How does Spinal Decompression work?
In nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy, the spine is stretched and relaxed intermittently in a controlled manner. The theory is that this process creates a negative intradiscal pressure (pressure within the disc itself), which is thought to have two potential benefits:
• Pulls the herniated or bulging disc material back into the disc
• Promotes the passage of healing nutrients, into the disc and fosters a better healing environment.
What is the Spinal Decompression session?
During spinal decompression therapy for the low back (lumbar spine), patients remain clothed and lie on a motorized table, the lower half of which can move.
• A harness is placed around the hips and is attached to the lower table near the feet.
• The upper part of the table remains in a fixed position while the lower part, to which the patient is harnessed, slides back and forth to provide the traction and relaxation.
There is a maximum and minimum weight that goes back in forth; each weight (measured in lbs.) is held for a certain amount of seconds. (For example…the minimum may be 30 lbs of pull held for 30 seconds then goes into the maximum of 65 lbs held for 45 seconds…then back to 30lbs and repeats this back and forth pull for a treatment time of 10-15 min.) Think of it as a pumping affect allowing hydration (oxygen and nutrient fluid) back into the disc and relieving pressure off the nerve root.
Dr. Kirkpatrick and Dr. Stewart usually recommend a series of decompression treatments because that is when the real, internal healing takes place. For example, in the case of a herniated or compressed disc that is causing back pain, spinal decompression works to stretch and reshape that disc. As the disc is gently stretched back into its correct shape, vacuum forces inside actually pull fresh hydration, oxygen and nutrients into the disc to help heal it from the inside. Most patients experience profound relief during the treatment and longer-term back pain relief after 4-6 treatments, sometimes a few more. The key is that the injured discs are literally being reshaped so that they can once again function normally to act as an appropriate cushion between your vertebrae.
In many cases, we have had patients who were seriously considering back surgery for injured discs who were able to avoid it after having a full course of spinal decompression combined with Chiropractic care. Non-invasive spinal decompression can be a good alternative to surgery and long-term dependence on painkillers in many cases. It is important to have a full examination and medical history done by Dr. Kirkpatrick and/or Dr. Stewart first to determine if decompression therapy is right for you as each case of back pain is different.