Emsky founded CERT Health Sciences in 2001 after spending more than six years managing and operating back clinics that provided spinal decompression therapy. After his experience with these clinics and getting feedback from other doctors, Emsky saw a need for a table that improved patient comfort as well as accommodated a wider variety of patients. Emsky led a team of medical practitioners and biomechanical engineers to develop the SpineMED decompression table to provide pain relief to patients with back pain due to herniated discs.
Q: Why did you decide to develop your own decompression table?
A: Before I started CERT Health Sciences, I operated 17 decompression tables in multiple back centers in Canada. When one of my decompression table suppliers went out of business, I was left without support or spare parts if the machines broke down which, over time, forced me to phase out these decompression tables.
Though I could not rely on my suppliers, I had seen the power of decompression technology first-hand. I decided to partner with biomechanical engineers to develop a more modern decompression table—what we would later call the SpineMED—that relied on technologically advanced systems to treat as many patients as possible with the best results in the shortest amount of time. Additionally, a key requirement was to meet the business needs of practitioners and clinicians through increased clinical efficiency of the device.
Significant effort went into rolling out the first SpineMED in 2001—more than two years of research, numerous customer and patient interviews and a considerable financial investment. Today, hundreds of practitioners worldwide are using the SpineMED device to the satisfaction of thousands of patients who are seeing long-term relief from back pain—many of whom were told their situations could only be resolved through heavy doses of narcotics or painful surgery. With an 86% success rate and in just four weeks of treatment, the SpineMED is an increasingly attractive alternative to back surgery or other short-term remedies for treating patient back pain.
Q: How does decompression therapy work?
A: There are a number of factors that cause premature degeneration of intervertebral discs, and injury of the disc annulus which will result in disc herniation. These factors include excessive loading of the human spine through accidents or heavy lifting, and extended periods of sitting while driving or sitting at a desk. When a disc is compressed, the flow of nutrients and fluid are further depleted, which can cause the disc to prematurely degenerate, and lead to facet arthrosis and low back pain. Extreme compression of the disc can cause the disc wall (annulus) to develop tears, allowing the wall to bulge outside its normal area. As spinal discs are constantly under pressure, even while lying down, severely damaged discs almost never heal. By lowering intradiscal pressures, spinal decompression therapy greatly facilitates this process of rehydration and accelerates healing in the disc segment.
Q: Are there any side effects we should be aware of?
A: SpineMED was designed to eliminate the side effects commonly found on older technologies. The tensions are so low on SpineMED, that most people don’t even know when the device has been turned on. In addition, with the improved accuracy of targeting specific spinal segments, through the Pelvic Tilt system, distraction forces are limited to a very small, targeted area of the spine.
Another reason side effects are eliminated, is SpineMED’s revolutionary Pelvic Restraint System and feedback-loop. While the patient is lying on the table, the device monitors table tension being applied to the patient’s spine every 2.5 milliseconds. If the patient moves, tension can be redirected in 20 milliseconds. This is 30 milliseconds faster than the human brain can react, keeping the patient from instinctively tensing up in the treatment area. Because the spine is relaxed, there is less chance for adverse reactions to the tensions being applied.
Q: What makes the SpineMED so special?
A: As I mentioned earlier, when we set out to build the next generation decompression table, our goal was to give practitioners a device that offered the best possible end user experience, while meeting the business needs of our customers.
The feedback loop system constantly monitors the patient and makes almost instantaneous adjustments and the comfortable, easy-to-use pelvic restraint system ensures that patients get the maximum effect of the treatment with no discomfort. Alternative decompression tables utilize outdated and uncomfortable pelvic harnesses versus the modern pelvic restraint system used by CERT Health Sciences.
From a business perspective, the SpineMED is incredibly easy to use and maintain. We designed the table with off-the-shelf, hospital grade components and incorporated a modem into the unit that lets us do diagnostic tests and upgrade or fix software, eliminating the need for a technician to service the device, saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars depending on the problem. Because patient set-up is so easy—less than two minutes—most of our customers train a staff member to administer and monitor the treatments, allowing the practitioner to continue seeing patients. Lastly, return on investment is quickly achieved. If you lease the product, just one new patient per month ensures profitability.
Q: Isn’t it uncomfortable for the patients?
A: No, it is so comfortable that patients sometimes don’t even know the table is turned on; in fact, they often fall asleep during treatment. Unlike other decompression tables that utilize antiquated traction components such as a traction box, pulleys, drums, ropes and pelvic harnesses, the SpineMED’s modern pelvic restraint system captures and distracts the human skeletal structure through a unique and proprietary design. The pelvic restraint system considerably increases the efficiency of the application of force to the patient’s spine. With this increased efficiency, the typical treatment tensions required on the SpineMED are approximately 60 percent of what would be prescribed on tables not utilizing the pelvic restraint system. The lower tension requirement with the SpineMED improves patient comfort and ultimately increases the spectrum of patients suitable for treatment.
Q: What are the uses for the SpineMED with chiropractors and their patients?
A: The SpineMED is an attractive alternative to back surgery or other short-term remedies for permanently treating back pain from compressed or herniated discs caused by trauma, time or congenital disorders. The device has demonstrated an 86% success rate with patients who have failed all other methods of treatment, including surgery. Chiropractors are using the device to help the millions of people that suffer from chronic back pain each day.