Non-surgical decompression therapy may be a great option for patients experiencing chronic neck or back pain, especially if the cause of the pain is related to a bulging disc, a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease.
Statistics indicate that as many as 31 million people in the U.S. regularly experience lower back pain, which is a major contributor to absenteeism from work (more than 264 million lost work days in one year—that’s two work days for every full-time worker in the country) as well as a factor in diminished productivity. The discomfort associated with back pain can impede daily activities, but it doesn’t have to be a part of your life, especially with chiropractic and decompression therapy available in your area.
What Is Decompression Therapy?
Spinal decompression therapy is a technique that involves a machine that will stretch and pull on the spine to alleviate pressure between the vertebrae. Daily activities and bad posture can contribute to compression in the spine, regardless of where you work or what type of work you do.
You don’t need to have major spinal trauma to lose disc height, gravity will take care of that even with jobs that are minimally physical. By reducing this pressure through spinal decompression therapy and working to restore the spaces between the vertebrae, the treatment allows fluid to move more freely and disc integrity to be restored, ultimately relieving pain.
How Does Decompression Therapy Work?
Spinal decompression involves multiple sessions with an experienced chiropractor, who employs non-invasive techniques to decompress the spine and enhance mobility. Treatment plans are tailored to individual needs for optimal results. Plan on going for several weeks to months and don’t get started with this therapy if your plan is to get one session and never return. The sessions build on each other and particularly decompression therapy, the treatments start with mild to light traction before building to stronger sessions once you’ve become used to the tension.
A typical visit in our office will begin with a specific chiropractic adjustment and discussion of your current symptoms and any improvement or lack of improvement. This will direct the chiropractor to either continue the recommendations or make any changes as needed.
Following your adjustment, you will be directed to the spinal decompression area of our clinic, where we utilize the Back on Trac decompression tables, which are more comfortable and less scary than many of the other options on the market. These machines have 21 different protocols, which allows us to tailor the right decompression treatment for you. The different protocols vary in how they pull your spine as well as offering different directions of movement.
Following your decompression therapy, you will be directed to the therapy room in our office where electrical stimulation will be applied to the treated area. This is done both a precaution and is a part of your therapy plan to reduce any additional inflammation brought on by the therapy itself.
7 Reasons to Consider Spinal Decompression Therapy
1. It’s A Non-Surgical Option
Your initial assessment will include spinal x-rays, to make sure there’s no reason why you wouldn’t do well with decompression therapy. Many times, patients seeking decompression therapy will already have received an MRI examination and they already know if they have a herniated disc and what the severity of their condition is about.
Occasionally, patients have been told they are a surgical candidate but have either been referred to us by their surgeon or they are seeking an alternative prior to accepting a surgical treatment option. Many herniated discs can be treated with this therapy, removing the need for more invasive options.
2. Works For Both The Neck And The Lower Back
Cervical decompression therapy and lumbar decompression therapy are both available in our office. This means that your chronic neck and low back pain can be effectively treated with decompression therapy.
If the problem is in the upper back, we will still use the cervical option and mid to lower mid back pain can be treated with lumbar decompression. Herniated discs in the mid back are less common, but they do happen and you can still get relief with our treatment plans.
3. Reduces Inflammation To Your Nerves
Patients dealing with herniated discs may also be experience radiating pain, that is pain that will shoot down the arms or the legs. An example of this is sciatica, and this is a very common problem treated in our office.
Improve the space between the vertebrae directly affects any nerve compression or irritation. The disc height acts as a spacer, allowing the nerve to function normally. Any loss of height will irritate and affect how well your nerves work and feel.
4. Works Well For A Variety Of Conditions And Patients
Adult patients of all ages can benefit from decompression therapy. Whether you are an accountant that sits for 50-60 hours a week or a CrossFit athlete looking to improve performance and reduce pain on heavy back squats, you can see a benefit from this treatment option.
Conditions that respond to the best to decompression therapy are those that are directly related the spine or the spinal discs. This can include neck pain, back pain, herniated disc, bulging discs, sciatica, degenerative discs, pain shooting down the arms or legs, or spondylolisthesis.
5. Great Complement With Other Treatment Options
While decompression therapy works well by itself, it’s still a good idea to include chiropractic care along with either a home exercise and strengthening program or a full out physical therapy program. Doing chiropractic or physical therapy will not stop your decompression therapy program, rather they all enhance one another for even better results.
Your chiropractic doctor will create a custom treatment plan based on your condition, along with a variety of factors. While chiropractic care is the foundation, decompression therapy works well along with PEMF therapy and HEIT, as needed.
6. Accelerates Your Chiropractic Care Program
Depending on your condition, adding decompression therapy will accelerate your results. Results that would typically take months to achieve can be felt in weeks or days. This happens because the increased mobility, decreased inflammation, and increased blood flow the discs that happens during a decompression therapy session.
7. Comfortable & Painless Treatment
Contrary to common belief, spinal decompression sessions are gentle and soothing. The Back on Trac tables start off like a big chair, then gently lean you back before beginning the pulling portion of the session. There’s a gentle vibration that occurs in the lower back to help stimulate a healing response while relaxing the muscles.
When that initial pull happens to start your session, you will typically feel almost immediate relief. This is not a sign that everything has been fixed, but rather a strong indicator that once your spine is moving better and your disc height has improved, you will feel much better.
Don’t be scared of decompression therapy, realize that it can help save you from thousands of dollars in medical bills and months of recovery following a surgery. This non-surgical and drug-free options has helped millions of patients with their neck and back pain – let us help you!