Spinal decompression is a form of treatment that involves stretching the spine, using a special motorized traction device, in order to reduce pressure and relieve back pain and other associated symptoms. It shouldn’t be confused with spinal decompression surgery, which also focuses on relieving pressure in the spine, but requires an operation under general anesthetic.
Non-surgical spinal decompression sees your therapist use a special traction device to gently stretch your spine in order to change its position. In doing so, it changes the force applied to it, relieving pressure on the intervertebral discs. These are the gel-filled cushions that sit between the vertebra, enabling flexibility and movement and acting like shock absorbers to protect the bones of the spine from damage.
When spinal decompression is performed, it creates negative pressure in the disc. This enables any bulging or herniated discs to retract back into position, and this will in turn take any pressure off of nerves and other structures found in the spine that could be causing pain and other debilitating symptoms. Reducing this pressure also makes it much easier for nutrient and oxygen-rich blood to reach the area, counteracting inflammation and accelerating the rate at which any damage can heal.
Spinal decompression appointments are not dissimilar to other chiropractic or physical therapy appointments. You will be able to stay fully clothed and you won’t require any anesthetic. Your therapist will fit the traction device to you, which is essentially a harness that sits around your pelvis and another which sits around your middle. Then you’ll lie down on the computer-controlled table and your therapist will operate it to gently stretch your spine.
Each session usually lasts less than an hour from start to finish. The exact number of sessions you will need will depend on the underlying issues that you are experiencing and how well your body responds to treatment. However, most patients have in the region of 20-30 sessions to reach the optimal improvement in their symptoms.
Spinal decompression therapy may be recommended in a variety of circumstances. However, it is typically recommended to treat issues including:
Sciatica, which is pain, weakness and tingling that extends from the buttocks down into the legs
Bulging or herniated intervertebral discs
Degenerative disc disease
Posterior facet syndrome (worn spinal joints)
Injured or diseased spinal nerve roots
Your therapist will be able to advise you if your issues could be successfully treated using spinal decompression therapy.
When was the last time you paid attention to your posture? Many people don’t realize that poor posture can be the root of many health problems, from back pain and stiffness to persistent headaches. This is because when we slouch, the intervertebral discs become squashed, making them more likely to herniate and bulge and place pressure on nerves and surrounding structures. This can result in pain and other debilitating symptoms. However, regular spinal decompression appointments stretch your spine enough to reduce pressure on the discs. Over time, this can reverse any damage to your spine that may have been unintentionally caused by poor posture.
For more information about spinal decompression, call Petito-Ross Chiropractic Center at (609) 581-1300 to reach our office in Hamilton, New Jersey.