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Cervical Treatment

Neck-photoNeck and arm pain are common symptoms affecting as much as 50% of individuals sometime during their lives. Traditionally, patients have been treated with a combination of medications and cervical traction.

Current devices apply cervical traction with a halter or harness/slide mechanism with the head and neck in some degree of flexion. The current standard protocol includes the use of tensions in the 25-50 lb range; the use of an angle of 15° to 20° of flexion for all clinical indications; treatment time of 5-10 minutes; and linear (straight-line) modes of either static or intermittent tension.  We have found that none of these standard protocols are useful for treating chronic cervical pain from herniated or degenerative disc disease.

There are multiple randomized clinical trials of standard traction demonstrating that there is no significant benefit for traction over the control treatments. According the textbook ‘The Adult Spine, Principles & Practice’ and ‘The Quebec Task Force on Spinal Disorders’, there is no scientific evidence to support the use of traction despite its widespread application in practice.

The kinematics of the cervical spine is not determined solely by the passive elements (discs, facets, ligaments and vertebrae) but is strongly influenced by the active elements (the muscles and tendons). Flexion of the head relative to the thorax (due to three dimensional movements) allows an infinite number of postures assumed by the cervical vertebrae, each produced by different amounts of contraction of the various cervical muscles.

In order to ‘decompress’ the discs in the cervical spine, it is critical to avoid muscle guarding (and spasm) that will not only resist the pull but will apply a ‘counter’ force to the tension and will actually increase the disc pressure. The incorrect angle of pull can actually ‘trigger’ muscle guarding.

The revolutionary Genesis  technology combines applying tension in a logarithmic time/force curve, and establishing an optimal  ‘arc’ or ‘curve’ of the tension source (either in flexion or extension).

Patients are now able to really relax the head and neck muscles during treatment, while the tension reduces the load on the spine. Most patients may now be treated within a range of 10-22 lbs of tension, each with their own specific programmed dynamic arc.  Patients treated for cervical decompression is placed on the table in the supine (face-up) position, with their head at the tensioning end of the table.

The G2 Cervical system uses VAX-D’s cervical protocols, which include proprietary hardware, software and treatment methods developed exclusively by VAX-D.

Patients receiving VAX-D cervical treatment are treated wearing a harness with a supportive cervical/neck collar.  The collar is a critical part of the harness that is designed to allow some mobility of the patient’s head and neck during distraction, while providing the total support of a circumferential lifting system.