‘A Valuable Tool For Pain Relief’

Computer-controlled VAX-D’s vacuum effect eases pressure on spinal discs.

Betty Sickle in her kitchen cooking.

Betty can now stand long enough to cook comfortably.

When Betty Sickle married, she vowed to share in the parenting of her husband’s four sons, ages 7 to 12. But once the boys got older and the youngest joined the Navy, Betty was left with no one to care for, which left her with plenty of time on her hands.

“There wasn’t as much to do around the house anymore, so I told my husband I wanted to go to beauty school,” shares Betty, 78. “That’s something I’d wanted to do since high school, but my husband wasn’t in favor of it at first. He finally agreed once I convinced him I could make the job pay off.

“After I got my license, my husband wanted me to buy a salon, but I didn’t want to work that hard and I didn’t want to be in charge of other people. I convinced him to build a room onto our house, and we turned that into a one-person salon. I enjoyed the work a lot, so that’s what I did for 20 years.”

Betty and her husband began spending their winters in Florida after her husband retired in 1990. Betty closed the salon and retired herself in 2003, not long after her husband passed away. She relocated to the Sunshine State permanently in 2004 but not before experiencing a harrowing, life-altering event.

“In the spring of 2003, I was working in the garage and climbed up a six-foot ladder,” she recalls. “I fell from the ladder to the garage floor and injured my back. I didn’t do anything about it at the time. I was busy picking up loose ends after my husband passed and putting the house up for sale. But that’s when my back problems started. There was aching pain.”

Over time, Betty’s back pain grew steadily worse.

“I lost the ability to do anything,” she recalls. “Everything became painful for me. I couldn’t stand for more than five minutes without needing to sit down. I couldn’t do the dishes, cook or do my housework because my back would spasm and tighten up.

“Now, I sleep through the night, and when I wake up in the morning I’m pain-free.” – Betty

“On a scale of one to 10, there were days when the pain was a 10, and it wasn’t any better at night. I couldn’t sleep through the night because the pain would wake me up. There was never any relief from the pain, and I had no stamina because my back muscles had become so weak.”

Betty tried physical therapy and pain management injections, but those treatments failed to provide substantial relief. She then consulted with three surgeons, but they would not operate over concerns of blood loss and that the extensive recuperation period would be too much for Betty to handle at her age.

Exasperated, Betty was just about to abandon her search for a remedy when she learned about Craig S. Aderholdt, DC, of Back Pain Institute of West Florida and a unique spinal treatment he offers called VAX-D® therapy.

“I saw a copy of Florida Health Care News on the counter at the pharmacy, and the article headline read, Say No to Back Surgery,” Betty remembers. “I took it home and read it, then I called and made an appointment with Dr. Aderholdt.”

Innovative Technology

Dr. Aderholdt provides the most advanced treatments for patients in severe pain, including VAX-D therapy, a patented, FDA-approved medical decompression technique for alleviating pressure on the discs of the spine.

“When Betty came to our practice, she was suffering with a very painful low back condition caused by osteoarthritis,” remembers Dr. Aderholdt, one of the few doctors in the country offering VAX-D. “Based on the physical exam findings, Betty’s history of symptoms and the results of her x-ray, I recommended VAX-D therapy for her.”

Dr. Aderholdt emphasizes that VAX-D, or vertebral axial decompression, is not a traction device. It works differently than traction and achieves substantially better results.
“Chiropractic adjustments alone can relieve the pain for many patients,” Dr. Aderholdt asserts. “But for select people with conditions such as sciatica or herniated, bulging or degenerated discs, VAX-D therapy has proven extremely successful.”

VAX-D is effective at alleviating low back and neck pain, the doctor explains. It also helps with numbness, tingling and pain that radiates down the arms and legs. Betty experienced significant low back pain due to degenerated discs and was considered an excellent candidate for the therapy.

During VAX-D, the patient relaxes on a comfortable, computer-controlled table, secured by a pelvic belt or patented cervical collar, depending on the area being treated.

Carefully specified tension and pressure changes guide the use of VAX-D, allowing the therapist to focus the decompression at the exact level of dysfunction. Most sessions last about a half-hour.

The computer enables the table to make subtle but targeted movements that 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.

“No other treatment can create such a powerful vacuum,” Dr. Aderholdt contends. “There are imitators, but VAX-D’s vacuum effect is the most powerful. That is what makes VAX-D such a valuable tool for pain relief. Further, VAX-D doesn’t allow the muscles to contract the way other machines can. In fact, it is the only nonsurgical treatment that has been clinically proven to reduce disc pressure to negative levels.

“In my opinion, VAX-D is one of the most effective nonsurgical medical treatments for low back pain, neck pain and sciatica. This innovative 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 has been effective in treating more than 88 percent of patients. Many report a significant reduction in back or neck pain after only a few treatments.

Dr. Aderholdt stresses, however, that actual healing takes longer because bulging or herniated discs require a series of sessions to fully reposition.

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

Headshot of Betty Sickle

Betty Sickle

“No More Back Pain”

Unlike previous treatments, VAX-D gave Betty substantial relief from her symptoms.

“I have no more back pain,” she affirms. “Now, I sleep through the night, and when I wake up in the morning I’m pain-free. I still don’t have all my stamina back because my muscles got weak over the years from not being able to do anything. But I can do anything I want now as long as I stop and rest my body when I need to. I can cook, do the dishes, do my household duties and run the vacuum cleaner.

“Dr. Aderholdt gave me a back brace to wear when I’m doing anything strenuous, and I make sure to wear that. Once I get my stamina back, I’ll be the person I want to be again.”

The person Betty wants to be again does a lot of yard work and gardening. Those are two of her greatest passions. She’s confident
Dr. Aderholdt’s VAX-D therapy will allow her to resume those activities.

“VAX-D has already done wonders for me,” Betty enthuses. “And afterward, they would put me on a hydromassage table, and that’s very relaxing. I always left those sessions feeling better than I did when I went in.

“And I really can’t say enough about Dr. Aderholdt. He’s very friendly and knowledgeable. And he is truly concerned about helping me. He listens to me and he’s honest. I have confidence in him.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photos by Jordan Pysz. mkb
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