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The Right Decision for Pain Relief
What patients are saying about DTS spinal decompression therapy.

by Liz Hunter

At age 30, Michael Klotz started to notice that the pain in his neck and lower back was more than just a nagging issue. The Runnemede resident says the pain got worse with the daily demands of his job in the construction industry. “Every day, from the time I woke up until I went to bed I had this pain on the back of my mind,” he says. “I couldn’t run around with my kids, I couldn’t walk the mall with my wife. I felt like I was in my 70s.”

Forgoing pain medication, Klotz did see a chiropractor who would give him adjustments, but the relief lasted only a day or two. “I started to wonder, if the pain was this bad in my 30s, what would it be when I was 50 or 60?” he says. It was his wife’s grandmother who suggested Dr. Michael O’Keefe—someone she had been seeing for decades. “If not for finding Dr. O’Keefe, I don’t know what my life would be like. He’s kept me off the operating table for sure,” Klotz adds.

Patients like Klotz, with pain radiating from their spine into their neck, lower back or spreading to their legs in the form of sciatica, seek treatment at O’Keefe Chiropractic Center in Medford. The first step any patient must face is asking: Where do I begin to deal with this problem? A recent study published in the medical journalSpine, found that patients who seek chiropractic care for back pain are less likely to undergo surgery. Approximately 43 per- cent of patients who saw a surgeon first for treatment ended up having surgery, as opposed to 1.5 percent of patients who first saw a chiropractor. According to Dr. O’Keefe, these findings support the long-held position that many health care providers subscribe to, that treatment for back pain should begin with conservative approaches, such as chiropractic care.

Through manipulations and DTS spinal decompression, Klotz felt better within the first month of treatment. He has continued visiting Dr. O’Keefe for a few years now and his results have changed his life. “I don’t have shooting pain; I can spend the day with my family. We even went to Disney for a week, and that’s a lot of walking. I would never have been able to do that. I feel better now at 43 than I did when I was 30,” he says.

Many patients find relief with this type of treatment. According to C. Nor- man Shealy, Ph.D., M.D., and published in the American Journal of Pain Management, “86 percent of herniated disc patients achieved ‘good’ (50 to 80 percent improvement) to ‘excellent’ (90 to 100 percent improvement) results with de- compression therapy. Sciatica and backpain were relieved, and those with disc degeneration, 75 percent obtained ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ results with spinal decompression.” For this reason, when a patient is seeking relief for back and neck pain problems, DTS spinal decompression therapy is a good place to start.

Those undergoing DTS spinal de- compression therapy may wonder what the treatment experience is like. This form of intervention uses computer- modulated traction to gently treat disc degeneration, disc herniation and spinal stenosis. It’s a comfort-based procedure, which many patients prefer over opting for surgery or cortisone shots. “Patients being treated with DTS spinal decompression are placed on a treatment table. The computer modulator gently stretches the spine and opens the intervertebral disc spaces, creating a negative pressure to draw the disc back away from the spine,” says Dr. O’Keefe. “Patients report a sense of relief or relaxation during the treatment session. The gentle stretching of the spine fosters a phenomenon known as ‘imbibition.’ This is the way a normal disc gets nutrition. Then our doctors evaluate the spinal column in order to ensure proper mobility of the spinal articulations. DTS spinal decompression therapy is not a stand-alone treatment. The effectivenessof spinal decompression therapy is achieved by continual re-evaluation and manual therapies to ensure proper spinal mobility.

“This process, of decompression and spinal evaluation, is repeated over a period of weeks. In-office stabilization exercise will be performed with the patient,” Dr. O’Keefe continues. “The patient is also given home exercise instructions in order to improve mobility and flexibility of the spine, and to enhance the results of the office treatment. The end result of this treatment is a more functional spine with reduced inflammation and reduced pain.”

There may be questions about what to expect when coming into the office. “The first thing we do is listen and take a carefulhistory,” says Dr. O’Keefe. “We find out why they are in our office, what they want to achieve, and after taking the  history we perform a physical exam to make an assessment of the patient’s pain syndrome they are describing. After the physical, the next course of action would typically be X- rays to make an assessment of their spine. X-rays allow us to make a more thorough evaluation of the patient’s condition, such as disc degeneration or congenital abnormalities. In many cases we would need an MRI of the painful spine area to make the diagnosis more complete. The MRI is often able to show the exact site of a pinched nerve, disc herniation or degeneration.” Gathering all of this information helps the doctors make a determination on whetherto accept the patient for care in their office, and once a determination is made, a treatment plan would be designed and discussed with the patient.

Klotz says Dr. O’Keefe took the time to explain the treatment, and took detailed notes about his progress each week, tweaking the manipulations that might improve his results. “My previous chiropractor did the same routine adjustments every time I saw him, never changing. With Dr. O’Keefe, some weeks he is more aggressive and other weeks there is more stretching. He gives me the right treatment I need,” he says.

At O’Keefe Chiropractic, Dr. O’Keefe and Dr. David Jones don’t just treat the symptoms of pain; they treat the root cause, and aim to return patients to their normal lifestyle.

Another patient of Dr. O’Keefe’s, Joe, says in the past he was only given treatment options that would dull the pain, ignoring the cause of it. Joe’s pain started several years ago. He would work out regularly, running and lifting weights, and he noticed an unusual soreness in his left buttocks after weightlifting that would disappear in a few days. But gradually that pain lingered longer and longer, getting more intense and then expanding down his left leg into his foot. He was diagnosed by his general practitioner with piriformis syndrome, a neuromuscular disorder caused by the piriformis muscle compressing the sciatic nerve.

A prescription of opioids did nothing for Joe. An MRI showed two further conditions: a bulging disc and something called spondylolisthesis, which is a forward slip- page of one vertebra on another that puts increased pressure on the spinal cord and exiting nerve roots. “I saw an orthopedist who recommended physical therapy and after three weeks I got nowhere and the pain was increasing and the sessions were expensive,” Joe says. “The doctor wanted to prescribe weekly shots and I said no way. That’s only treating the symptom, not the cause. I decided I didn’t want to do any of it. Then a friend suggested I see Dr. O’Keefe and he spoke highly about the decompression techniques.”

Before seeing Dr. O’Keefe, Joe says his pain level was an 8, on a scale of 1-10, whenever he had to stand or walk, and he found himself squatting or bending over for relief. After just a few weeks of DTS spinal decompression, along with at-home exercises suggested by Dr. O’Keefe, Joe noticed a difference. He went from appointments three times a week to once, and has been able to introduce some of his favorite activities again.

“In May I noticed a significant improvement. I started to stand for longer periods of time without pain. I also love to play golf, but I was unable to swing and twist because of the pain, but I was able to introduce that again,” Joe says, and he owes it all to Dr. O’Keefe.

“He really listened carefully to what I said, the pain I had, and he adapted or modified my sessions based on what I said.He cared about how this was affecting my life,” says Joe. “It’s really a nice environment with a friendly staff that gets to know you. I would highly recommend for anyone who has pain in their back, neck, legs or arms, before you think about surgery or medications with potentially harmful side effects go see Dr. O’Keefe.”

For more information on DTS spinal decompression therapy, visit, and click on the DTS video on the home page. You can also call to speak to one of the doctors or schedule a consultation to discuss your condition.

O’Keefe Chiropractic Center, P.A.
Dr. Michael J. O’Keefe
Dr. David L. Jones
99 Taunton Road | Medford
(609) 654-4299 |

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Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 8 (November 2018).

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