FAQ’s on Spinal Decompression Therapy
What is Spinal Decompression Therapy?
Patients who are experiencing chronic spine back due to a herniated or bulging disc may be able to obtain symptomatic relief with spinal decompression therapy. This therapy revolves around the use of directed traction applied to the spine, stimulating the healing process of a damaged disc to help lower the levels of pain present in a patient’s spine.
Decompression therapy also has a goal of restoring spinal function over time as a patients disc heals. To achieve full effect, patients will be required to attend a number of therapy sessions with each session lasting between 20 to 30 minutes. While some patients may experience relief as quickly as the first therapy session, patients are strongly encouraged to attend every session of their treatment plan to achieve the full therapeutic effect.
What can Spinal Decompression Therapy provide relief for?
Spinal decompression therapy is primarily used for the treatment of a failed back surgery, arthritic damage to the facet joints, the effects of degenerative disc disease, or pain arising from spinal stenosis. In addition to these direct sources of pain, nearly any condition present in the spine due to a damaged disc or compressed spinal nerve can have some degree of pain relief obtained through the use of decompression therapy.
While the amount of conditions it can treat are extensive, there a small number of items that cannot have relief provided with decompression therapy. These include pain from osteoporosis and pain present in the spine following the implantation of spinal instrumentation.
How is Spinal Decompression Therapy performed?
First, it is important to understand how decompression therapy provides relief to patients. By applying traction to a damaged disc, the spinal muscles can be tricked into a relaxed state which will stop involuntary muscle spasms. Careful controlled traction applied to the spine will cause the discs to separate, creating a suction force (called negative pressure) between them. This suction draws in spinal fluid, which contains important healing factors and nutrients that would have otherwise not have been obtainable by the damaged disc.
In the past, patients were forced to endure manipulation of the entire spine to achieve traction. With modern technology, traction is applied to the desired area by a computer controlled specialty traction table with a lab technician monitoring each and every session to ensure the machine is functioning. Modern traction tables are able to select specific areas of the spine to work on, and do so in a very gentle tender that many patients describe as relaxing. Some patients even fall asleep during the application of decompression therapy.
Modern traction tables were designed with the comfort and safety of a patient forefront in mind, and the tables react to any movement by the patient. If movements excess a certain range, such as if a patient is trying to distance themselves from the table, the table ceases function immediately to prevent any potential complications.
How well does Spinal Decompression Therapy work?
With a primary purpose of providing pain relief for patients, decompression therapy also works to help patients avoid the need for certain invasive surgeries. It is also a very effective tool, with over 85% of patients achieving pain relief. While each treatment plan is tailored to the unique patient, the average number of sessions is 20 (Surgery for neurogenic claudication and spinal stenosis. 2013).
What are the risks of Spinal Decompression Therapy?
There is very little risk associated with these therapy sessions due to the reliability of a computer-controlled table and a lab tech monitoring the procedure. Spinal decompression therapy is nearly pain-free, and requires only for patients to relax and allow the table to work.