MedX is a comprehensive rehabilitation program that incorporates the sports medicine approach to the treatment of chronic neck and back pain. A key component in this program is the Med-x equipment, developed by the founder of the Nautilus exercise equipment Arthur Jones. The Med-x machines are specially designed to provide the most effective means of isolating, safely testing, and directly strengthening the muscles in the low back and neck. The MedX program also incorporates general strength and fitness building activities.

The primary goals of this program are to improve range of motion, improve muscle strength, decrease pain, and return the patient to normal function. The entire program generally takes 15-20 minutes, twice a week for 8 weeks.

MedX is the gold standard for specific spine strengthening and rehabilitation. The Universities of Florida and San Diego have published research proving the efficacy of specific spine strengthening. The MedX Cervical and Lumbar Extension Machines, are proven to assist patients recovering from chronic back pain and neck pain, even after multiple failed attempts at other forms of therapy, including spine surgery.

MedX has over 40 published articles in peer-reviewed medical journals.

In Excruciating New Cure for Back Pain, Doctors Tell Patients to Hit the Weights
WALL STREET JOURNAL, November 12, 2002 by: Tara Parker Pope

For people with back pain, the advice has long been simple: Take it easy. Now, some doctors have a radically different suggestion: Make it hurt even more.

The new treatment, called aggressive rehabilitation, goes well beyond traditional physical therapy, taking the "no gain, no pain," approach to an excruciating level. After years of tentatively guarding their backs for fear of injury, back-pain sufferers who can barely walk or stand are subjected to grueling exercise, using their back muscles to stretch and push weight.

Those who can soldier through the treatment call it a miracle cure. A number of recent studies show back-pain sufferers who use aggressive exercise are far more likely to return to work, have less pain and are less likely to seek additional back treatment than those who use more traditional treatments.

"We say, 'Let's not guard it and protect it anymore," says Carol Hartigan, a physical-medicine and rehabilitation physician at the Spine Center at New England Baptist Hospital in Boston. "It's the opposite of what they have been told. If you have a bad back, it should be strong and flexible and fit."

Intensive exercise has been slow to catch on. The therapy is far less lucrative than pain pills, injections and surgical treatments that are the cornerstone of the back-pain industry. And patients, too, are reluctant to pursue the treatment, which takes more time and effort than passive therapies. But now with growing evidence that spinal-fusion surgery doesn't work for most people, more patients are looking for nonsurgical options.

David Shorr of Chicago is a believer. A few years ago, he was ready to under go spinal-fusion surgery for three degenerating disks. Mr. Shorr, a 38-year-old partner in (a) Chicago trading firm, was barely able to walk.

In a last-ditch effort to avoid surgery, he flew to the Physicians Neck and Back Clinic in Minneapolis, where doctors prescribed intensive exercise that focused on building up muscles. Before treatment, he could use his back to push 42 pounds; after 3-1/2 months, he could push 178 pounds--his body weight. He and his business partner invested $25,000 to buy the Med-X exercise equipment used by his doctors.

"The first night I was crawling around, that is how much pain I was in from my first treatment," says Mr. Shorr. "Now, 38, I'm as strong as I have ever been. When you're living with back pain, you are willing to experience worse pain to get past it."

The treatment runs counter to what most back-pain sufferers have been told. Often, physical therapists tell patients to ease up if they start to hurt. But proponents of intensive exercise say it only does more damage when people stop using their backs. The patient becomes "deconditioned," and the back becomes weaker, making it more likely to be injured again. Whether the problem stems from an injured sick or degenerative disease, proponents say strengthening the muscles will help.

"The more inactive they are, the lower their chances of recovery are," say Charles Keley, a founder of the Physicians Neck and Back Pain Clinic.

Still, he says, getting better often is "dependant on whether they have the chutzpah to go through an initial increase in symptoms." Patients face a huge psychological hurdle in believing that they can start using their backs. As many as a third of patients drop out of the intense exercise programs.

"I was very afraid and very concerned," says Elizabeth Prouty, a 56-year-old Boston resident who had suffered years of back and disk problems. She underwent aggressive rehabilitation twice a week for 10 weeks, and now regularly does the back stretched and weight-lifting that keep her pain in check.

Of course, patients shouldn’t just run off to the gym on their own. Proponents say that at least initially, such treatment should always be monitored by a physician. Meanwhile, finding a spine specialist who recommends aggressive rehabilitation rather than just traditional physical therapy can be tough. Some doctors use MedX exercise equipment, which uses computers to monitor a patient’s progress.

(The key to the program) is that (it) doesn’t focus on pain relief but on restoring back function. "Rarely do they say they have no pain," says Tom Mayer, an orthopedic surgeon and medical director of Pride Rehab (in Dallas). "But these people who were previously thought to never be able to work again...who do go back to the same kind of jobs they had before."

St. Paul, Minn., lawyer Tim Malchow, 60, could barely walk, drive, or even sleep in a bed because of paralyzing back pain. After aggressive rehabilitation treatment, he continues to exercise on his own and is now able to drive, swim and go hunting. "I was not at all intimidated by the fact that they said, 'You’re going to have to exercise and you’re going to hurt'," says Mr. Malchow. "I know what pain is all about."


Brian Nelson, MD; David Carpenter, MS. Can Spinal Surgery Be Prevented by Aggressive Strengthening Exercises? A Prospective Study of Cervical and Lumbar Patients. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 80 (Jan 1999): 20-25

Why is our equipment better?

Wolf Inroad Exercise uses the most technologically advanced MedX equipment.

Most exercise equipment designed for the fitness and rehab market are either biomechanically incorrect or have round sprockets. This means the resistance throughout the range of motion will stay the same. However, our machines are designed with cams that allow the resistance to vary throughout the range of motion. This makes the weight heavier in the positions that you are stronger and lighter in the positions that you are weaker. This allows the muscle to be stimulated to its fullest potential with each workout, which also translates to less joint irritation.

Specific Spine Rehabilitation is the Answer!

Extensive research has shown that the majority of chronic back pain and neck pain sufferers are significantly deconditioned. Weakness of the musculature that stabilizes the spine can lead to conditions such as herniated discs (ruptured disc), bulging discs, degenerative joint disease, sciatica and facet syndrome. A spine that is strong and stable will help prevent these conditions that keep us from functioning at an optimum level. MedX is the only spine rehabilitation equipment to effectively isolate and strengthen the muscles in the spine.

Conditions commonly treated with MedX

  • Neck Pain & Whiplash Injuries
  • Chronic Back Pain and Neck Pain
  • Herniated Discs/Ruptured Disc
  • Bulging Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Sciatica- Sciatic Leg Pain
  • Facet Syndrome