History of the Vertebral Distraction Pump
From The Original Inventor
Many are curious about how the Vertebral Distraction Pump technique and instruments were developed. Like many new discoveries and innovations, it’s an amazing story.
I was a full-time practicing D.C. for over 25 years. For the first 16 years, I found treating cervical disc herniations very challenging with the chiropractic techniques I had available at the time. Then something amazing happened when I tried something I’d never done before.
In 1995, I had a case where one of my patients had a severe C5–6 disc protrusion. I decided to use the thumb and index fingers of each hand in an attempt to apply the flexion-distraction technique to relieve it. I placed my patient prone, with her neck slightly flexed on a tilted headpiece, and then I used the tips of my fingers to slightly open the posterior aspects of C5 and C6. Just when the distraction was a few millimeters, both of us heard a loud pop sound. I gently released the distraction and by the time the patient left the office, she was completely pain free and her neck range of motion was restored. The disc protrusion was corrected! We were both amazed, and I knew I was on to something incredible.
With this experience, I kept using this strategy to help many others, and soon realized that we should be able to accomplish the flexion-distraction technique using a hand held instrument versus my sore fingers!
Later in 1995 while I was doing patient consulting at the local hospital, I met another volunteer who happened to be an inventor who had been issued many U.S. Patents.
I talked to him about the possibility of designing a hand-held adjusting instrument, that would do flexion-distraction and be useful to relieve facet syndrome and disc lesions. It took well over a year working with various prototypes that didn’t look quite like they do now, but they all had one thing in common – they worked! In fact, they worked so well in the cervical spine, we decided to make one for the lumbar spine as well.
Some previous business partners and I formed the Bray Corporation to develop, research, manufacture and market the VDP to the Chiropractic Profession. We then had the VDP instruments patented and also registered with the FDA as a medical device.
As we continued to use the instrument, several of the chiropractic colleges asked for and received donated sets of VDP instruments for their interns to use. It was after this that our attention expanded to the effect the VDP instruments had on facet syndrome. The VDP instruments were developed to be versatile for many types of challenging subluxation patterns and effects, including radiculopathies caused by facet syndrome and disc lesions.
I performed hundreds of case studies, and later in 1999, published my initial results in the Journal, Chiropractic Technique.
With the favorable response, and peer review, we began marketing the VDP instruments. Over a thousand sets of VDP instruments were put into the hands of doctors and things were going very well for many years.
Unfortunately, I have had some difficult personal challenges over the years, including a traumatic brain injury in 2007, and then our Bray Corporation that made the original instruments fell apart and was not able to serve the profession. Thankfully, in 2008, I relocated to Sacramento, California and with the help of a great field doctor, Gregg C. Anderson, D.C. who has been using the VDP successfully since 2000, was able to get things going again. With Bray International, Inc. we made the VDP available again, and helped many new doctors get started. However, we soon realized we needed to make some changes with the actual design of the VDP, and with many of the business aspects including engineering and manufacturing.
Over the past number of years, with many more doctors around the world using the VDP technique, we have gathered much feedback and have done a tremendous amount of research so we can make the instruments and technique even better.
With the original instrument, there were two main complaints we had from our doctors:
- The plastic legs sometimes break.
- The part of the instrument where the fingers pull up, was too small to get all four fingers in, making it hard on the hand to use repeatedly throughout the day.
It was always hard to take that call from a field doctor who was relying on the instruments every day, and to hear his or her frustration with a broken instrument. While we could replace them, and have them repaired, it’s never a good thing to have something you rely on break in your hands.
There were several other issues, including learning that the adjustable slide mechanism was not used very much, with doctors using the “5” setting almost exclusively, and that the legs of the instrument could not open enough for some of our larger patients.
The great news is that we have been engineering, prototyping and field-testing improved designs for many years, and finally now have a Patent Pending, amazingly durable, easy to use, and beautiful instrument.
VDP International, Inc., a California corporation, is very pleased to now offer the Patented VDP-PRO to the chiropractic profession. We know, that there is nothing even remotely like it in the chiropractic field.
We are confident that you will be very happy with the VDP-PRO instruments and with having a simple, unique way to better serve many of your current and future patients.
Bruce G. Broughton, D.C.