyle. After following a regimen of stretches and exercises to strengthen her core, she is once again riding five days a week and continues to improve her dressage skills.

She’s also back doing yoga and weight training and has added golf to her long list of hobbies. What Denise is most happy about, though, is that she succeeded in finding a treatment that took away her severe back pain without surgery or drugs.

Once she felt certain that spinal decompression had given her long-lasting relief, Denise canceled her surgery date.

“It was a long road because I tried so many things,” she relates. “I’m really pleased with my treatment by Dr. Albrecht. It’s pretty impressive.”

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    • St. Augustine Spine Center

      St. Augustine Spine Center's goal is to offer relief to patients whose previous options were to simply suffer with pain, take endless prescription painkillers, or undergo injections or invasive surgeries. Typical patients find spinal decomp... Read More

    • Tyler Albrecht, DC

      Tyler Albrecht, DC, attended Palmer College of Chiropractic in Port Orange, FL, where he graduated summa cum laude and was honored as a presidential scholar. He attended Western Michigan University for his undergraduate studies. In 2011 He comp... Read More

    • Erin Bailey, DC

      Erin Bailey, DC, earned her undergraduate degree in exercise physiology from Harding University. She earned her Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida. She is an active member of the Florida Chiropractic Association.... Read More