Personally written by Milan Lassiter, DC, 1303 W. Main St, Richmond, VA, Tel #: (804) 254-5765
Continuous passive motion (CPM) is a rehabilitation therapy that’s been around for more than 30 years because it works. The REPEX table in our office is a CPM machine for the low back. It can help when a person has “arthritis,” degenerated/herniated discs in the low back, or just plain stiffness and lack of movement in the low back. It features precise, touch-screen controlled repetitive movements, where exact angles, depth of back and forth movements, speed of treatment, and the total number of repetitions can be controlled.
I was introduced to CPM therapy about 15 years ago without even knowing about it. I was a new chiropractor, just out of school, and I was working for someone. As I remember it, I had an incident of low back pain that was so acute, my boss couldn’t adjust or manipulate my spine. The muscles around the area were locked very tightly. He put me on my back, pulled my knees to my chest, put one hand under my low back and lifted it, and then rocked me back and forth while lifting my low back up and down. After doing that for a while, my muscles were much more relaxed and I felt better with less pain. That is an example of a simple type of CPM. Our REPEX table can do that movement, but do it many more repetitions and also specifically relegate it to the maximum amount of motion that a person’s spine can handle at that given moment in time. It’s all very controllable via a computer interface where you can increase or decrease the range of motion depending on what the person can tolerate.
Passive range of motion moves an area gradually and slowly, without the use of the patient’s muscles. CPM produces a stressless motion by controlling motion in the affected area and moving it passively, without causing additional strain or inflammation. A common way to produce CPM is to have a machine do all the work and force the area to move within that persons limitations. During rehabilitation, these joints may be too sore or weak to bend on their own. CPM machines are commonly used in the knee, ankle, elbow, or shoulders. Our office has the only machine that specifically produces continuous passive motion in full range of motion (flexion and extension) for the lumbar spine.
CPM has been clinically proven to:
Reduce pain and swelling
Prevent joint stiffness
Promote blood and oxygen to a damaged area
Increase range of motion
Prevent scar tissue formation and muscle contractures
Activate muscles so they don’t weaken
How does the REPEX treatment work?
The REPEX machine was developed by Robin McKenzie, one of the forefront specialists on spinal conditions in the world. He even has an entire institute named after him, which trains physical therapists and rehab specialists. The exclusive, trade-marked design of the REPEX table was developed by him to address low back disorders using his McKenzie Technique.
Because of pain, fatigue, and other limitations, patients are sometimes unable (or very limited) to repeat exercises to maximum benefit. The REPEX table automatically and passively exercises a patient’s lower back to its full available range of motion (the table does all the work for you until you’re able to do it on your own). The REPEX table can exercise a patients low back with a greater number of repetitions than what is possible using exercises that someone could perform on their own.