Spinal Decompression Therapy
WHAT IS SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY?
Spinal Decompression Therapy, also called vertebral axial decompression, is a relatively new approach to the treatment of neck or back pain associated with herniated or bulging discs. It is a non-surgical, traction based therapy for the relief of back and leg pain (or, neck and arm pain in the case of cervical decompression). During the procedure, by cycling through distraction (stretching) and relaxation phases and by proper positioning, a spinal disc can be isolated and placed under negative pressure, causing a vacuum effect within it.
WHAT CAN THIS VACUUM EFFECT DO?
The vacuum effect accomplishes two things. From a mechanical standpoint, disc material that has protruded or herniated outside the normal confines of the disc can be pulled back within the disc by the vacuum created within the disc. Also, the vacuum within the disc stimulates circulation of fluids to and within the disc itself, promoting healing.
HOW IS SPINAL DECOMPRESSION DIFFERENT FROM TRACTION USED IN THE 80’S AND 90’S?
The computer controlled traction head is the key. It controls the variations in the traction pull allowing for spinal decompression and eliminating muscle guarding that is typical in older traction devices. The preprogrammed patterns for ramping up and down the amount of axial distraction allows for higher levels of spinal decompression and circulation of fluids to and within the disc.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY?
Patients who experience back pain originating from disc involvement may be helped by spinal decompression therapy. These conditions include but may not be limited to: herniated, protruded, or bulging discs, facet syndrome, sciatica, neck pain, or pain down the arm (as in the case of a bulging disc in the cervical spine).
While we believe spinal decompression may be of significant benefit to our patients, we know that different patients respond differently depending upon a number of factors - including the severity of the disc bulge, protrusion, or herniation itself. As such, no professional can guarantee your particular results.
ARE THERE CONDITIONS WHERE SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY IS NOT INDICATED?
Spinal decompression therapy is not recommended for pregnant women, patients who have severe osteoporosis, or severe obesity. Spinal surgery with instrumentation (screws, metal plates or "cages") is also contraindicated. However, spinal decompression therapy after bone fusion or non-fusion surgery can usually be performed.
ARE THE SESSIONS PAINFUL AND HOW MANY WILL BE NEEDED?
In almost all cases, the treatments are completely painless. In fact, some patients fall asleep during the spinal decompression session. The specific treatment plan will be determined by your therapist after your examination. The best results have been achieved utilizing 15- 20 sessions over a 6-8 week period.
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