What is the Theraflex machine?
It is a class 1 medical device that has revolutionised the way in which chronic back pain is treated. It offers a real breakthrough for long term suffers of back pain and for those who have tried a myriad of conservative treatments but have failed to find a lasting solution to their back pain. It is certainly a serious alternative to consider, prior to undergoing more radical treatments such as surgery or injection therapy.
It is a hand held device with four pistons that are powered by compressed air, used to manipulate and gently mobilise the joints of the vertebral column. The handset is supplied by a main power pack that is the compressed air supply. This compressor moves the four pistons on the hand set, which is held by the therapist and sits over the transverse processes of each individual vertebra.
The pistons counter rotate pushing on the opposite transverse process of each adjacent vertebra.
This creates a rotatory movement and moves the facet joints of the spinal column, with a speed and a force that is impossible to achieve with the human hand alone.
The facet joints, which are located on each side of the central axis of the spine, sit behind the vertebrae at each level of the spinal column, except the very top of the cervical region. These small joints contain cartilage and synovial fluid, which slide over one another and allow movement to occur between the vertebra. Part of the function of the facet joints is to control and limit the motion of each segment of the spine. The joint angles and orientations allow ranges of movement to occur in specific planes of motion. For example, in the mid-back (the thoracic spine), the angles of the facet joints are more horizontal allowing more rotary movements to occur. In contrast, the lower back (lumbar spine), the facet joints are more vertical, which allows more of flexing and extending movement of the spine.
Treatment for the main cause of back pain:
The majority of back pain, in all areas of the vertebral column, are of a mechanical nature. When referring to the mechanics of the body, or of a living organism, the term ‘biomechanics’ is the correct word to use. This is the science of movement, the way in which the muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments and fascia work together, under the laws of gravity, to produce movement. The vertebral column is made up of 33 bones and a total of a 139 synovial (moving) joints, that make up the spinal column and its attachments, including the ribs. As a collective, the amazingly complex structure of the vertebral column, needs to function like a well oiled machine, allowing all the segments of spine (the vertebrae) and the joints in between, to move with a coordinated precision, within a certain range of movement. It is this integrated movement throughout the whole structure of the spinal column, that allows the body to function with flexibility and without excessive strain.
Over time the spine has a tendency to loose its natural elasticity and flexibility. When individual vertebra stiffen up, the mechanical efficiency of the spine is compromised. There will often be areas of the spine that are stiff (hypomobile) and areas that move to much (hypermobile). It is these imbalances in ranges of movement between the different areas of the spine and the segments of the spine, that causes other vertebra take up the strain as they have to compensate for lack of movement else where. This creates patterns of strain that manifest throughout the spine.
The Theraflex machine is specifically designed to counteract this stiffening of the spine and is able to restore flexibility and suppleness to the whole spine.