What Is Flexion Distraction?


Flexion distraction is a therapy used by chiropractors. It is often used to treat patients in chronic pain who have not responded well to other treatments. Mainly used for chronic neck pain and back pain, it has become known as the best alternative to back surgery. It uses a special type of spinal manipulation to decompress the spinal discs.

Usually, a slow, gentle spinal manipulation is used which carefully avoids using quick movements or thrusting movements that can further disalign the spell. This type of therapy uses a special type of table that is used along with the spinal manipulations in order to restore a normal range-of-motion to the upper and lower back and to the cervical area and the cervical joints. It is also used to relieve pressure placed on the inter-cranial nerves and the spinal nerves.

This is a pain-free treatment that allows the chiropractor to isolate and treat the areas of the spinal and cervical region that can cause pain and place pressure on both nerves and discs in the upper and lower back. The actions used in this treatment are thought to move potentially bulging disks away from the nerves, thus relieving pressure placed on the nerves and thus relieving pain.

What is Chiropractic Flexion Distraction?

A chiropractor uses this form of therapy to alleviate pain and pressure and to prevent painful, often debilitating back surgery. Chiropractic flexion distraction is used to treat the following symptoms and problems:

  • herniated discs
  • ruptured discs
  • bulging discs
  • sciatica
  • whiplash
  • cervical pain
  • chemical radiculitis
  • headaches and migraines

A specialized FD table is used so the chiropractor can gently stretch the spine and isolate the area of ​​the spine and the particular discs that are giving a patient trouble. The stretching motion often causes a bulging disc or herniated disc to be visible to the eye. It will often bulge or "bubble up" under the skin. In addition, the FD table allows the patient to be counter-balanced so the chiropractor can safely and effectively perform the recommended treatment.

Although results are sometimes instantaneous, the majority of patients see results after about a month of treatment.

Flexion Distraction Technique

When a chiropractor uses FD, he or she applies a specific amount of pressure to areas and disks in the spine that should not only relate pain, but should also realign the spine and the disks as well as restore a full range of-motion. Because the touch is so light, the flexion distraction technique is suited for patients who need a light touch, such as patients who have recently been injured or who suffer from painful osteoarthritis. This technique is also used by chiropractors to help relieve the pain often experienced by those who have undergone hip or back surgery.

Additionally, it has been shown to be a safe and effective technique for relieving lower-back pain in pregnant patients. Because the touch and manipulations are so gentle, there is no risk to either the mother or the baby.

Overall, the technique is used to decompress the spelling and to adjust the spinal vertebrae and the disks between each one. It is found to be especially effective in those who suffer from some type of degenerative disc disease. The main goal of this technique is to restore the function of both the spell and the nerves.

Flexion Distraction Treatment

Patients who have successfully undergone fraction distraction treatment have reported the following benefits:

  • increased range-of-motion in the back, feet, arms, legs, shoulders, and hands
  • reduced migraines and headaches
  • improvement in posture
  • relief from lower-back pain associated with pregnancy
  • increased movement in stroke patients
  • decrease in joint pain

Flexion Distraction Therapy

Flexion distraction therapy is used over a period of time by a chiropractor. Although some patients report feeling better immediately, the majority of them do not show improvements until four weeks into treatment. After four weeks of treatment, the patient is re-evaluated. If there is not at least a 50 percent improvement in the patient, then the patient may either be sent for more imaging studies or may be sent for a special consult.

If the patient feels that at least 50 percent of the pain and problem have been reduced, then additional therapy is used. It must be understood by the patient before beginning FD therapy that recovery is a process. Without a traumatic injury was suffered, most of the symptoms and pain did not begin overnight. Just as the injury or problem gradually increased over time, treatment is a gradual, timely process.

Therapy is usually two to three times per week and most patients need at least 12 treatments before they have experienced a 50 percent increase in recovery. It is important to realize that each patient responds and heals differently, based on his or her condition.