Food For Thought

Unique vacuum decompression nourishes pain-relieving repair cells, alleviates back pain.

As a consumer safety officer for the Food and Drug Administration, Anthony Ronga performed unannounced inspections of food manufacturing plants across the country. The inspections were designed to assess compliance with sanitation regulations and ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply.

“I served as an FDA safety officer for the last five years of my career,” Anthony, 79, recounts. “Before that, I was director of quality assurance for IGA, which is a national chain of grocery stores. I worked for IGA for about 20 years.”

Working in the food industry wasn’t Anthony’s first career choice.

“I wanted to be a veterinarian,” he discloses. “I always liked animals and wanted to help them. But I was told I couldn’t be a veterinarian because I was too slight of build; I wouldn’t be able to lift a horse. That’s unbelievable in this day and age. Today, there are many female veterinarians who are slight of build, and they do just fine.”

Anthony was disappointed but moved on. While earning a biology degree from DePaul University in Chicago, Anthony got a part-time job in the laboratory of a national food company. Once he graduated in 1970, the company offered him a full-time position.

“The job involved testing the products that the company manufactured,” Anthony divulges. “I stayed at that company for about 10 years. Around 1985, I went to IGA. I worked in the food industry for close to 50 years in all. I liked the work. I liked helping companies and helping people, making sure their food was safe.”

For most of his career and into retirement, Anthony dealt with chronic back pain. He doesn’t recall any injury precipitating the pain. His back simply began hurting, and the pain became progressively worse as the years went by. Early this year, the pain flared up again. It was almost disabling.

“It was a stabbing pain,” Anthony describes. “It got worse if I sat for more than 20 minutes. But I had to sit or lie down because it hurt to stand and walk, and it caused me to be hunched over. Someone told me I looked like an old man bent over like that.

“I have a treadmill at home, and I can walk on it for 30 minutes without experiencing any back pain.” – Anthony

“I was going to the gym, walking on a treadmill and lifting light weights, but I had to give that up because of the pain, which was about a seven on a scale of one to 10. I tried acetaminophen, but I didn’t want to keep taking pills all the time.

“Doctors told me I have scoliosis, a sideways curve in my spine that probably goes back to my childhood. My back pain was getting worse and worse so I decided to seek help.”

Anthony tried traditional chiropractic treatments, but they didn’t ease his pain. His primary care provider ordered a bone scan to evaluate his bone health, but it revealed no signs of osteoporosis or fractures. Then he learned about a unique spinal treatment called VAX-D® therapy offered by Craig S. Aderholdt, DC, at Back Pain Institute of West Florida.

“I was at the lab getting a blood test and saw a copy of Florida Health Care News,” Anthony recalls. “I read about the VAX-D therapy Dr. Aderholdt offers and thought maybe it could help me. I contacted his office and made an appointment.”

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

Targeted Movements

VAX-D, or vertebral axial decompression, is not a traction device, Dr. Aderholdt stresses. It works differently than traction and achieves substantially better results. In addition to alleviating low back and neck pain, VAX-D therapy helps with numbness, tingling and pain that radiates down the arms and legs.

“For many patients, chiropractic adjustments alone can relieve the pain,” Dr. Aderholdt maintains, “but for select people with conditions such as sciatica or herniated, bulging or degenerated discs, VAX-D therapy has proven extremely successful.”

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 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 emphasizes, 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.”

“I Have No Pain”

Like many patients receiving VAX-D therapy, Anthony noticed positive changes to his back condition after just a few treatments. But he followed Dr. Aderholdt’s advice and completed his entire course of therapy.

“After about the fifth treatment, I was able to stand up for longer periods of time,” Anthony relates. “And I got progressively better as the treatments went on. I completed a total of 15 treatments, and they were very effective. I can now stand for a couple of hours without any pain. And I stand up straighter. People have noticed that; even Dr. Aderholdt noticed it.”
Thanks to VAX-D therapy, Anthony can walk and exercise again as well.

“I don’t go to the gym because of COVID, but I have a treadmill at home, and I can walk on it for 30 minutes without experiencing any back pain,” he enthuses. “Before, my pain level was a seven. Now it’s zero. I have no pain.”

Anthony is thrilled with the results of his treatment. He’s also pleased with the providers at Back Pain Institute of West Florida.

“I liked Dr. Aderholdt from the moment I met him,” Anthony raves. “He’s very knowledgeable and explained everything to me. He’s also honest and concerned about his patients. And his staff is wonderful, very friendly and patient. They’re compassionate, understanding, polite and helpful.”

Life-Changing Pain

Dr. Craig Aderholdt at Back Pain Institute of West Florida in Bradenton and Sarasota treated Anthony Ronga and Kechia Hignight for back pain using VAX-D therapy.

After Treatment with VAX-D therapy, Kechia no longer takes medication for her back pain.

Kechia Hignight loved her job as a hospital corpsman in the Navy. She remained in the service for 10 years, which included a year and a half in the Persian Gulf ministering to injured sailors. Following her military discharge, Kechia chose a slightly different career path.

“After being separated from my children for 18 months, I wanted to be more present in their lives,” shares Kechia, 56. “When I returned from the Gulf War, I didn’t want to do hands-on patient care. I learned transcription skills while working as a legal secretary and was familiar with medical terminology. I basically fell into medical transcription.”

Kechia found the work interesting and educational. It also permitted her to spend quality time with her children.

“I transcribed for hospitals all over the country in every discipline,” Kechia muses. “The job let me stay in the medical field and learn about new equipment and procedures. It also allowed me to work from home and be there when my kids needed me.”

Kechia thrived in that profession for 25 years, but she was forced to retire a few years ago when pain from a back injury made it impossible to sit for long periods. Her injury occurred on a hiking trip with her parents in 2004.

“We were stepping off a large rock, and as my father reached up for my hand, I slipped,” the Illinois native recounts. “My feet fell out from under me, and I landed on my right side. I knew my back was injured the minute it happened.”

At first, the discomfort wasn’t terrible, but over time it evolved into severe nerve pain.

“On a regular basis, my pain level sat at a crippling eight,” she details. “It was so bad that I couldn’t run anymore or ride in a car for long periods because my fingers would go numb when I drove. When I sat on the couch, it felt like my legs were full of bees because of the nerve pain. “Everybody’s head weighs approximately 10 pounds, but mine felt like it weighed 50 pounds. It caused the muscles in my neck and shoulders to be extremely tight. It felt like somebody was sitting on top of me. The pain was life-changing because it severely limited me, and I had always been a very healthy and active person. It was horrible to live with.”

Seeking to ease the agony, Kechia tried pain medications as well as physical therapy, massage therapy and chiropractic treatments. Nothing helped.

“The pain relief feels like a miracle to me.” – Kechia

Believing she faced a lifetime of pain, Kechia felt hopeless and depressed. But her fortunes changed in 2020, when her husband discovered Florida Health Care News in his doctor’s waiting room and he saw an article about Dr. Aderholdt and his VAX-D therapy.

He took the publication home to Kechia and said, You should try this. She agreed.

“Kechia was in severe pain when she came to us,” Dr. Aderholdt recalls. “First, we discussed her symptom history in detail. I then performed a physical exam and reviewed her x-rays. Based on the information I gathered, I determined that Kechia was a good candidate for VAX-D therapy.”

“Like a Miracle”

VAX-D’s vacuum effect is highly effective at mending degenerated spinal discs and relieving pain. Another advantage of Vax-D: It can eliminate the need for surgery.

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

Kechia is aware of all the complications that can arise from surgery. That’s why she’s grateful VAX-D allowed her to avoid it.

“I used to transcribe reports of back surgeries, and the outcomes were 50-50,” she asserts. “Some people come out of surgery feeling magically better. Others go through the trauma of surgery and get no relief. I don’t want to be in those circumstances. Thankfully, I’m not.”

Kechia received significant benefits from VAX-D therapy. She no longer needs to take opioids for her pain, and she considers that a huge accomplishment.

“My pain level is maybe a three, and I can get by with ibuprofen or acetaminophen,” she beams. “There’s a considerable difference in the discomfort in my head, and the tightness in my neck and shoulders has greatly improved. The pain relief feels like a miracle to me.”

Like Anthony, Kechia has high regard for the doctor that cared for her.

“I love Dr. Aderholdt,” Kechia raves. “He explained the reasons for some of the other symptoms I was experiencing, such as why I felt tingling in my legs, but only in my calves. He told me it’s because a disc in my lower back was compressing the nerve going down the side of my calves.

“And I never knew it at the time, but it turns out that this constant sinus pressure I had was actually because a cervical disc had slid to one side and onto the nerve that services my sinus cavity. Knowing the cause of my symptoms actually made me feel better. At least I understood why they were occurring.”

Kechia wholeheartedly agrees with Anthony who says, “I highly recommend VAX-D therapy and Dr. Aderholdt to anyone with back pain.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Kechia photo by Jordan Pysz. mkb
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