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I fell backwards, off an art room stool, on a slickly waxed floor in seventh grade, right on my tailbone. Who knows if that was what precipitated my own back issues but I have been able to manage the cyclical discomfort over the years and have been able to dance, hike, swim, ski and practice yoga. So as I sat down to write this story, I was suddenly hampered by a new and unusual pain on the other side of my mid back, near my rib cage. Maybe it’s just a function of musing about this story, but the pain was real and overwhelming.

If you’ve experienced prolonged back pain, you know how debilitating and demoralizing it can be. That sense of desperation often leads patients down a variety of paths. For those that have exhausted all non-invasive treatment and are considering surgery, there is potential relief. Hope comes in the work of Dr. Thomas Ferrigno, founder and owner of the Bay Area Disc Centers. He has pioneered the state of the art disc decompression treatment therapies, and offers a non-surgical treatment --- invented by neurosurgeons --- and chiropractic care. It is not a cure, but a disc restoration program that leaves patients healthier, more mobile and potentially free of pain.

Dr Ferrigno suffered himself from debilitating back pain. As an athlete and young dental student in San Francisco, a serious back injury led him to chiropractic medicine both as a patient and then as a student. Over the years his practice has evolved to include a “whole person approach” and he seeks to care for his patients with the very best hands-on techniques, hi-tech diagnostic and treatment equipment and a holistic approach to overall health. Dr. Ferrigno wants to educate the public. He says we ignore our spines until it hurts, and that pain is for a reason. It is an alarm, and too often it is ignored until the problem is unmanageable. That’s where he and his colleagues come in.

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His Bay Area Disc Centers have two locations, one in San Mateo and the other in Campbell. The combination of Dr. Ferrigno’s advanced education and National Certifications along with the most advanced medical equipment make him the “Go To” doctor in the Bay Area for the diagnosis, treatment and management of chronic neck and lower back pain caused by a number of serious disc conditions.

These conditions include:

● Herniated Discs

● Bulging Discs

● Sciatica

● Degenerative Disc Disease

● Facet Arthrosis

● Spinal Stenosis

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To better address these conditions, Dr. Ferrigno developed a program known as Disc Restoration Therapy. This treatment program is typically a 6 to 8 week program that features a five-step (S.P.I.N.E.) approach:

● Spinal Decompression: Reduces disc herniation/ bulges, rehydrates degenerated discs

● Physiotherapy: Electric Muscle Stimulation and Laser Therapy to decreases pain, increases healing by up to 3X & improves circulation

● Inter-Segmental Mobilization: Restores motion and function to spinal joints and relieves pressure on pinched nerves

● Nutritional Wellness: Decreases pain and inflammation, and helps speed up healing and improves overall health

● Exercise Rehabilitation: Stretch and strengthen supporting core musculature to ensure long term results

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The day I visited the San Mateo office it was bustling with energy and yet there was a palpable calm to it all. Patients were reclined, having treatment applied and in various stages of recovery. Ferrigno, born in San Francisco, raised in Millbrae, has 3 children and one grandchild. He does not look like a grandpa; fit, strong and vivacious, his commitment to this therapy is unmistakable.

Many patients are 50 plus, but more and more he is seeing younger folks suffering from back pain. Repetitive stress causes some injuries, some are acute -- like a car accident -- and now more than ever, people come to him with technology induced pain. We spend so much time hunched over, typing on devices, many are suffering from ‘text neck’ and extreme postural challenges. In general, he says women tend to do more about their bodies, but he sees patients from all walks of life, all ages and each is treated uniquely. Over the years he has had such success, that he has narrowed his practice to primarily treat chronic neck and lower back pain due to disc related conditions.

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The treatment -- often partially covered by Medicare or private insurance -- is an 8-week program and usually entails 24 visits. Patients share their successes and include a 94 year old man who just wanted to play 9 holes of golf again, and did! Others share their odysseys of struggling for years and finally finding relief through the unique treatment system:

“Dr Ferrigno put me at ease and explained what needed to be done and walked me through every step of the way!”

“By far the best chiropractor ever! Sits and listens to all your questions and concerns and gives you multiple options in care.”

“I'm back to hiking and doing the things I enjoy again.”

“I came to the Bay Area Disc Centers in December. Since I started the DRX spinal decompression program, I am feeling fantastic! I came in with constant pain and I was told that my only option was surgery. I decided to try the spinal decompression program and I experienced incredible results! My pain was greatly reduced! I also took advantage of THE SKINNY UP program and lost over 27 lbs in only 40 days. Overall my experience with Dr. Ferrigno and the staff here at Bay Area Disc Centers has been a wonderful one. I recommend this to anybody.”

The machine referenced is the DRX9000, a giant contraption that helps create traction to lubricate, reduce inflammation and regenerate disc health. This is one of the treatment options, each complementing each other and including weight reduction and the development of core strength.

Dr. Ferrigno currently runs one of the largest spinal decompression practices in the Bay Area and has performed more than 30,000 decompression treatments to date. Dr. Ferrigno is only one of a few doctors in the state of California who is Nationally Certified in both Spinal Decompression Therapy and Peripheral Neuropathy. He is also a board member of the International Medical Advisory Board on Spinal Decompression as he has demonstrated an exemplary level of excellence in the diagnosis, treatment and management of spinal disc disorders.

If you are struggling with back pain and are discouraged, Dr. Ferrigno can help manage your condition and improve your quality of life. He offers affordable introductory appointments to assess your condition and strategize about treatment options. So if you or someone you love is in pain and feeling pessimistic about the condition, it is far better to exhaust all forms of non-invasive treatment before consenting to surgery.

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