Impressive Decompression

VAX-D, a nonsurgical vacuum therapy, eases neck and back pain.

Sylvia Ecker thought her third trip to Florida would be just like her first two: short and sweet. From the beginning, though, her husband had something else in mind. His intention all along was to remain in Florida permanently.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Sylvia, left, visited
Dr. Aderholdt, center, after he successfully treated her son David for a painful ruptured disc.

“We first visited Florida in 1949 and then again in 1951, but both times we went back home to Jamestown, New York,” Sylvia, 88, recalls. “After we came here again in 1956, we just decided to stay. My husband was planning to remain here for life.”

In Florida to stay, Sylvia began looking for employment. She always enjoyed math and had taken accounting courses in college, so she applied when she discovered an opening as a bookkeeper for a medical group. Following an intense group interview by all the practitioners, Sylvia was hired.

“I started out keeping the books for three psychiatrists and a marriage counselor,” she recalls. “When they split offices, I worked for one psychiatrist and the marriage counselor for 30 years, then I was the bookkeeper and secretary for the marriage counselor for another 20 years. I was always interested in mental health, so the job worked out well for me.”

As Sylvia grew older, she developed osteoporosis. As a consequence of the decrease in bone density associated with the disease, she lost several inches of height. The osteoporosis also caused the collapse of several vertebrae in her lower back, which further contributed to her loss of height. The collapsed vertebrae also pinched a nerve and caused sciatica, which led to intense pain that radiated down her right leg.

“I really can’t get over just how well VAX-D Therapy works.” – Sylvia

“Before the osteoporosis, I was 5 feet 3¾ inches tall, but now I’m down to 5 feet 1 inch,” Sylvia reports. “And there was an aching pain on my right side from the sciatica. The pain basically ran from my buttocks down to my ankle. It made it difficult for me to walk and do my daily activities.

“When the pain became severe, I went to a chiropractor. After about seven visits, my condition improved. But this year, the sciatica flared up again while I was vacuuming, and the pain returned.

“The pain was at least a five on a scale of one to 10, but it might have been higher. It was so bad that I couldn’t walk to the mailbox to get the mail or walk to get the newspaper. Eventually, I had to have the newspaper delivered to me.

“I went back to the chiropractor for a few sessions, but I didn’t get any better. Then I went to my family physician, who suggested pain management. That’s when I remembered that my son had gone to Dr. Aderholdt after he ruptured a disc in 2004. Dr. Aderholdt helped my son so much that I decided to visit Dr. Aderholdt myself.”

Craig S. Aderholdt, DC, at Back Pain Institute of West Florida, provides the most advanced treatments available for patients in severe pain. Among them is a unique, nonsurgical treatment called VAX-D® Therapy, a patented, FDA-approved medical decompression technique for alleviating pressure on the discs of the spine.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Sylvia with her son David

Dr. Aderholdt is one of the few doctors in the country who offers VAX-D Therapy. Based on his examination of Sylvia, her symptoms and what he saw on x-rays, Dr. Aderholdt recommended VAX-D Therapy for Sylvia.

The Opposing Team

VAX-D, or vertebral axial decompression, is not a traction device. Dr. Aderholdt emphasizes that it works differently and achieves significantly better results.

“For many patients, chiropractic adjustments alone can relieve their pain,” Dr. Aderholdt points out. “But for select people who suffer with conditions such as sciatica or herniated, bulging or degenerated discs, VAX-D Therapy has proven extremely successful.

“Sylvia was a good candidate because the treatment is effective at alleviating low back pain. It also helps with numbness, tingling and pain that radiates down the arms and legs.”

Each treatment typically lasts about a half-hour. The patient relaxes on a comfortable, computer-controlled table, secured by a pelvic belt or patented cervical collar, depending on the area to be treated. Carefully specified tension and pressure changes guide the use of VAX-D, allowing the therapist to focus decompression at the exact level of spinal dysfunction.

The VAX-D system is computerized, which enables the table to make subtle but targeted movements. These movements create a powerful vacuum within the disc space. This vacuum gently draws the disc back to its proper orientation, pulling nutrient-rich spinal fluid into the disc and stimulating repair cells that effectively mend the disc.

“Nothing else can create such a powerful vacuum,” Dr. Aderholdt contends. “There are imitators, but VAX-D’s vacuum effect is the most powerful one known. That is what makes VAX-D such a valuable tool for pain relief. In addition, VAX-D doesn’t allow the muscles to contract, like other machines can. In fact, it is the only nonsurgical treatment that has been clinically proven to reduce disc pressure to negative levels.

“I consider VAX-D one of the most effective nonsurgical medical treatments for low back pain, neck pain and sciatica today. This revolutionary technology is one more tool I can offer patients as we work toward relieving pain and maintaining the health of the lumbar and cervical spine.”

Studies show that VAX-D is effective in more than 88 percent of patients who go through the protocol. Many patients report a significant reduction in back or neck pain after only a few treatments, but Dr. Aderholdt stresses that actual healing takes longer because bulging or herniated discs require a series of sessions to fully reposition themselves.

“Some patients think they will get relief after a handful of sessions and they can just quit, but that’s not the case,” he notes. “Patients must follow through with all of the required treatments to get the full benefit.”

An added consideration is that VAX-D Therapy can eliminate the need for surgery in some patients.

“Many patients with severe back or neck pain want to avoid surgery, and that is something that VAX-D allows,” Dr. Aderholdt confirms. “With surgery, there is the potential for serious complications. Because VAX-D is noninvasive, those complications are avoided.”

Sylvia began receiving VAX-D Therapy treatments at Back Pain Institute of West Florida at the end of April. She initially went for treatment three times a week, but because she responded so well, her treatments were decreased to twice a week.

“The treatment is amazing,” Sylvia enthuses. “It stretches me so that the bones in my back can separate instead of remaining crushed together, which they were. It allows healing liquid to go between the bones as well. Dr. Aderholdt showed me my x-rays and explained how my condition is getting better.”

Herniated Handicap

Deborah Ihde retired after 40 years as a hairstylist when her husband became ill and she resolved to stay home to care for him. After her husband passed away in 2014, Deborah began spending time in the Florida condo they purchased for retirement.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Deborah Ihde

“The first winter, I came down to Florida but went back home to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania,” Deborah remembers. “But the second winter, I came down and said, I’m staying because I love it here. I’ve been in Florida year-round for about five years now.”

Since making the permanent move, Deborah has found a fun, new way to spend her time. She also found a partner to do it with.

“I do woodworking as a hobby,” she elaborates. “I make small tables and benches, which I paint and sell here and there. I got into it because my boyfriend is a woodworker, and I was painting things in wood. One day two years ago, he said, Why don’t I teach you how to make furniture. I tried it and enjoyed it. Now, we both make furniture and have a lot of fun doing it.

“My boyfriend has a workshop, and I sell some of my things on Anna Maria Island at a place called Scavenger’s Marketplace. I have a little space in a shop there, but I sell some of my stuff on Facebook Marketplace as well.”

Deborah believes the four decades she spent styling hair contributed to the three herniated discs that developed in her neck. The issue caused her constant discomfort, but when the herniations began affecting her nerves, the pain became unbearable.

“One morning, I woke up in excruciating pain,” Deborah remembers. “On a scale of one to 10, the pain was past a 10. It traveled down to my shoulder into my arm, and my hand became numb. I didn’t know why it happened. I thought I must have slept wrong.

“The pain was so intense that I was screaming and vomiting. I went to the emergency room, and they thought I was having a heart attack. Then they ordered x-rays and an MRI and discovered that I had a pinched nerve in my neck. They started shooting cortisone in my neck, which eased the pain a bit, and they gave me muscle relaxants and other pills.

“A little over a year ago, I had a procedure in which the doctor went in with an electric hot needle and cauterized the nerve. He said that would probably last about a year, and he was right. When pain started coming back, it was manageable, about a four or five most of the time, but when I turned my head, I could feel that something wasn’t right.

“At one point, someone mentioned that there was a place in Bradenton doing VAX-D Therapy, but they didn’t know who it was. Then a couple of months ago, I saw a front-page article in Florida Health Care News and read that it was Dr. Aderholdt at Back Pain Institute of West Florida.”

Because Deborah was suffering with herniated discs that resulted in a pinched nerve and pain radiating into her arm, Dr. Aderholdt considered her an excellent candidate for VAX-D Therapy. He recommended that Deborah return to Back Pain Institute of West Florida three times a week for a total of 28 treatments.

“VAX-D Therapy is definitely worth it. I recommend it.” – Deborah

“I agreed to try VAX-D Therapy because, unlike the other treatments I tried, it actually fixes the problem,” Deborah relates. “During a VAX-D treatment, they put a collar around my neck and hook me up to a machine that gently pulls me for one minute then relaxes for one minute, then does it over again for a half-hour.

“Dr. Aderholdt explained that when the machine is pulling, it’s allowing the spinal fluid to get in between those discs and possibly gets the herniations to go back where they belong.

“The VAX-D Therapy is part of a three-part plan. I also get electrical stimulation, which loosens up the tight muscles in my neck, and I spend time in the hydro bed, which soothes everything at the end. None of the treatments are painful.”

Halftime Statistics

Sylvia and Deborah are still receiving treatment, but both have achieved significant pain relief. That relief didn’t come immediately for Sylvia, but Dr. Aderholdt reassured her that it would come eventually as long as she continued with the sessions.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Following several VAX-D treatments, Deborah can now turn her head without pain.

“After about the ninth treatment, I became a little discouraged because I didn’t think I was improving,” Sylvia admits. “So I talked with Dr. Aderholdt and he explained that the treatment was like going up a hill and coming back down again.

“He told me I was nearly on top, but that I still had a ways to go and was doing fine. That encouraged me to keep on going, and after the very next session, Dr. Aderholdt said, Oh, my goodness Sylvia, your back has really improved.

“And by then, I was really feeling the improvement. I’m still not back to normal just yet, but my back feels much better. The pain is only about a two or three on a scale of one to 10 now, so I’m able to walk to the mailbox and walk to get my newspaper.

“Dr. Aderholdt also gave me some exercises to help strengthen my back, and I know that if I’m faithful with the exercises, I’ll get even better faster. I can’t get over just how well VAX-D Therapy works.”

Deborah has experienced similar improvement in her neck.

“My pain is definitely better because I can now turn my head with no discomfort,” she says. “Before, my pain was a four or five most of the time and sometimes even more than that. Since starting VAX-D Therapy, my pain is now a one or two, and after I’m done with a treatment at Back Pain Institute of West Florida, I usually feel even better than that.

“The pain that ran across the bottom of my shoulder blade and right where my arm meets my back is definitely a lot better. And my hand is not as numb at the end of the day. Doing the woodworking and painting furniture probably aggravates the pain. I don’t know if those are the best things for me to be doing, but the treatment is definitely helping.”

Deborah is not the type of person to sit still all day, and her activities may contribute to her neck pain. But that doesn’t stop her. She’ll take an over-the-counter pain medication if absolutely necessary, but VAX-D Therapy is eliminating most of her discomfort.

“I take Advil®, Tylenol® and medicines like that for pain, but I don’t like to take a lot of that stuff,” she says. “I’ve taken a lot less since I’ve been getting VAX-D Therapy. If this relief can be sustained, I’ll be really grateful to Dr. Aderholdt and Back Pain Institute of West Florida. VAX-D Therapy is definitely worth it. I recommend it.”

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