Sciatica Treatment with Cox Flexion-Distraction Therapy

Sciatica is a common neuro-musculoskeletal condition characterized by symptoms of pain, burning, numbness, or ‘pins-and-needles’ into the back,  hip, and often down the leg. Sciatica can be a painful and debilitating condition, and is often slow to respond to traditional types of therapy.

Fortunately, Cox Flexion-Distraction Technique has emerged as one of the most effective, safest, and well researched therapies for treating Sciatica. In fact, a recent study found  Cox Flexion-Distraction Technique was effective in treating 79% of patients affected by sciatica (1).

But before we talk about how Cox Technique works so effectively, it is helpful to first discuss what Sciatica is and how it develops in the first place.


What Causes Sciatica?

The spine consists of a series of small, block-like bones stacked together to form a moveable column. Each of these bones – anatomically referred to as vertebrae – is separated by a soft, circular pad known as an intervertebral disc. This intervertebral disc is a critical component of the spine, which not only helps provide shock absorption, but is also the key structure that allows the spine to bend, twist, and move.

If the outer layers of the disc become damaged it will cause the disc to bulge backwards into the spinal canal – a condition is known as a disc bulge or ‘herniation’. Not only can the disc herniation itself cause back pain, but it can also pinch and irritate the sciatic nerve as is travels behind the damaged disc on its way into the leg.   As the sciatic nerve becomes inflamed and irritated it will create pain and/or other nuerological symptoms such as numbness, burning, pins-and-needles, or weakness into the back or leg along the path of the sciatic nerve.


Resolving Sciatica with Cox Flexion-Distraction

Fortunately, most cases of Sciatica respond well to conservative care and do not require surgery. However, it is important that sciatic symptoms are treated and monitored properly to both control pain and prevent any serious or long-term problems. (Unfortunately, sciatica can in many case be extremely painful and often makes work and normal daily activities difficult, if not impossible).  One of the most effective, safest, and well researched therapies for sciatic is a treatment technique known as Cox Flexion-Distraction Technique.


How Effective is Cox Treatment?

  • A recent study found  Cox Flexion-Distraction Technique was effective in treating 79% of patients affected by sciatica (1)
  • 90% of patients reported either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ improvements with Cox Treatment (1)


Here’s how Cox Technique works…

Cox Flexion-Distraction therapy is performed using a specially engineered treatment table that gently pulls and stretches the spine. With the patient lying face down on the table, the lower section of the table (the part of the table supporting the patients’ legs) can be slowly pulled down and away. This motion lengthens the spine, which pulls the vertebrae away from each other and acts to “decompress” the damaged disc. As the spine stretches the doctor is able to focus the decompression at the level of the damaged disc by stabilizing the vertebra above the damaged disc using a specific hand contact.

This focal pressure applied by the doctor makes Cox Technique more effective than traditional traction therapies or inversion devices which apply only a general traction, and do not provide feedback to doctor with respect to the health of the disc and spinal joints. Each decompression stretch is applied in a rhythmical push-pull action five or six times for a total of about 20 seconds. This process is usually repeated three to four times.

The decompression of the damaged disc achieved with Cox Flexion-Distraction has a number of important effects which help to reduce pain and promote healing of the damaged disc and spinal nerve. For example, this procedure has been shown to dramatically reduce pressure with the intervertebral disc which reduces strain and stimulates healing of the damaged discs. It also creates a vacuum effect within the disc. This acts to pull the herniated Nucleus back towards the centre of the disc, helping to reduce the size of the herniation and reduce pressure on the adjacent sciatic nerve roots (remember it is the bulging/herniated disc that is compressing the nerve root and creating the sciatica symptoms into the leg.

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Get Relief with Cox Technique

To book an appointment to see if Cox Flexion-Distraction will be able to help with your Sciatica symptoms simply call our office at (905) 685-7227, or book and initial appointment using our online booking system.


  1. Murphy DR, Hurwitz, EL, McGovern, EE. A nonsurgical approach to the management of patients with lumbar radiculopathy secondary to herniated disc: A prospective observational cohort study with follow-up.  Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2009; 32(9), 723-733.