As we live our lives throughout the life, humans may have to live struggling with countless diseases. Among them, one of the common problems is the spinal disease.
It seems that there are rare who is free from lower back pain, neck or shoulder pain. Most people experience symptoms such as tingling sensation, numbness or deep pulling sensation on the extremities.
What do we think of the causes when
we feel such symptoms on the arms, hands, legs and feet? Many would
reach a quick wrong conclusion that these symptoms come from insufficient
blood circulation. Hence, it is easy to try to find inadequate treatments.
Time and money are wasted, not to mention the loss of confidence
to treat their disease.
The second one is the narrowed intervertebral foramen through which nerve root come out, due to the enlarged posterior articular facet joint (hypertrophy or edema) and, or decreased intervertebral space. It is spinal stenosis. The hypertrophied or edematous joint could compress nerve on erect.
the muscle spasm of cervical or pelvic could compress the nerve passing
through them, and it takes up much of the tension headache and migraine
we commonly know of.
If it is due to a herniated disc, you have to reduce the protruded disc back into its proper place or get surgery, excision, if indicated. It will be completely treated if prevented from protruding again by keeping desirable posture.
In spinal stenosis, you may widen intervertebral spaces and intervertebral foramina by traction and reducing the lordosis with continuous abdominal muscle exercise, and reducing intervertebral disc, coexist by traction treatment. If intervertebral foramen is too narrow, they should request surgical intervention.
You can use a heat therapy such as hot pack, infrared,
ultrasound or diathermy, or massage to relieve muscle spasm in the
neck or shoulder. The most fast and effective method to relieve
muscle spasm and strain is the traction therapy to stretch and relax
muscles. You can prevent recurrence by keeping correct posture -
pulling the jaw and head backward so that the cervical muscles are
not overloaded again.
In order to have a proper understanding, we will look into an outline of the anatomy.
Spinal column comprises the 7 cervical vertebrae (nerves are C1~8) from the top), 12 thoracic vertebrae (T1~12), 5 lumbar vertebrae (L1~5), sacrum (S1~3) and the coccyx. Each shape or size is similar but different, yet the structure can largely be elucidated as follows:
It comprises a vertebral body, which is the main body
of the vertebra; a spinal canal which a spinal cord passes through
behind the body; 2 intervertebral foramina which nerve roots branch
out; spinous processes; 2 pedicles that connects between vertebral
body and lamina; the lamina like as roof; pair of superior and inferior articular processes, which
prevent spine not to slip forward from their alignment. Superior
and inferior articular processes make an articulation to posterior
articular facet joint. Intervertebral discs exist between upper
and lower vertebral bodies.
Spinal cord passes through the spinal canal. The ligamentum flavum attached vertically along the lamina in side. Sometimes, ligaments may become thickened or calcified with degeneration process.
The transverse and spinous process themselves are connected by ligaments and the supraspinatus ligament cover the spinous processes. Lifting heavy material abruptly with their lower back flexed forward could result in the herniated disc and/or ligaments injury.
As the disc protruded, the posterior longitudinal ligament could be bulged posteriorly, too. Traction therapy plays an important role in reducing the herniated disc into its proper place by two mechanisms. The ligament is stretched with traction and pushes the disc inside. The negative pressure, applied by traction could suck bulging or protruded disc inside.
The disc is shaped oval from superior
view. Its external part is consisted of durable capsule, annulus
fibrosus, in which gelatinous material, nucleus pulposus, is contained.
It acts as shock absorber against load and permits spinal mobility.
Herniated intervertebral disc (Herniated nucleus pulposus, HNP):
a long time with their head drooped and lower back bent forward
for a long time, lifting material abruptly, whiplash injury, twisting
injury, etc may cause disc herniated (bulged, protruded or extruded)
posteriorly or posterolaterally.
Herniated disc will not go back to its proper place even if one takes drugs, acupuncture, attaching any agents, etc. There are many people who are willing to such futile treatments without understanding the true principle of treatment. Fortunately, there are many patients who visit hospitals and get professional care as inpatients. Likewise, for the reason of not understanding the instructions of the posture principle, some may show symptomatic improvement at the time of treatment, but the pain may return in these patients shortly after therapy. There are diseases that can be healed just by doctor¡¯s treatments without knowing the therapeutic principles. On the contrary, vertebral ailments may not be healed completely without knowing the therapeutic principle by patients themselves.
There are two-treatment modes, conservative approaches and surgical method in herniated intervertebral disc. In more than 90% of the disc patients, surgical methods are not required and it is possible to recover with conservative approach such as bed rest and physical therapy. The old and hardened herniated discs, into which the nucleus purposes flowed from rupture of annulus fibrosus, are not cured by the conventional method. Also, one should have operation only for surgical indications such as the emergency situation where severe extruded disc compressing the spinal cord, and no response on conservative treatment.
There is no reason to have the apprehension of premature
notion of having a surgery whenever one is diagnosed as having a
herniated disc. Patients must rest lying down in bed for a few days
during the acute phase of the herniated disc at the onset. Time
is necessary for the edema and inflammation around the nerve to
subside. If you endure the pain and carry on working during this
period, your condition will be worsened. Drugs such as muscle relaxants,
analgesics, and anti-inflammation are administered and cold pack
is applied on the first day. Heat therapy such as a hot pack and
continuous traction therapy might be applied from the next day.
When the disc is somewhat rigid, heat therapy should be preceded to relax muscles and soften the discs more. Traction treatment after such preparations can reduce the herniated disc faster and more effectively.
The MRI film obtained again during or after Airtrac treatment could differentiate whether the patient have to be operated or recovered with conservative treatment additionally the diagnosis of herniated disc.
However, there are patients whose protruded disc does not retract back with Airtrac. In this case, we have to check the method of Airtrac apply is correct. I f correct, then hot pack is applied for twenty minutes on the neck or lower back for muscle relaxation and softening the disc. And then, Airtrac is put on again and applied with more strong traction force for ten to thirty minutes. One does not require applying a hot pack or strong traction therapy every time and regular traction force is used to treat the discs after that. No symptomatic improvement or change on MRI film after Airtrac treatment as mentioned for several days or week, means surgical indication. With the comparative interpretation of the MR images before and after the traction therapy can provide more objective decision on whether surgery is indicated or not.
The disc reduced is still unstable and may protrude again on bending head or back forward. However, the disc will not be protruded and there will not be any symptoms as long as the normal lordotic posture is maintained. It is not easy to keep maintaining the desirable posture all day long. Thus, Airtrac must be put on and reduce the disc instantly as soon as the disc herniated again. One should maintain proper posture by pulling the chin and head backward, raise the head slightly upward and straighten the back with mildly strengthen abdominal muscle.
Reduction of the protruded disc is the job Airtrac does. To prevent the disc from being herniated again, they should keep the proper posture themselves. For those people who cannot maintain the proper posture well, they have to strengthen their back muscle everyday. Or Airtrac 5000 for mild traction and maintenance of support, which is developed for a long time use, has been introduced.
Thoracic vertebrae are curved backward (kyphotic). It is the condition with an angle, in which intervertebral disc can easily be protruded. However, thoracic disc herniation is rare. The reason is that the burden from upper body weight is dispersed to the rib cage, which support load instead. Since the 1st to 10th rib are united with cartilage and the 11th and 12th rib bones are floating, disc herniation can be observed occasionally below 10th thoracic spine. This discussion of thoracic discs is given for explaining the importance of muscle exercise. Strong muscle of abdomen and back can play a role like the ribcage.
Lumbar Airtrac is designed to hanging
for stretching force between ribcage (T10) and Pelvis; that could
widen the intervertebral spaces from the 10th thoracic to sacrum. There is no rib in the neck or back.
Thus, cervical and lumbar vertebrae get the whloe load of upper
body. It is huge pressure. We have to do the neck exercises and
train the back and abdominal muscles in order to disperse the loads.
Furthermore, muscles must be developed to maintain the proper posture.
That is the reason why there are more herniated disc cases with
the moderns who lack exercises. Muscle exercise is necessary to
prevent and cure herniated disc.
Maintain each position of exercise, while breathing naturally, for ten seconds a time and 10 to 20 times repeatedly. Such an exercises are performed 2 to 4 times a day. The amount of exercise could be gradually increased.
If we keep these 3 promises in the indication of conservative treatment, herniated disc can be cured permanentlytop
2. Spinal stenosis:
Such spinal stenosis can be treated by widening the intervertebral
foramen with traction therapy that increases the disc space, and
by decreasing lordosis with abdominal muscle exercise for fifteen
days to three months.
Degenerative spondylitis, Spondylosis:
In such case, one put on Airtrac 5000 to relieve the load of upper body weight (lifting) and the pain will be disappeared immediately. It allows one to carry on the normal daily lives.
If one¡¯s waist is oversize, he/she must use Airtrac 440 or 2000 instead. If the pain disappears, one can move around without lying down all the time. Hence, muscle weakness can be prevented, and concurrent exercise of the abdominal and back muscle can change the vicious circle and improvement will follow. Regardless of age, our body has a natural capacity to heal itself. Early administration of anti-arthritic drug at the onset will also be helpful, too. top
If a ligament is injured, the exact center of the back, where there is a groove, is painful especially on forward bending, like one would wash his/her face. It is easy to make the diagnosis on physical examination. For ligament sprain, the lesion should be well supported and avoid the posture of kyphosis listed above. It takes several weeks to stabilize and recover. Lately, there is injection introduced that shorten the healing process of ligament.
Office work such as desk job, long driving, automobile accident, cause for insomnia, etc. can injure neck muscles. Having a stiff neck or shoulder, etc., or pressing dull pain can harden it. The mechanism of action is that if one pushes the chin forward while bending the head forward, cervical vertebrae do not stand straight upward and lean forward. The head weighing as much as 10 lb. (5kg) tends to fall forward. The back of neck muscles and shoulders and back muscles will naturally be overloaded for a long time to support not to fall forward.
The muscle strain is effectively relieved by stretch and support (traction treatment) than hot pack or massage. It is similar to relieve calf cramp by pulling foot dorsally.
The nerves (C1~3) originates from cervical to head and orbits upward penetrating cervical muscle and fascia. In cervical muscle strain, the nerves (C1~3) could be wrung, and they complaint headache, ophthalmic pain or visual problem. It can be relieved with stretching (traction treatment), immediately.
After the treatment with Airtrac 1000 or 3000, the cervical vertebrae must keep in straight like the posture of "Attention!" in the Army, and let the head sit calmly on top of it. It can be cured completely without overload the muscles again.
Like in the herniated disc, complete cure is difficult, because keeping good posture is neglected commonly. Without understanding the treatment principle, getting simple treatment alone will be effective merely for a time being. Patients without the knowledge of treatment are saying frequently that even hospital treatments are only effective temporarily. top
5. Spondylolysis, Spondylolisthesis:
For the patients in the 1st and 2nd grade Spondylolisthesis, conservative treatment is applied. Muscle exercise, especially abdominal, can help them less to slipped forward. And it can be treated in the degree of not interfering the daily lives.
Airtrac 5000 and Airtrac 440 are helpful in this case.
If these apparatus is put on, these symptoms will disappear. Again,
at this time, one must remember the importance of long-term exercise. The
frequent diseases have been covered now, There are other miscellaneous
disorders, but we will omit them here. top
Traction is the treatment for the underlying cause od herniated disc, with which the affected lesion can be stretched. Real ambulatory traction means lifting upper bodyweight instead of spine.
The principle of traction
posture and Vector
or intermittent traction
posture and vector
--- Summary --- (Function and treatment principle)