Non-surgical spinal decompression therapy may be the answer to those suffering from back pain. This low-risk therapy involves a light stretching of the spine. It is believed to re-position herniated or bulging disc material back into the disc. It is also believed to treat common causes of back or neck pain, such as “spinal stenosis, degenerated disc, facet syndrome, or sciatica/leg pain” (Davis, Shoshany, Marten, 2010). Stretching the spine takes pressure off of (decompresses) the spinal discs, causing the discs that are herniated or bulging to possibly retract. Once these discs retract, previous pressure on the nerves and other areas of the spine will decrease, enabling movement of water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids into the discs. The presence of these nutrients aides in the healing process of the discs.
There have been multiple studies on the effects of decompression therapy. According to Decompression, Reduction, and Stabilization of the Lumbar Spine: A Cost-Effective Treatment for Lumbosacral Pain, “eighty-six percent of ruptured intervertebral disc (RID) patients achieved 'good' (50- 89% improvement) to 'excellent' (90-100% improvement) results with decompression. Sciatica and back pain were relieved. Of the facet arthrosis patients, 75% obtained 'good' to 'excellent' results with decompression” (Shealy, Borgmeyer, 1997). Another study conducted in 2004 had similar findings: “All but two of the patients in the study improved at least 30% or more in the first three weeks. Utilizing the outcome measures, this form of decompression reduces symptoms and improves activities of daily living” (Gundersen, Henrie, Christensen, 2004). Others oppose the therapy, arguing that the treatment has not been compared to other, less-costly solutions.
Non-surgical spinal decompression therapy is administered in the chiropractor’s place of practice. The patient will lie on their back, and a belt will secure them to the traction table. The lower-half of the traction table will separate and cause their spine to stretch. This type of therapy can also be performed manually. A normal session typically lasts for 20 to 30 minutes.
Not everyone is a good candidate for spinal decompression therapy. According to Spine-health, pregnant women and those who suffer from osteoporosis and other serious conditions are not recommended for this therapy. It is in the patient’s best interest to check with their chiropractor to see if this is the right treatment for them.
For those interested in spinal decompression, Auburn Chiropractic Associates available to evaluate your condition and determine the best conservative treatment plan for you. Schedule an appointment today.