We will typically increase the force by 5-10 pounds for the lumbar spine and 1-2 pounds for the cervical spine at each visit. If the patient is not experiencing an increase in discomfort from their previous treatment, we typically increase the force by 10 pounds in the lumbar and 2 pounds in the cervical region. I often have patients that don’t experience any significant relief until reaching a force that approaches 75% of their total body weight. It can take up to 20 visits to reach that force especially if the patient is sensitive and in significant pain. Typically we will have signs such as sleeping through the night, or less frequent and/or less severe episodes of pain that helps to confirm the patient is receiving the proper treatment.
Another important aspect regarding our herniated disc protocol is that I strongly recommend spinal adjustments, spinal decompression, electrotherapy, cold laser therapy and in-office rehab/work hardening and strengthening. All of these treatments work synergistically, and the overall treatment and outcome is improved when we combine these treatments rather than cut corners in an effort to reduce costs. Cost is often a significant factor when it comes to treating herniated discs. Still, with all the aforementioned procedures, we have not had a herniated disc treatment plan ever exceed $10,000. We transitioned our practice from an insurance-based practice to a fee-for-service practice back in January of 2007. Our treatment plans range from $2,500 to $7,500. This may sound expensive…until you consider the cost not only of surgery, but of the continued care and follow-up required following surgery. Often that first year following surgery costs can reach well over $100,000, especially when you consider the likelihood of continued care in the name of medications, rehab, follow-up appointments and missed time at work.
Comprehensive Treatment Plans are typically not derived until about visit 8 once spinal decompression therapy has commenced. The purpose for this is that musculoskeletal conditions vary greatly in the way that they respond. One patient may respond much faster than the next…others may be very sensitive where treatment will have to commence at a slower pace. I personally make out each patient’s treatment plan. I base it on several factors including their exams, MRI’s, X-Rays, and response to treatment thus far. The treatment we prescribe here is individualized. I make every effort to accurately prescribe the number of visits that are required for a full recovery. Herniated discs are complex…the treatment plans cannot accurately be predicted within the first few visits.