FAQ’s on Spinal Decompression Therapy
Spinal decompression therapy stands as an alternative treatment method for patients with chronic lumbar pain due to an afflicted disc, and can help to provide symptomatic pain relief for either a herniated or a bulging disc. Decompression therapy functions by applying directed traction to the spine to remove compression from a disc, which creates suction in the area around it to draw in surrounding spinal fluid.
The spinal fluid drawn in contains many needed healing and growth nutrients, allowing a disc to heal more rapidly to regain height. One study (Restoration of disk height through non-surgical spinal decompression is associated with decreased discogenic low back pain, 2010) provides evidence confirming increasing a disc’s height with decompression can directly result in symptomatic relief.
What will Spinal Decompression Therapy treat?
It is important to note that spinal decompression therapy will not cure a patient of their source of pain, but is instead a very effective tool in managing symptomatic pain and providing pain relief. Decompression therapy is primarily used for patients with discs that have been affected by spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, damage to the facet joints from arthritic causes, and as a treatment for pain due to a failed back surgery.
Spinal decompression therapy can also be used to help treat indirect causes of pain. It may able to provide relief for many conditions, including pain due to damaged discs or afflicted spinal nerves (such as nerves that have been compressed by a herniated or bulging disc). The effectiveness of spinal decompression therapy in the treatment of symptomatic back pain has been researched extensively and is summarized in this clinical examination (Clinical examination procedures to determine the effect of axial decompression on low back pain symptoms in people with chronic low back pain, 2012).
How is Spinal Decompression Therapy performed?
By applying traction to the spine, the muscles surrounding a damaged disc can be ‘tricked’ into relaxing to stop involuntary spasms. Carefully controlled traction applied to the spine will separate the discs to create the suction force mentioned above. Years ago, traction was only able to be applied to the entirety of the spine as a whole, and was unable to pinpoint the area of the affected disc to best provide treatment. Modern spinal decompression therapy is performed with tailored decompression tables, which are extensively reviewed and examined here (Spinal decompression machines, 2008).
The tables currently used are able to provide pinpoint traction to the areas that need it most, and do so in a very gentle manner that many of our patients find comfortable and relaxing. It is not uncommon for patients to fall asleep while the table provides relief. Modern tables have also been designed with the safety of the patient foremost in mind, and are able to track the movements of patient. If the table detects specific movements, it will cease traction immediately to avoid any risk to the patient. Patients will also be monitored throughout by a knowledgeable lab technician to ensure their safety and accurate treatment.
How well does Spinal Decompression Therapy work?
Spinal decompression therapy is a very effective means of symptomatic relief for patients, and can help patients avoid the need for invasive surgery. Thanks to advances in technology, the tables used continue to improve allowing better treatment to patients. Approximately 85% of our patients are able to achieve pain relief by receiving spinal decompression therapy at our clinic.
It is important to note that spinal decompression therapy is performed over a number of smaller sessions, typically around 20, and that patients should attend every session to achieve their best treatment. The number of sessions required will be tailored to the prescribed needs of each individual patient.