What is Spinal Decompression Therapy
Treatment with spinal decompression therapy has become exponentially more popular over the last decade. The process is to use intermittent spinal traction which has been shown to be very effective for chronic back and neck pain along with treating spinal stenosis, degeneration in the discs, sciatica and radiculopathy.
While the treatment has been shown to be over 85% effective overall, it is also low risk, FDA cleared, noninvasive and cost less than 5% spine surgeries.
How long has spinal decompression therapy been available?
Although Spinal traction has been in use for more than 50 years, there is a difference between spinal decompression therapy and continuous spinal traction. FDA cleared SDT in the 90s and it has been growing in popularity ever since.
One of the first spinal decompression tables on the market that achieved significant success was the DRX-9000. These machines were initially very expensive, which in turn caused treatment cost to exceed $4000-6000. Over the past decade the cost has come down dramatically for a series of treatment.
How is spinal decompression therapy different from regular spinal traction?
Regular traction involves continuous pulling on the back using weight. And with a back that is painful from arthritis or a disc problem, the muscles around the spine will fight continuous traction and treatment may not be effective.
SDT, however, provides intermittent spinal traction which effectively fools the spinal muscles into not going into spasm. Because of that, it is much more effective than regular spinal traction at relieving back pain.
When is SDT used?
There are quite a fewproblems in the neck and the back that receive benefit from spinal decompression. They are:
- Bulge or Rupture in the Discs in the Back or Neck
- Herniated Discs in the back or neck with radiculopathy or sciatica
- Spinal Stenosis in the neck or back
- Degenerating Discs
- Facet arthritis
- Failed neck or back surgery without instrumentation
What is the science behind spinal decompression therapy?
With this revolutionary treatment, the intermittent traction is very effective at avoiding muscle spasms. Injured areas of the spine are separated with the treatment, and a negative pressure is created inside the intervertebral disc space.
Asthe negative pressure is created, blood flow into the injured area increases, bringing with it nutrients and oxygen to repair the damage. This helps considerably with discs that degenerate, and also the separation helps relieve nerve root compression pain from sciatica and spinal stenosis.
Individuals with chronic back pain due to either facet arthritis or degenerative disc disease can receive exceptional benefits from the treatment. In addition, those with spinal stenosis along with sciatica or radiculopathy with pinched nerves may also receive excellent pain relief.
Individuals whose back surgery did not bring relief or who have significant neck arthritis or also indicated for the treatment if instrumentation has not been used.
Who should not have treatment with spinal decompression?
There are a few contraindications for the treatment:
- Pregnant women
- Those with significant osteoporosis
- Previous spinal fusion with instrumentation in place. Spinal fusions without instrumentation are okay.
How many treatments are necessary?
Research shows that approximately 20 treatments are necessary to receive the full benefit.
This usually lasts for approximately 6 or 7 weeks and is achieved in combination with chiropractic treatment and physical therapy exercises for optimal results.
Spinal decompression therapy treatment may be used as part of multi-modal treatment. This means a pain doctor can perform treatments like facet injections, provide medication management while your chiropractor offers the spinal decompression therapy along with manipulations.
How much is the treatment and does insurance cover it?
Over the past 10 years treatment cost has come down substantially and a full series typically cost less than $1500-2000 as compared to $5000 earlier. In some cases, insurance companies will allow a “carve out” for pain clinics to cover the cost.
Ask your provider whether or not it is covered or on a fee for service basis.
Are there risks with the treatment?
There is minimal rsk with this treatment. There is a tiny risk it could make sciatica worse, or cause an osteoporotic fracture but these are very rare. Most individuals are relaxed during treatment and plenty may just fall asleep.
SDT provides a low risk option, non-invasive and high benefit treatment option. Costs are less than 5% of what spine surgery costs, it represents a great option to check out if you have neck or low back chronic pain.
The California Pain Network connects those in pain with pain relievers around the state, including pain clinics and chiropractors providing pain management Los Angeles trusts. Simply fill out the form today or call (310) 626-1526 today!