Leader In Disc Management

Computerized VAX-D’s powerful vacuum for taming spinal pain

Ever since he was a teen, Brian Hinkley has wanted to help people. As an adult, he got his wish. He became a patient services liaison for a hospital’s behavioral health center.

“I help people who are hurting and broken,” acknowledges Brian, 47. “Mine is one of the first faces the patients see when they come in. They’re in a psychiatric crisis, so they’re extremely emotional.

“Our center’s treatment program is very structured. Patients attend groups throughout the day. They also engage in activities that stimulate their mind and their senses, which gets their mind off their crises. 

“And for me, there’s no greater feeling than the one I get when I’ve successfully seen someone through their problems and they’re no longer depressed, suicidal or in crisis. I don’t think there’s any greater endeavor than helping somebody change their forever. 

“And that’s what I get to do. My favorite word is encourage because it literally means to put courage into people. I get to encourage and help people, and I love it. This work is more than a job for me. It’s a calling.”

Once a month, Brian puts on his instructor hat. He and a co-worker teach other hospital employees how to handle difficult situations with patients who are highly emotional and “acting out.” 

“We teach what’s known as non-violent crisis prevention intervention, or CPI,” Brian elaborates. “We give the staff all the tools they need to successfully deescalate a situation and keep patients safe at all times.”

Last October, a situation in Brian’s life outside of work escalated quickly and endangered himself and his girlfriend.

“We had driven to Lakewood Ranch, which is about five or six miles from my house, to a pizza buffet,” Brian recounts. “On our way home, we were driving through an intersection that’s only a couple of blocks from my house.

“The next thing I know, there’s a car right in front of us. It flew through a red light and hit us head-on. It was very scary. Seven airbags exploded, and in my head I thought, This is it. I’m going to die.”

Brian and his girlfriend survived, but he suffered a neck injury that began to affect him almost immediately and soon became chronic.

“It was like my neck took the entire impact of the crash,” Brian laments. “There was constant stiffness in my neck. I couldn’t turn it freely to the left or right. It was locked up. When I looked over my shoulder to see my blind spot while driving, I’d feel extreme pain in my neck. It was definitely a nine or 10 on a scale of one to 10. I was constantly popping pain pills, especially to sleep at night. The pain was unbearable.

“Then I remembered my ex-wife telling me about VAX-D® therapy and how successful it is at relieving pain.”

His ex-wife previously worked for Craig S. Aderholdt, DC, the founder of Back Pain Institute of West Florida and one of the few providers in the country to offer VAX-D, or vertebral axial decompression, a patented, FDA-approved technique for alleviating spinal disc pressure. 

“I knew I had to do something to get rid of my neck pain because medication wasn’t going to do it,” Brian says. “It was either surgery or VAX-D, and to me the solution was simple. VAX-D therapy was what I needed.”

So, he made an appointment with Dr. Aderholdt.

Powerful Vacuum 

During their initial meeting, the doctor ordered an MRI that revealed a herniated disc and several bulging discs in Brian’s cervical spine.

Those disc issues were causing Brian “a great deal of pain,” according to Dr. Aderholdt, who recommended VAX-D therapy to treat the problem.

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

Dr. Aderholdt emphasizes that VAX-D is not a traction device. It works differently and achieves substantially better results in patients with low back and neck pain. It also helps with numbness, tingling and pain that radiates down the arms and legs. 

During a typical session, the patient relaxes on a comfortable, computer-controlled table, and is 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 levels of dysfunction. The computer program 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 in nutrient-rich spinal fluid 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, Dr. Aderholdt professes. Many patients report a significant reduction in back or neck pain after only a few treatments, although Dr. Aderholdt stresses that actual healing takes longer because repositioning bulging or herniated discs requires a full series of sessions.

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

Another advantage of VAX-D is that it can eliminate the need for surgery.

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

“Like a Miracle”

Brian is about halfway through his VAX-D protocol. Like many patients, he noticed a significant decrease in his pain early in his therapy.

“After the third week, or the ninth treatment, I looked at Dr. Aderholdt and his staff and said, I can’t believe how good I feel. This is like a miracle,” Brian enthuses. “My pain now is a three or four, and it’s continuing to get better. It’s night and day compared to how I felt when I first came to see Dr. Aderholdt.

“And thankfully, I don’t have to take painkillers anymore. In fact, within the second week of going to Back Pain Institute of West Florida, I stopped taking pain medication. And I’m sleeping better than I was before starting this treatment.”

Brian heard good things about Dr. Aderholdt from his ex-wife. Then he experienced the pain specialist’s expertise and compassion firsthand.

“Dr. Aderholdt is fabulous. I give him five stars,” Brian raves. “He has a real gift. He’s a man of honesty and integrity. He treats everybody the way you want yourself or your family members to be treated. He gives it his all and goes above and beyond to make sure you’re OK. He’s passionate about what he does, and he’s in this to heal people.

“Just like me working in a behavioral health clinic, Dr. Aderholdt is called to do this work. It’s refreshing to meet a doctor who really is concerned about helping people. I highly recommend him, and I would recommend VAX-D therapy to anybody in pain.”

Saved From Surgery

Ian Lupski loves the outdoors. He especially loves being near the water. In his free time, the single father enjoys fishing and taking his 8-year-old son, Elijah — and his dog — to the beach to frolic in the surf. For more than half his life, Ian’s career has allowed him to work outside as well.

“I grew up in Fort Myers and ran my father’s tree service and landscaping business,” elaborates Ian, 40. “I worked with my father for more than 20 years. I enjoyed my job, but working for family is both nice and difficult at the same time. 

“What I really liked about that job was working outdoors, and I had very good relationships with our customers. Most of them had known me since I was a baby, so it was like having 300 grandmothers. Everybody was really sweet. When my son was born, they threw me a huge baby shower and got my son everything he needed. It was cool.”

When his son’s mother passed away in 2018, Ian moved to Bradenton to get a fresh start. That also meant getting a new job. He began as a carpenter, a trade Ian appreciates for its spiritual significance.

“It’s the same job that Jesus had,” he shares. “Jesus was a carpenter, but in my role as a carpenter, I mostly build custom homes. I also remodel existing homes. We do a little bit of everything.”

A year ago, after he was involved in a serious motor vehicle collision that resulted in painful injuries to his lumbar and cervical spine, Ian’s capacity to easily perform those tasks was compromised.

“I had rented a U-Haul® pickup with an auto-transport trailer so I could pick up a car in Fort Myers and bring it to Bradenton,” Ian recounts. “As I was sitting at a stoplight, an RV rear-ended the trailer and pushed the pickup into the car in front.

“Immediately, I felt pain in my neck and lower back and down my legs. It felt like I was being shocked, like I was being electrocuted. On a scale of one to 10, my pain was a 10.”

Ian’s lower back pain was excruciating, but it didn’t stop him.

“I’m used to working hard jobs, and my whole life my father told me, Stop being a wimp and get back to work,” he reveals. “My back was painful, but I’m the only surviving parent my son has, and I have to take care of him, so I tried to tough it out and continue to work. 

“But when my co-workers saw me limping and hobbling around because of the pain, they said, You need to see a doctor. You can’t be miserable like this. My lawyer recommended Dr. Aderholdt.” 

During their initial appointment, Dr. Aderholdt conducted a thorough examination that revealed Ian had several herniated and bulging discs in his lower back. A disc in his neck was herniated as well. Based on those findings, Dr. Aderholdt recommended VAX-D therapy.

“When all this happened and I was seeing different doctors, some were saying I might have to have surgery, and that scared me,” Ian remembers. “Dr. Aderholdt told me VAX-D is a good alternative to surgery, so I agreed to try it because I didn’t want to be cut open.”

“Great” Treatment

Dr. Aderholdt told Ian that decompressing the spine is a serious process that takes time and that the body must acclimate to the treatment, but within a few weeks of starting VAX-D therapy, Ian says his lower back was already feeling “a lot better.”

The treatment worked so well that Ian agreed to receive VAX-D therapy on his neck as well. Completed in December, Ian’s two-phase protocol brought him substantial pain relief.

“VAX-D therapy worked really well for me.” Ian confirms. “My pain used to be a 10. Now it’s about a two. Before treatment, the pain kept me from sleeping well at night. Now, I sleep fine.”

Ian has now entered the maintenance phase of the program. That includes receiving chiropractic adjustments and other treatments that may be needed to ensure the body heals properly.

Ian is pleased with the outcome of his VAX-D therapy. He’s also delighted with the provider and his staff.

“I really like Dr. Aderholdt; he’s a good guy,” Ian raves. “He’s super knowledgeable, yet he can also explain things in layman’s terms so I can understand, which is really cool. That’s really important because I don’t know the medical terms.

“I especially like the environment at Back Pain Institute of West Florida. There are certain companies that you know are in business for the money, but you can tell these guys are in it to help people. I recommend VAX-D therapy 100 percent, and I definitely recommend Back Pain Institute of West Florida. The people there are great and so is the treatment.”

© FHCN staff article

Photo by Jordan Pysz

Print This Article