What is the deal with this new wave of treatment called axial decompression, spinal decompression and or IDD Therapy? Is it truly the greatest thing next to sliced bread (for the treatment of back or neck pain) or is it just a passing trend?
Axial decompression therapy has reached the highest level of interest ever, even though it is not a new treatment. It is a successful alternative treatment to surgery for patients with appropriate disc conditions for the cervical and lumbar spine. The way it works is by reducing pressure or creating a negative pressure inside the disc by a directed force to the desired disc level (L1-L5) and the force can be redirected by changing the vector of force. This is implemented by immobilizing both the pelvis and the thoracic spine. Axial decompression causes a negative intra-discal pressure to develop, causing oxygen, water and nutrients to be pulled into the disc. As this happens, the healing process inside the disc is facilitated by giving the chondroblasts, as well as the fibroblasts, what they need to heal.
Most readers, by now, understand that axial decompression is not traction and that traction has many limitations; one of which is related to the weight of the patient. The amount of force used in traction is limited to 50lbs and this does little more than separate the facet joints.
Lumbar axial decompression was developed by Dr. Alan Dyer, a former Canadian Deputy Minister of Health, and he was the designer of the Vax-D. The Vax-D is the predecessor to more recent axial decompression tables, such as the DRS System, the Spine-Med, Spina, DRX 9000, ABS and many others.
One thing is certain, axial decompression is a hot item and an important business, but the technology really does work. Axial decompression is the biggest innovation for the non-surgical treatment of appropriate lumbar and cervical disc conditions.
Axial decompression should not be just another trend that will go the way of any trend, craze or phase, if we know what we are doing. We must know what conditions can successfully be treated with axial decompression, how to educate the patient and how to be paid for the services rendered.
I have successfully treated thousands of patients for conditions of herniated and degenerative disc, sciatic pain, numbness and tingling in the legs, arms and hands and failed back and neck surgery pain with this technology for over ten years. These patients have generally seen multiple doctors, have had epidural injections, taken steroids, anti-inflammatory medications, pain medications, physical therapy, and failed surgeries. I can attest, based on ten years proven success, axial decompression does work! Outcomes are excellent. Results are predictable and reproducible. Patients respond exceptionally well to care, avoid surgery and achieve sustained improvement after treatment is completed!
Why are the successful results of my patients and practice so predictable and reproducible? The answer is there are procedures and protocols that must be implemented in order for axial decompression to be successful. The procedures, which are a series of steps followed in a regular order, which begin with the first new patient telephone call and continue throughout care. The procedures apply not only to staff but also to the doctor. The procedures are detailed and exact, not just visit to visit, but word to word, and by patient category. Procedures are exact, absolute and learned by consistent and continual training by both doctor and staff. These procedures are ultimately responsible for influencing the patient to begin care.
The protocol, which is a specific treatment regimen, is equally as important as procedure and must be customized and individualized for each patient. The doctor—not the manufacturer—determines each patient’s treatment plan. This is much more involved than just placing a patient on the axial decompression table.
Successful results are also determined by accepting the correct patient and condition. This decision is based on specific criteria: a review of films and examination findings, establishment of diagnosis, and evaluation of the patient type. After assessing all information, including patient type, the doctor determines if the patient is a candidate for successful axial decompression.
Now everything falls on the doctor’s ability to communicate so that the patient fully understands, believes, responds and achieves. Therefore, again, it is back to procedure. The doctor’s training on procedure of presentation will determine whether the patient begins care. If the doctor communicates successfully, purposely and makes sense about the necessity of their care, the patient has confidence, begins care and responds well.
Several times each week, I have doctors who have axial decompression tables of various makes and models call and ask the same questions: “How do you make this work?” “How do you make any money with this thing?” “Are you getting reimbursed?” “What codes are you using?” “How do you get patients to pay for it?”
My response remains the same. “Well, Doc, these are questions that you wish you had asked before investing in a table, right? You probably wish you had discussed all this with someone who was successfully treating with axial decompression. I know it was all supposed to be so easy.”
The real answer is that it takes intensity, drive and the desire to seek outside reliable resources to get to the next level. It is an investment and similar to opening another practice. It is not like the movie, Field of Dreams; if you build it, they will come. It is not just financing a table, or parking a table in your office and expecting patients to show up and hop on. You have to understand how to operate, market, and train, not only yourself but also your staff, on how to successfully run a cash and an axial decompression practice.
Axial decompression will continue to explode in this market as well as the medical market. Axial decompression is a very successful, conservative treatment for the patient, as an alternative to invasive surgery and other medical treatment options. Axial decompression can create another tier for your existing practice, allowing you to successfully treat patients that may not have responded to standard chiropractic care. The technology is safe, effective and successful. In most communities, axial decompression is well recognized by the medical profession as a viable alternative to surgery, and inter-professional referrals are standard.
Doctors, you should consider investing in axial decompression; however, learn lessons from someone else’s experience. Get counsel and investigate; do your research, because there is more to it than writing a check. Become an educated consumer and not an impulsive buyer. There are specific and correct methods, from beginning to end, for running a successful, axial decompression/cash practice.
Dr. Richard E. Busch III, President and Founder of Busch Chiropractic Center, Fort Wayne, Indiana, established what could be considered the largest single-practitioner, axial decompression cash practice in the world. Dr. Busch is co-founder of Freedom Awaits™, a program teaching exact, step-by-step procedures to establish a highly organized first-class practice, and how to implement a case fee cash program for an axial decompression practice.
To contact Dr. Busch, call 888 - DRS - BACK, or e-mail