Spinal Therapies

The quest to reverse/cure/control my degerenerative lumbar disc disease continues. Last time I talked about my experience with Bowen Therapy. I haven’t tried anything new yet, but I’ve been poking around for other options. Among them is non-surgical spinal decompression therapy, using a device called the DRX-9000.

I’m quite skeptical of medical claims made my companies with no formal association with recognized clinics or hospitals. However, this therapy appears to have no negative downside, so I am considering it. My physiotherapist is rightly skeptical of its claims, as well, but agrees that it cannot hurt me. The worst that could happen is that I experience no change, and would be out a chunk of change.

Well, it’s more than a chunk of change. From what I gather, the DRX9000 programme requires about 20 sessions, each costing about $200. It’s essentially a system of controlled, sustained traction. Sounds rather comfortable, actually.

Being a medical scientist, I first turned to the published literature to see what studies had been conducted on the device’s efficacy and safety. I’ve only found this one so far, “Treatment of 94 outpatients with chronic discogenic low back pain with the DRX9000: a retrospective chart review” by Macario et al at Stanford. Here’s the abstract:

The chart review study –which is not the most rigorous design, admittedly– indicates cause for optimism with respect to the DRX9000. So I’m a tad excited.

Further research led me to a product called NuCore:

NuCore is essentially an artificial gel that is injected into the disc as part of a surgical procedure. The gel hardens into a consistency comparable to that of the natural disc, providing support for the otherwise hardening and shrinking disc. Its trials are making the news in the USA, as this Fox News broadcast indicates.

As far as any reputable research goes, I’ve only been able to find this study from Switzerland:

The long and short of it is that this study is also optimistic about NuCore’s potential, but only as an adjunct to the traditional surgical procedure of microdiscectomy.

The plot thickens. Stay tuned, my droogies.