By Danielle Krieger PT, DPT
Neck pain is a real and serious public health concern across the globe, and unfortunately, it is here to stay.
With our smart phones, our laptops, and our compressed environments, only further restricted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ever-growing problem of cervical pain is not being solved anytime soon.
In fact, the mean age of neck pain patients is getting younger and younger.
How are we, the healthcare providers, currently addressing the issue of cervical pain?
We would all be hard-pressed to find a single chiropractor or physical therapy clinic that did not boast at least one type of cervical decompression device.
There are thousands of google searches per day on “how to treat my neck pain” or “stiff neck what to do” or “what specialist can help with cervical pain.”
Common practice for the treatment of acute or chronic neck pain typically consists of a combination of the following: pain medication, physical therapy, chiropractic, and in many cases surgery.
Specialists doling out these treatments are orthopedists, neurologists, osteopaths, chiropractors, and physical therapists.
Cervical traction units are freely available, and come in many shapes and styles. They can be bought online, in pharmacies, and even in a doctor or therapist’s office. They are popular for the treatment of cervical pain.
Not all cervical traction equipment is created equal. While many patients report slight improvement in neck pain while wearing or using the devices, the outcomes are generally short-lived, forcing patients to continue to pursue more effective cervical pain treatment options.
Simply put, every solution we employ to treat cervical pain is reactive
When we consider the ever rising trend in the prevalence of cervical pain together with the unfortunate trend in the lowering of the average age of these patients, a reactive solution is just not sustainable in the long-term.
The number of patients is growing exponentially; the number of practitioners (in many countries, already overburdened) is not growing to keep up with demand.
The side effects and risks of pain medication and spinal surgery are not acceptable to many.
Without critical changes to this approach, this trend will only continue to rise and the system will fail more and more patients.
What alternatives does Meditrac offer?
At Meditrac, we believe that with awareness, education, preventive strategies, and targeted cervical traction treatment we just might be able to restore the proper curve (pun intended) and posture (couldn’t help ourselves) to the trend of cervical pain.
Over the past two decades, our medical team has designed, developed, and redesigned a cervical traction unit, the Cervico-2000, at the center of this novel approach to cervical pain treatment.
The Cervico 2000
The Cervico 2000, Meditrac’s innovative cervical traction device, is designed with the simplicity of a collar but the performance of any comparable automated device.
The padded anterior and posterior portions connected by Velcro straps. The Cervico has a unique and powerful decompression mechanism which applies a strong traction bilateral force of up to 44 pounds simply by pressing down on or “jacking” the levers located on either side of the device.
Traction can be customized asymmetrically to favor a disc bulge or a pinched nerve. Patients can be trained to don and doff the Cervico neck traction device independently.
What truly sets the Cervico 2000 apart from the other traction devices in its field is that the wearer is not confined to a static position for the duration of the decompression treatment.
They are not only able to exercise, but are encouraged to participate in light physical activity during the session.
Why is mobility during cervical disc decompression so important?
At Meditrac we believe, and science agrees, that bed-rest and activity restriction are antiquated approaches to pain treatment, and actually cause more harm to patients suffering from chronic or acute spinal pain.
To truly start down the road to recovery, the patient needs activity modification, proper spinal alignment, and pain free mobility.
In a previous blog entry, we discussed the fundamental importance of mobility to the overall healing process.
Muscle contraction naturally results in increased blood-flow, which in turn, optimizes the delivery of oxygen and healing factors to an injured area.
When you start to think about this, it seems counter-intuitive to employ a treatment for back and neck pain which forces patients in pain to sustain seated or supine positions for 15-20 minutes or more.
When properly fitted, the Cervico 2000 applies a strong and effective traction force while simultaneously allowing the wearer full freedom of movement, and the ability to ambulate slowly or exercise gently.
The strong traction from the Cervico, coupled with pain free mobility has multiple holistic and positive effects on the patient:
- Increased physical confidence in their own mobility
- Positive feelings of encouragement and empowerment in their pain journey
- Increase fluid reuptake in the disc, restored biomechanics
- Development of correct mobility habits with proper spinal positioning
In short, the Cervico2000 by Meditrac is like none of the cervical traction equipment that you have already come across. It combines mobility with decompression to target cervical disc pain at the source.
Who is a candidate for cervical pain treatment with the Cervico?
Anyone suffering from neck pain, acute or chronic, can be a candidate for treatment with the Cervico 2000.
The Cervico is designed to target the source of pain related to: whiplash injuries, disc disease, torticollis, work related neck soreness, sports injuries, and osteoarthritic or degenerative changes to the cervical spine.
Some contraindications for the use of the Cervico2000 include: localized skin irritation, recent mandibular, cervical or clavicular fractures, active bone cancer, active bone infections, poor bone integrity, and disorders of the blood vessels of the neck.
A typical treatment with the Cervico starts with proper imaging and diagnosis by a Doctor.
Depending on the diagnosis, severity, and chronicity of the pain; a treatment program with daily or tri-weekly sessions will begin.
A reassessment after 2-3 weeks will determine whether the patient continues the current program for another 2-3 weeks or moves into a maintenance program.
The Cervico maintenance program typically comprises weekly or bi-monthly sessions with the goal to maintain the progress made during the treatment program.
Meditrac boasts an over 85% success rate in patients suffering from acute or chronic pain. To date, thousands of patients have improved their quality of life after being treated with the Cervico2000.
70% of patients report noticeable improvement after just 8 sessions with the Cervico2000. 75% of patients report a full return to function after 12 sessions with the Cervico.
These patients have successfully avoided prescription pain meds and costly surgeries. They have no mobility or activity restrictions.
What advice can Meditrac offer?
Neck pain can be avoided or improved with simple lifestyle modifications.
- In the workplace: lift or prop your screen so that it is at eye level. Invest in a comfortable chair which causes minimal arching in the lower back, and which positions your hips and knees at 90 degree angles under your desk. Don’t forget to take breaks every hour or two to do some simple neck stretches or loosening exercises.
- At home: try to minimize children’s screen time, or invest in phone or tablet kickstands to position the devices at eye level. Teach them the same gentle neck exercises, and encourage them to listen to their bodies throughout the day.
Together we can try to get ahead of this problem.