Cream of the Crop

Unique vacuum therapy relieves back pain.

Photo by Robert Clark/courtesy of Gary Reeder

Gary Reeder

Gary Reeder, 65, is a fourth-generation Manatee County tomato grower. Gary retired in July after 45 years in the business. He’s the Manatee County Farm Bureau president and previously served on the State Advisory Committee Board. But the career farmer didn’t always want to grow tomatoes.

“When I was growing up, I didn’t want anything to do with farming because all my weekends were spent working on the farm,” Gary relates. “I wasn’t thinking about doing that as my lifelong career, but I had no other real prospects. I worked for a little while in air conditioning but didn’t know if that was going to be my career. I really didn’t have a big idea of what I wanted to do. I wanted to get through college and go from there.

“Then, on a Sunday afternoon during my third semester in college, my dad called me and said, “Son, if I’m going to keep this farm going, I need your help. I’ll see you at breakfast tomorrow at six o’clock. What was I going to do? I was going to work for my dad. I was about twenty years old at the time. That’s how I started as a tomato farmer.”

Running a farm is grueling business, and Gary’s family farm, which started as 200 acres, grew to 600 acres with crops in the fall and spring. Gary was involved in every aspect of the farming process, which included extensive lifting and bending and hours spent riding on a tractor. An incident with a tractor when he was 25 had long-lasting repercussions for Gary.

“I went into a ditch on the tractor, and the seat bottomed out on me,” Gary recalls. “I’ve had back problems ever since, and they progressed as I continued doing physical labor and riding on tractors. There was always an aching pain in my back, but two or three times a year, the pain became excruciating.

“At those times, it was a stabbing pain. It felt like someone was sticking an ice pick into my back. And there was nerve pain running all the way to the bottoms of my feet. It usually took about a week to get over that, but the aching was constant.”

This pattern went on for many years, but this past year, Gary’s back pain reached a tipping point.

“There was pain pretty consistently since the tractor accident, but I was able to bear it and deal with it,” Gary states. “But last year, my back pain became critical. It hurt so bad, I couldn’t function properly. I could barely walk. I could hardly even move.”

Gary tried chiropractic treatment, physical therapy and steroid injections into his back, but none of those treatments brought him lasting pain relief. At that point, Gary’s doctor made the recommendation Gary dreaded.

“The last time I went for a steroid injection, the orthopedic surgeon told me the next step was surgery, but I didn’t want surgery,” Gary shares. “I wanted to find something else that would help me. I read about Dr. Aderholdt in Florida Health Care News, and that’s when I got involved with VAX-D® Therapy.”

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

“My MRI showed two moderately herniated discs in my lumbar spine and severe stenosis in my sacrum area,” Gary describes. “Dr. Aderholdt explained that the stabbing pain was my nerves getting pinched. There wasn’t enough room for them with the herniating discs and the narrowing in the spinal canal.

“Dr. Aderholdt told me he could help me with my pain. He’s very in tune with what he wants to accomplish with VAX-D Therapy, and he explained how it can help me and why it helps. I didn’t want to go through surgery for my back pain, so I started VAX-D Therapy.”

Negative Pressure

While VAX-D Therapy is a medical decompression technique, it is not a traction device, Dr. Aderholdt stresses. It works differently and achieves significantly better results, the doctor reports.

“For many patients, chiropractic adjustments alone can actually relieve their pain,” observes Dr. Aderholdt, who is one of the few doctors in the country who offer the unique VAX-D treatment.

“But for select people with sciatica or herniated, bulging or degenerated discs, VAX-D Therapy has proven extremely effective. Gary was a good candidate because the treatment can alleviate low back pain as well as neck pain, numbness, tingling and pain radiating down the arms and legs.”

During VAX-D Therapy, the patient relaxes on a comfortable, computer-controlled table, secured with 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, so it enables the table to make subtle but targeted movements, which create a powerful vacuum within the disc space. This vacuum gently draws the disc back to its proper orientation, which pulls nutrient-rich spinal fluid into the disc and stimulates repair cells that effectively mend the disc.

“Nothing else can create such a powerful vacuum,” Dr. Aderholdt asserts. “That is what makes VAX-D such a valuable tool for pain relief. There are imitators, but the vacuum effect is the most powerful one known.

“Unlike other machines, VAX-D doesn’t allow the muscles to contract. In fact, it is the only nonsurgical treatment that has been clinically proven to reduce disc pressure to negative levels.”

Patient Satisfaction

VAX-D treatments last about half an hour and have a long track record of leaving patients such as Gary satisfied, Dr. Aderholdt notes. Long-term studies show that VAX-D is effective in more than 88 percent of patients who go through the treatment.

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

Dr. Aderholdt states that many patients report a significant reduction in back pain within only a few treatments, although the total healing process takes longer. The reason it takes a longer period of time, Dr. Aderholdt explains, is that bulging or herniated discs require a series of VAX-D 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 emphasizes. “You must follow through with all of the required treatments to get the full benefit.”

The doctor points out that VAX-D Therapy has the added benefit of eliminating the need for surgery in many cases.

“Gary wanted to avoid surgery, and that is something that VAX-D allows,” Dr. Aderholdt states. “With surgery, there is the potential for serious complications. VAX-D is noninvasive, so those complications are avoided.”

The VAX-D treatments proved to be extremely effective for Gary’s herniated discs and spinal stenosis. Just as he hoped, they alleviated his pain, allowed him to avoid surgery on his back and vastly improved his quality of life.

“When I first started with Dr. Aderholdt, they asked me about my pain level on a scale of one to ten,” Gary remembers. “At that time, I told them it was an eight. But after three months of VAX-D Therapy, I was one hundred percent back pain free, and that constant ache that I had is gone as well. I haven’t felt this good in fifty years.

“The last x-ray Dr. Aderholdt ordered showed my discs went from two millimeters to a centimeter thick. The discs had also filled back up with fluid and are not herniated anymore, so there’s no more back pain. And there’s plenty of room for the nerves, so I no longer have nerve pain to the bottoms of my feet.

“My range of motion is phenomenal as well – one hundred percent better than what it was. And to think – four months ago, I could barely move. I could hardly walk. VAX-D Therapy has been one hundred percent successful for me. I’m incredibly happy with my results.”

Gary is also happy with his treatment at Back Pain Institute of West Florida. He says he “absolutely” recommends Dr. Aderholdt and VAX-D Therapy to others with back pain.

“I’ve already recommended it to four people, and three of them are doing the therapy with Dr. Aderholdt right now,” Gary reports. “With VAX-D Therapy at Back Pain Institute of West Florida, I’m completely pain free. It’s amazing.”

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