Can spinal decompression treatment help you?
While still relatively unknown, we do every so often have individuals presenting to our practice asking for spinal decompression therapy asking whether it can help their situation? Given this, we would take this opportunity to discuss spinal decompression therapy so that you are aware of its possible benefits.
So what is spinal decompression therapy?
This treatment involves applying a stretch or traction to the spinal joints using a mechanically-assisted machine. The goals of such treatment are the enhance spinal mobility, reduce spinal related pressure, improve muscular tonicity, reduce pain and stiffness. Spinal decompression therapy is non-surgical and the manufacturers’ of these machines claim such therapy has a reduced risk of the potential adverse events associated with surgical decompression.
How Does Spinal Decompression Really Work?
- Attempts to reduces intra-discal pressure in an effort to relieve symptoms associated with disc bulges/herniations or “pinched nerves”
- May assist with altering the position of the intervertebral disc between spinal joints
- May reduce discal pressure which can lead to enhanced healing via nutrient dynamics
What Types Of Problems May It Potentially Help With?
Spinal decompression therapy is suitable for most individuals. Particular cases of which people may see the most benefit include:
- Lower back pain
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative joint disease (arthritis)
- Disc pathology (bulge, herniation)
- Facet syndrome
When Should You Not Have Spinal Decompression?
- During pregnancy (particularly if your practitioners table requires you to lie face down)
- Individuals who have recently suffered traumatic spinal injuries (fractures, dislocations, breaks)
- Cases where some Individuals suffer from severe, generalized hypermobility
- Individuals who have undergone recent spinal surgery, fusion or other types of procedures
If you’re concerned that spinal decompression is not suitable for you, feel free to call our Chiropractors via 1300 123 365 and discuss your clinical complaint.
Is There Evidence To Support Spinal Decompression?
Unfortunately to-date there is a lack of clinical trials and treatment comparisons for spinal decompression. However, clinical observational reports suggest some patients receive benefit from repeated spinal decompression therapy. Further research should be performed, comparing spinal decompression to treatments such as exercise as well as Chiropractic/Osteopathy/Physiotherapy techniques. Alternative study findings include:
- “Serial MRI of 20 patients treated with decompression showed 90% reduction of subligamentous nucleus herniation. Disc rehydration was also clinically indicated” Eyerman, Edward MD. Simple Pelvic Traction Gives Inconsistent Relief to Herniated Lumbar Disc Sufferers. Journal of Neuroimaging. Paper presented to the American Society of Neuroimaging, Orlando, Florida. 2-26-98.
- “86% of intervertebral disc patients acheived good to excellent improvement following decompression therapy” C. Norman Shealy, MD, PhD, and Vera Borgmeyer, RN, MA. Decompression, Reduction, and Stabilization of the Lumbar Spine: A Cost-Effective Treatment for Lumbosacral Pain. American Journal of Pain Management Vol. 7 No. 2 April 1997.
- “84% of individuals remained pain-free up to 90 days post treatment” Gionis, Thomas MD; Groteke, Eric DC. Surgical Alternatives: Spinal Decompression. Orthopedic Technology Review. 2003; 6 (5).
What Does A Spinal Decompression Session Involve?
Typically, individuals present for spinal decompression having suffered lower back complaints. There is no need to remove clothing during a session. All individuals are asked to lie on the mechanical decompression table, where a small strap is placed around the pelvis to ensure all movement is generated through the spine and not the pelvis. Various table models use a client lying face up or face down. You may receive treatment lieing face up or face down (dependant upon their table model and design). While the machine is working, a gentle rhythmic type motion and stretch will be felt in the spine.