Pain can be debilitating and disruptive to all aspects of your life, especially back pain – but it doesn’t have to be.
If you suffer from this type of pain, you may have tried a number of traditional and non-traditional therapies to relieve it. Some of them may have even temporarily relieved some of your pain, but after a while, your back eventually starts hurting again.
Does this sound like you? If so, you may want to consider nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy.
What Is Spinal Decompression?
Spinal decompression is a type of motorized traction that works by gently stretching and changing the position and force of your spine.
By doing this, the pressure is relieved from your spinal discs – gel-like cushions between the bones of your vertebrae – which can aid in retracting bulging or herniated discs and taking the pressure off your nerves or other spinal structures. The reduction in pressure can also help the movement of oxygen, water, and fluids rich in nutrients into the discs so they can begin healing.
Spinal decompression may be right for you if you are experiencing:
- Back or neck pain
- Sciatica – pain, weakness, or tingling that extends down into the leg
- Bulging or herniated discs
- Degenerative disc disease
- Posterior facet syndrome or worn spinal joints
- Injured or diseased spinal nerve roots
If you are pregnant or suffering from a fracture, tumor, abdominal aortic aneurysm, advanced osteoporosis, or have metal implants in your spine, spinal decompression may not be the best option for you. However, check with your chiropractor to be sure.
How Does Spinal Decompression Work?
Spinal decompression takes place on a computer-controlled table that can customize the amount and force of decompression based on your weight, the necessary angle of decompression, and how you react to the treatment.
You will be fitted with a harness around your pelvis and your trunk, and will lie face down or face up on the special table. The table will then attempt to relieve your pain by creating negative pressure in your discs, which alleviates the pressure on the rest of your spine.
One of the best parts of spinal decompression therapy is that the table is designed to read your body’s reactions using biofeedback. If you have muscle spasms, resist the direction the table pulls, or tense up too much, the table will respond appropriately to change the treatment to be more effective.
A single session of spinal decompression can last between 30 to 45 minutes, and you may need 20 to 28 treatments over a two-month period. While that may seem like a lot, just think of how you’ll feel by the end of all your treatments. Additionally, spinal decompression may be used with other treatments such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, or heat or cold therapy.
Surgical Spinal Decompression
We have been discussing nonsurgical spinal decompression, but surgical spinal decompression might be available if other therapies don’t work. However, surgical spinal decompression is seen as a last resort because it is invasive, has the typical risks that surgeries in general entail, and – perhaps worst of all – may not even improve your back pain!
Many people often think surgery is their only option to relieve pain, but there are plenty of nonsurgical therapies to try that may be more successful than surgery. The only way you will know your options is if you discuss your pain with your chiropractor.
About the Author:
Dr. Marc Browner is the Founder of iChiropractic and Wellness in Naples, Florida. A graduate of the University of Florida in 1991, he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic in 1995. In private practice since 1998, Dr. Browner is a member of the Florida Chiropractic Society, the Florida Chiropractic Association, and he attends continuing education seminars, classes, and workshops to remain abreast of the most current treatment methods and technological advances in the field.