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Posted on 12-08-2016

Understanding spinal decompression is not a difficult feat. Quite simply, spinal decompression consists of treatments that relieve spinal cord pressure or pressure on compressed nerve roots that pass through or exit the spinal column.

Spinal decompression therapy is effective for treating:

  • Lower back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Bulging discs
  • Degenerated discs
  • Herniated discs

Noninvasive Treatments

Treatment for spinal decompression utilizes therapy and/or traction to relieve the patient’s pain and promote healing by reducing pressure in any herniated or bulging discs. Typically performed in the chiropractor's office, nonsurgical decompression therapy involves intermittently stretching and relaxing the spine in a controlled manner to enable any bulging disc material to return into the disc and/or to enabling healing nutrients to enter the spine to create a better healing environment. This type of therapy typically consists of 15 to 30 treatments of approximately 30 to 45 minutes apiece, lasting from four to six weeks. While the patient will feel stretching, the procedure should not hurt.

In addition to decompression therapy, the chiropractor may recommend other interventions such as electrical stimulation, cold and/or heat therapy, and ultrasound. Additional recommendations include adequate water consumption, rest, nutritional supplements, and home-based exercises to improve mobility and strength.

Surgical Treatments

Microdiscectomy (or microdecompression) is a minimally invasive surgery to remove herniated disc material in order to reduce the pressure and inflammation around a nerve root.

Laminectomy is another surgical procedure in which some of the posterior arch of the vertebrae and/or spinal ligaments is removed to relieve pressure. Either open or minimally invasive, this procedure is more common when multiple discs are causing the problem.

Contraindications for Spinal Decompression Therapy

This type of therapy is neither recommended nor appropriate for some patients, such as pregnant women and patients who have:

  • Artificial discs or other spinal implants
  • Had failed back surgery or multiple surgeries with no relief
  • Broken vertebrae
  • Had spinal fusions
  • Osteoporosis or osteopenia
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spinal infection
  • Spinal tumors
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Been taking blood thinners
  • Any other condition that may compromise the spine’s integrity

For more information or to schedule a consultation to see if spinal decompression therapy may help your back pain, please contact us.

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