Still By Her Side

Innovative spinal therapy allows patient to keep promise to ailing wife.

In 2017, James Hooks and his wife were struck by a car while strolling through a crosswalk outside of LECOM Park, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ spring training stadium in Bradenton. The accident left the couple seriously injured.

“My lovely wife has been in a coma ever since and has undergone 10 operations,” James reveals. “As for me, my leg was broken in three places, my head was cut open and I had bleeding in my brain. My back was also injured. I didn’t realize the extent of that injury until I started walking and felt severe pain.

James Hooks and his wife, Laverne

James Hooks and his wife, Laverne

“The pain in my back felt like a burning sensation, and it was worse when I stood up. I couldn’t do the simplest tasks, such as sweeping, pressure washing or even washing the car, without experiencing pain. The burning sensation would become so bad that I’d have to sit down. But even when I was sitting, the pain was still a four or five on a scale of one to 10. And then, whenever I would stand up, it shot up to a 10. Physically, I wasn’t able to do anything.”

Testing revealed that the cause of James’ back pain was two discs that had degenerated and collapsed, one on top of the other. A spine specialist recommended surgery to restore the discs and decrease the pain, but James was in no hurry to go under the knife.

“I realized that something had to be done, and as I understood it, the only thing that could be done was an operation,” James discloses. “But I haven’t heard of many successful back operations. The ones I knew of personally were unsuccessful, and those people had to have several surgeries. I didn’t want that.

“But the main reason I didn’t want surgery was because I promised to visit my wife every day. If I committed to an operation, I’d be laid up and wouldn’t be able to visit her. We’re faithful folks. We believe in divine healing. I believe God is going to raise her up and heal her. I decided to wait until my wife was healed before having my back taken care of.

“Then I saw an article in Florida Health Care News about Dr. Aderholdt. What really got me was that his treatment for back pain is nonsurgical. I thought, That’s the way to go. It caught my interest so I decided to pursue it.”

Focused Decompression

Craig S. Aderholdt, DC, at Back Pain Institute of West Florida, provides the most advanced treatments for patients in severe pain. Among those treatments is VAX-D® therapy, a patented, FDA-approved medical decompression technique for alleviating pressure on the discs of the spine. 

James now has less pain when performing his everyday tasks, such as washing the car.

James now has less pain when performing his everyday tasks, such as washing the car.

“When James came to us, he was suffering with a very painful low back condition resulting from degenerated spinal discs,” recalls Dr. Aderholdt, one of the few doctors in the country offering VAX-D. “Based on the findings of the physical exam, James’ history of symptoms and the results of his x-ray, I recommended VAX-D therapy.”

Vertebral axial decompression, or VAX-D, is not a traction device, Dr. Aderholdt declares. It works differently than traction and achieves substantially better results.

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

VAX-D therapy is effective at alleviating low back and neck pain, the doctor asserts. It also helps with numbness, tingling and pain that radiates down the arms and legs. Because of his low back pain, James was considered an excellent candidate.

During a VAX-D 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 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 discloses. “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.”

Proven Effective

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 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 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.”

“VAX-D is an excellent alternative to surgery and injections that deaden the nerves but don’t correct the disc problem,” James relates. “The treatment is definitely worth everything you put into it to obtain pain relief without surgery.”

Considerably Less Pain

James recently completed an initial course of VAX-D therapy and says he’s noticed significant improvement in his back.

“My pain level is much lower now than what it was before the treatment,” he enthuses. “Previously, I could only stand for two or three minutes before the burning sensation started. Now, when I go to church, I can stand through three or four songs without pain.

“The treatment has helped considerably. When I sat before, my pain level was a four or five. Now it’s two or less. And whenever I stood up to do any kind of work, the pain went up to a 10. But now it’s around a five. And when it gets to a five, I just sit down.”

According to James, the initial course of VAX-D therapy successfully restored one of his degenerated spinal discs. He is now receiving a second course of therapy for the other disc.

“Dr. Aderholdt explained that two of my discs were compacted together, and the one above is pretty much back to normal,” James confirms. “But the lower disc, which is close to my waist, still needs more treatment to return to normal. I’m continuing VAX-D therapy to get the bottom disc where it should be.”

James’ back has improved greatly – and without surgery. Dr. Aderholdt and his VAX-D therapy have allowed James to heal while continuing to visit his wife. 

“The doctor is top-notch,” he raves. “He’s very personable and is sincerely interested in his patients. He truly believes in healing and helping relieve people of their pain. That’s the motivation behind his practice. The staff in the office is also top-notch. They make sure I’m comfortable and are very helpful in getting me situated for treatment. They’re very pleasant and kind. They treat me well and are very encouraging.

“I definitely recommend Dr. Aderholdt and Back Pain Institute of West Florida.”  

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photo by Jordan Pysz. Cover photo courtesy of James Hooks. mkb
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