If you are experiencing back pain due to a herniated or bulging disc, nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy may offer you relief. This treatment utilizes traction and decompression therapy to help alleviate pain and facilitate healing in spinal conditions, such bulging or herniated discs. Discs are the gel-like cushions between the vertebrae of
the spine and if there is increased pressure through the discs, it can cause them to bulge or herniate. This type of therapy may help leg pain coming from the spine as well. Nonsurgical spinal decompression is a noninvasive type of treatment that uses a traction table or other type of device to gently stretch your spine in hopes that any impingement will be released. The type of devices used are based on the same principle that chiropractors and other trained health professionals use.
The way nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy does this is by:
• Creating negative pressure in the intradiscal area to try to reposition or encourage retraction of the herniated or bulging disc.
• Produce an environment where an influx of nutrients, oxygen, and other substances with enter the disc to encourage healing.
What conditions is it good for?
There are many conditions in which doctors may use nonsurgical spinal decompression to help relieve pain:
• Back pain
• Neck pain
• Sciatica (pain or tingling that radiates down the leg)
• Bulging discs
• Herniated discs
• Degenerative disc disease
• Worn down spinal joints
• Injured or diseased spinal nerve roots
What should I expect from the procedure?
1. You will be fully clothed when you have the therapy done. It will be performed in the doctor’s office so no need for any special preparation. You will be fitted with a harness around the hip area and an additional one around your torso.
2. Depending on how your doctor wants to do it, you will be either lying face down or face up on the table. The table is computerized and the physician will operate the table from a computer. He/she will customize the treatment to your specific needs.
3. You should not experience any pain during or after the decompression therapy. All you should feel is a stretch in the spine.
4. You can expect the treatment to last between 30 to 45 minutes. Subsequent treatments will be done over the next five to seven weeks where you can anticipate about 20 to 28 treatments during that time.
Other types of therapy may be done before or after having spinal decompression, such as, electrical stimulation to the muscles around the area, ultrasound to generate heat and healing, and heat or cold therapy.
A patient should expect to keep hydrated by drinking up to a half-gallon of water per day following treatments. Nutritional supplements and performing exercise to do at home may also be prescribed by the doctor. This is to help improve strength and mobility of the spine. Keeping good posture will help prevent any further issues as well as maintain a healthy spine. You may want to try exercises such as hydrotherapy, yoga, or Pilates for the long term to keep your spine flexible and strong after your last treatment of nonsurgical spinal decompression; be sure to ask your doctor if these activities are acceptable in your situation.