Spinal Decompression Therapy… A non-surgical alternative
How is Spinal Decompression Therapy done?
You are fully clothed during spinal decompression therapy. Your healthcare provider fits you with two harnesses and you lie down on the computer-controlled table. The computer settings are then customized to your specific condition.
Does it work?
In a recent study of Spinal Decompression Therapy, 219 patients who had at least 4 weeks of symptoms from either degenerative disc disease or herniated disc were treated. The results were amazing! 86% reported immediate symptom relief and 84% were still pain free 90 days after their treatment was completed.
Is it painful?
No. In almost all cases, the treatments are completely painless and most people even notice a reduction of pain during their sessions. In fact, some people even fall asleep.
How long does it take?
Individual sessions typically last 20-30 minutes. To achieve long term health benefits, you will require several sessions. Your healthcare provider can develop a treatment plan that meets your goals based on your specific condition.
Will I still need other therapy?
Spinal Decompression Therapy is generally only one part your overall treatment plan. There are other therapies your healthcare provider may recommend to help speed up your healing process. These often include: ice or heat therapy, chiropractic adjustments and/or active rehabilitation to strengthen spinal muscles.
Spinal Decompression Therapy has helped many patients avoid spinal surgery.
Who should consider this type of therapy?
You should consider this type of therapy if you have:
- Suffered back or neck pain for over one week
- Bulging or herniated discs
- Degenerative disc disease
- Worn spinal joints (Called posterior facet syndrome)
- Injured or diseased spinal nerve roots (Called radiculopathy)
Can anyone be treated?
Spinal decompression therapy is not recommended for pregnant women, patients who have severe osteoporosis, severe obesity or nerve damage. It is also not recommended if you have had spinal surgery with instrumentation (screws, metal plates or cages).
For most patients, spinal decompression is a safe and effective therapy. Your healthcare provider can help you decide if spinal decompression is right for you and your specific condition.
How is spinal decompression different than traction?
Regular traction stretches your spine and muscles simultaneously. If you only stretch the spine, your body naturally “braces” for the next stretch reducing the ability for the treatment to be effective. This “overall stretching” commonly used in traction can also trigger painful muscle spasms.
Decompression therapy is different than conventional spinal traction; it alternates between stretching and relaxation. The relaxation stages, trick your body into staying relaxed and therefore maximizes the load and the effectiveness of the treatment.
Decompression tables should also allow your doctor or therapist to target your treatment area in 3 different dimensions. This isolates specific spinal discs and allows them to “target” their treatment, while traction often just “stretches” the entire spine.
In addition, your healthcare provider can completely customize your decompression treatment. They can change the amount of stretch (load), the quantity of stretch/relax stages, the amount of time it takes to reach peak stretch/relax stage and many other settings.
This allows them to personalize the session for your age, weight and condition and to adjust your treatments as they track your results.
What is spinal decompression therapy?
Over a decade ago, NASA noticed that astronauts were relieved of low back pain when they were in anti-gravity environments. They found that spinal disc heights were increased during space missions. With these specific findings, a new technology was developed called Spinal Decompression Therapy.
Decompression machines are specialized, motorized traction devices that allow your healthcare provider to position your spine and target an area for decompression therapy. They work by gently stretching your spine.
This “stretch” creates negative pressure within your spinal disc and allows disc material that was herniated or protruded to be pulled back into the disc. It also helps promote the movement of water, oxygen and nutrient-rich fluids into the discs so they can heal.
Increased disc height, relieves pressure on nerves and other structures.
Spinal Decompression: A non-surgical alternative.
Back pain is the number one cause of disability in people under 45 and the third leading cause of disability over 45. Spinal decompression therapy has been proven effective at relieving the pain and symptoms from many causes of back pain. For some patients, surgery can even be avoided with spinal decompression therapy.
If you are interested in finding out if spinal decompression therapy can benefit you or someone you know, contact us!
- Decompression: A treatment for back pain, Occupational Medicine Clinical Care Update, Volume 11, Number 10 October 2004
- Gionis,T. and Groteke, E. Spinal Decompression Vol 5., No 6, Orthopedic Technology Review, Nov/Dec 2003
- Ramos, G. and Martin, W. Effects of vertebral axial decompression on intradiscal pressure J Neurosurgery, 81: 350-353 1994
- Shealy, C.N. and Leroy, P. New concepts in back pain: decompression, reduction, and stabilization Weiner R ed. Pain Management: A practical Guide for Clinicians, Boca Raton Fla: St. Lucie Press, 239-257-1998
- Eyerman E., MRI evidence of mechanical reduction and repair of the torn annulus disc. International Society of Neuroradiologists; October 1998; Orlando
- Narayan, P. and Morris, I.M. A preliminary audit of the management of acute back pain in the Kettering District Br J Rheumatol, 34:693-694 1995
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