The computer age tackles back pain | ParkRecord.com

The computer age tackles back pain

by Andrew Kirk, OF THE RECORD STAFF

Dr. Donald Cofer laughs that he’s the envy of all his physician friends. People in doctor offices are trained to identify patients only seeking medical care to get pain killers. Cofer gets the ones who will try anything to avoid them. He’s a Chiropractic Orthopedist, and has been in Park City for 27 years. He sees a lot of patients wanting pain relief without surgery or pain medication. His office has two new machines that can do just that for people he would have been unable to help in the past. About 85 percent of patients respond to traditional chiropractic therapy, he said. The other 15 percent frequently have spinal injuries: herniated, degenerative, compressed, bulging or ruptured discs – many names and problems for tiny, but essential parts of the body. "If someone has one, they’ll know it," Cofer said. Often a person will have radiating pain or numbness down their arm or leg. About 18 months ago, Cofer and his partner Dr. Scott Sato started the Spinal Decompression Clinic to offer services on two new state-of- the-art tables. Treatments are administered through his practice, the Center for TEAM Healthcare, but are unlike anything patients have experienced before. A decompression table looks part space-age, part extreme sport. A patient lies on the table and harnesses are tightly wrapped around their chest. The harness attaches to a cord running horizontally into a computer about the size of an outboard motor. Dr. Cofer adjusts the settings to target different parts of the spine, and then the cord tugs slightly on the spine, almost like a dairyman milking an udder for lack of a better analogy, he said. The decompression does a few things. The negative pressure rehydrates the disc. It also allows the material bulging out, to be pushed back in. All of this combined can even make the conditions right for the body to heal itself – and like scar tissue, it sometimes heals stronger, he said. Surgery can have the result of forcing other parts of the back to compensate for the portion that was operated on. This can cause problems and strain in those areas. For many people they’ve seen, Sato and Cofer say the tables have miraculous results without surgery or medication. Cofer’s own wife had five failed spinal surgeries. The tables have gotten her walking again and reduced about 60 percent of the pain, he said. That doesn’t mean they’re opposed to surgery or medication. Cofer said he refers patients to physicians all the time and says that some in town refer people to him. He encourages wary people to consult their doctor about the possibilities available with decompression therapy. Another reason they believe patients should seriously consider their clinic is that they can also introduce patients to therapies that will strengthen deep-core muscles – the ones surrounding and holding up the spine. Conditioning deep-core muscles is essential to long-term health, Sato said. Another machine that has had miraculous results for patients – and will also strengthen the deep core – is the ATM2. The acronym stands for Active Therapeutic Movements. It’s amazingly simple in concept, but the treatment it offers is revolutionary, he said. The ATM2 is a tall rack with a wide foam pad. Straps secure the patient against the pad and control movement in the central part of the body. Then the patient can move pain-free. When certain muscles or joints are restricted, the brain must find other pathways to achieve the movement. This treatment has worked wonders for people with movement pain in the hips and back, Sato said. While strapped to the apparatus, the brain realizes it can achieve the same movement without using the part of the body that is painful. Spending a few minutes strapped in a few times a week can eliminate pain, he said. Anyone can get benefit from the ATM2. "It improves range of motion and deep-core strength," Sato said. Its manufacturers market it to golfers and guarantee added distance on drives. The apparatus inspired Cofer to create a version made of wood for skiers to help muscles forget bad habits and learn right ones. Both the decompression tables and the ATM2 are also great treatments for people who don’t like being touched or the "back-cracking" common in traditional chiropractic treatments, Sato said. Krista Ingle said her treatments have "almost been a change of life." She’s suffered from back pain for 10 years – serious pain for two years. She had all the cortisone shots she was allowed and was sure she’d need surgery. "I feel like after my treatment I’ll be able to resume my life and get back to the way I was before," she said. Ingle said she also appreciates their hours that accommodate working people. The Spinal Decompression Clinic at the Center for TEAM Healthcare 1260 Iron Horse Dr. Suite B 649-1542 http://www.drcofer.com mnmmnmnnmnDr. Donald Cofer laughs that he’s the envy of all his physician friends.

People in doctor offices are trained to identify patients only seeking medical care to get pain killers. Cofer gets the ones who will try anything to avoid them.

He’s a Chiropractic Orthopedist, and has been in Park City for 27 years. He sees a lot of patients wanting pain relief without surgery or pain medication.

His office has two new machines that can do just that for people he would have been unable to help in the past.

About 85 percent of patients respond to traditional chiropractic therapy, he said. The other 15 percent frequently have spinal disc injuries: herniated, degenerative, compressed, bulging or ruptured – many names and problems for tiny, but essential parts of the body.

"If someone has one, they’ll know it," Cofer said.

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About 18 months ago, Cofer and his partner Dr. Scott Sato started the Spinal Decompression Clinic to offer services on two new state-of-the-art tables.

Treatments are administered through his practice, the Center for TEAM Healthcare, but are unlike anything patients have experienced before.

A decompression table looks part space-age, part extreme sport. A patient lies on the table and harnesses are tightly wrapped around their chest. The harness attaches to a cord running horizontally into a computer about the size of an outboard motor. Dr. Cofer adjusts the settings to target different parts of the spine, and then the cord tugs slightly on the spine, almost like a dairyman milking an udder for lack of a better analogy, he said.

The decompression does a few things.

It creates space and negative pressure for fluid to return to the discs. Dehydration exacerbates problems, he said. The negative pressure relieves pain. It also allows the material bulging out, to be pushed back in.

All of this combined can even make the conditions right for the body to heal the disc – and like scar tissue, it sometimes heals stronger, he said.

Surgery can have the result of forcing other parts of the back to compensate for the portion that was operated on. This can cause problems and strain in those areas. It never results in a stronger spine.

For many people they’ve seen, Sato and Cofer say the tables have miraculous results without surgery or medication.

Cofer’s own wife had five failed spinal surgeries. The tables have gotten her walking again and reduced about 60 percent of the pain, he said.

That doesn’t mean they’re opposed to surgery or medication. Cofer said he refers patients to physicians all the time and boasts that some in town refer people to him. He encourages wary people to consult their doctor about the possibilities available with decompression therapy.

Another reason they believe patients should seriously consider their clinic is that they can also introduce patients to therapies that will strengthen deep-core muscles – the ones surrounding and holding up the spine.

Conditioning deep-core muscles is essential to long-term health, Sato said.

Another machine that has had miraculous results for patients – and will also strengthen the deep core – is the ATM2. The acronym stands for Active Therapeutic Movements. It’s amazingly simple in concept, but the treatment it offers is revolutionary, he said.

The ATM2 is a tall rack with a wide foam pad. Straps secure the patient against the pad and control movement in the central part of the body. Then the patient moves anyway. When certain muscles or joints are restricted, the brain must find other pathways to achieve the movement.

This treatment has worked wonders for people with movement pain in the hips and back, Sato said. While strapped inside the apparatus, the brain realizes it can achieve the same movement without using the part of the body that is sore. Spending a few minutes strapped in a few times a week can eliminate soreness, he said.

Anyone can get benefit from the ATM2.

"It improves range of motion and deep-core strength," Sato said.

Its manufacturers market it to golfers and guarantee added distance on drives. The apparatus inspired Cofer to create a version made of wood for skiers to help muscles forget bad habits and learn right ones.

Both the decompression tables and the ATM2 are also great treatments for people who don’t like being touched or the "back-cracking" common in traditional chiropractic treatments, Sato said.

Krista Ingle said her treatments have "almost been a change of life."

She’s suffered from back pain for 10 years – serious pain for two years. She had all the cortisone shots she was allowed and was sure she’d need surgery.

"I feel like after my treatment I’ll be able to resume my life and get back to the way I was before," she said.

Ingle said she also appreciates their hours that accommodate working people.

The Spinal Decompression Clinic at the Center for TEAM Healthcare

1260 Iron Horse Dr. Suite B

649-1542

http://www.drcofer.com