Battling Back Disability

Spinal decompression resolves pain without injections, surgery

When the company Mark Ryan was working for failed to survive the Great Recession of 2007-09, Mark Ryan was forced to rethink his career as an IT specialist.

“No one was going to hire someone with skills dating to the 1970s,” bemoans Mark, who was in his early 50s at the time, “so I decided to volunteer at a local food bank. They liked my attitude and the work I did, so they hired me as a truck driver and forklift operator.”

Mark can now walk around the lake without stopping and without pain

Mark can now walk around the lake without stopping and without pain

Mark, a 65-year-old Boston native who has lived in the Tampa Bay area for 47 years, has a history of hip and lower back pain. The problem began when he was in his late 40s and was overweight and out of shape.

Aiming to improve his condition, Mark joined a gym, hired a personal trainer and set a goal of completing a triathlon by the time he was 50. He achieved that goal, more or less.

“I was able to complete the swimming and biking but was never able to get my running game together,” Mark discloses. “A painful problem with my right hip was the reason. The pain was in the front part of my hip, and it was a burning pain that came on quickly. It was debilitating, at least a five on a scale of one to 10.”

At the next triathlon, Mark chose not to compete. Instead, he volunteered to support the swimmers. He held a position in the water in a kayak. Any swimmer in trouble could grab onto the boat for safety. But after sitting in a kayak for hours twisting and turning his back, he could barely get out of bed the next morning.

“I went straight to my primary care physician, who ordered x-rays and an MRI,” Mark remembers. “The MRI showed that I had bulging discs in the lumbar section of my back. The doctor showed me some movements to avoid, and that was the end of my treatment.”

Mark continued going to the gym. He discovered that strength training helped ease the pain in his hip and back. But when he began working at the food bank, the pain returned with a vengeance, and strength training didn’t help. This time, his primary care physician referred him to Marc J. Rogers, DC, at Disc Centers of America-Largo.

“Mr. Ryan was a longtime chiropractic patient receiving adjustments and therapy,” Dr. Rogers reports. “He suffered with low back and hip pain that was not completely resolved with traditional chiropractic care. We discussed another therapy we offer at our practice called spinal decompression. He agreed to try it.”

Negative Pressure 

According to Dr. Rogers, back pain is the primary cause of disability in the world. The main reason for chronic, disabling back pain is degenerative, bulging or herniated spinal discs. 

“The medical model for treating disc problems includes injections, medication and surgery,” Dr. Rogers observes. “Fifty percent of back surgeries fail, and injections and medications provide only temporary relief. Spinal decompression is a natural way to repair and heal affected discs without medication or surgery.”

Spinal decompression, which can be performed on the neck as well as the back, was invented about 30 years ago. Studies conducted by the Mayo Clinic and Stanford University demonstrate its effectiveness as a conservative approach to relieving back and neck pain.

During a spinal decompression treatment, patients lie on their back on a computer-controlled table.

“We tell the computer exactly which discs to focus on, and the table very slowly, very gently pulls open the spine. This creates a negative pressure, which causes the part of the disc that’s bulging to move off of the nerves, relieving the pain,” Dr. Rogers details. “Opening the spine also brings water and nutrients back into the disc space so the disc can heal.”

The typical course of spinal decompression therapy at Disc Centers of America-Largo consists of 24 sessions twice a week over 10 weeks. The protocol also includes cold laser therapy, massage and McKenzie Extension Exercises, which were developed by a physical therapist with expertise in disc problems and low back pain.

“The results are fantastic,” Dr. Rogers raves. “Spinal decompression has a 90 to 95 percent success rate. It’s also 100 percent safe. It is very gentle and very controlled. It will not harm the patient. In fact, most patients fall asleep during their treatments.

“I’ve been in practice 21 years and spinal decompression is, in my opinion, the best alternative to injections, medication and surgery for treating herniated or bulging spinal discs.” 

“No Pain Whatsoever”

Mark was overweight when he began seeing Dr. Rogers and understood that the excess weight contributed to his low back pain. To help shed a few pounds, Mark made a commitment to walk every day.

“There’s a lake near the food bank that’s about 1½ miles around with a nice walking path,” Mark notes. “I decided to walk that path every day. But my low back pain was exacerbated when I walked. I had to stop no less than six times when walking around the lake.

“After my first spinal decompression treatment, I walked around the lake and had to stop six times just like before. The next day, the same thing happened, but after the third day, I only had to stop four times. After successive decompression treatments, I was stopping fewer and fewer times. After six treatments, I was able to walk around the lake without stopping, and it’s been that way ever since.”

Mark completed all 24 treatments and achieved excellent results.

“When I walk around that lake now, I experience no pain whatsoever,” Mark enthuses. “I’m just as happy as I can be. I’m 65 years old. I wouldn’t say I have the back of a 25-year-old, but I certainly have the back I had 20 years ago again.

“Dr. Rogers is an expert in his field and runs a very professional establishment. He’s also a very nice guy. His spinal decompression treatment was a godsend for me.” 

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photo by Jordan Pysz. js
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    • Disc Centers of America - Largo

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    • Marc J Rogers, DC

      Marc J Rogers, DC, earned his undergraduate degree from Florida State University in 1994. He earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life University School of Chiropractic in Marietta, GA, in 1999. He is board-certified in phys... Read More