What is Spinal Decompression?
Spinal decompression therapy is essentially the evolution of traction. When traction is applied to the spine, the body's reaction is to pull in the opposite direction. This can affect the effectiveness of traction on spinal structures like discs. Spinal decompression equipment, on the other hand, contains sensitive computer-feedback mechanisms to overcome this phenomenon and allow for maximum therapeutic benefit to spinal discs, joints and muscles. The computer continuously monitors muscular reaction and compensates by re-adjusting traction strength. Each treatment with spinal decompression can be customized to a specific type of problem a patient may have with a variety of adjustable constant or intermittant hold and release protocols implemented by the computerized system.
While results obviously vary from patient to patient, many back pain sufferers who undergo decompression therapy, including those who are long-term chronic or pre/post-surgical cases, are able to resume normal daily activities. If you do not show significant improvement after a recommended treatment program you may be referred for further diagnostic evaluation. Age, body morphology, smoking, previous surgery, chronic use of narcotic or steroid medications, obesity, and large amounts of daily caffeine may negatively affect treatment outcome.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- How does spinal decompression work?
- Is spinal decompression effective?
- What can be treated by spinal decompression?
- How do I know if I need spinal decompression treatment?
- How long does a treatment take?
- How long does it take to see results?
- Are there any side effects to the treatment?
- Is there any risk to the patient during treatment on spinal decompression?
- Can spinal decompression be used with patients that have had spinal surgery?
- Is spinal decompression treatment all I need?
- Are the results permanent?
- Will spinal decompression treatment make me taller?
How does spinal decompression work?
Most commonly spinal decompression is seen as a treatment for disc problems. However, spinal decompression uses state of the art technology to apply a distractive force to all of the spinal tissues, including the muscles, ligaments, and spinal joints. Spinal decompression is designed to speed the healing of disc problems and nerve root irritation, reduce muscle spasm, improve joint mobility, and reduce pain and other symptoms. The spinal decompression tables are programmed by your chiropractor to deliver the best possible treatment for your condition.
Is spinal decompression effective?
Clinical studies have shown that spinal decompression is quite effective at treating a wide range of neck and back and problems. Effectiveness varies from patient to patient.
What problems can be treated by spinal decompression?
Spinal decompression has been shown to help most people with a wide variety of problems, for example: acute disc injuries (like a bulging or herniated disc) - degenerative disc problems - osteoarthritis of the spine - spinal pain and muscle spasm - reduced mobility and flexibility - sciatica - numbness and tingling in the arms or legs and facet syndrome.
How do I know if I need spinal decompression therapy?
At the BetterBack Clinic, your chiropractor will perform a comprehensive consultation and examination (which typically includes x-rays), as well as make a proper diagnosis prior to recommending any form of treatment (including spinal decompression). If spinal decompression therapy is likely to benefit you, it will be a recommended part of your treatment program.
How long does a treatment take?
Depending on the condition and area of the body being treated, spinal decompression therapy typically takes between 10 and 15 minutes. For best results specific spinal warm-up exercises are performed prior to spinal decompression therapy. In total, a visit to the clinic for spinal decompression therapy typically takes between 20-30 minutes.
How long does it take to see results?
Most patients report a reduction in symptoms after the first few sessions. However, results vary from patient to patient, and will be affected by many factors including the severity of the condition and whether or not other complimentary treatments are being used (such as chiropractic adjustments and home-care exercises). Some people reach their goals with only a few treatments, while others, with more serious or acute conditions, may require a higher number of treatments to receive maximum benefits. Everyone is different.
Are there any side effects to the treatment?
The vast majority of patients do not experience any side effects. However, if your condition is very acute or more serious, initial spinal decompression treatments may be aggravating and/or temporarily increase your symptoms (the same as with other forms of treatment). This does not mean that spinal decompression is not right for you. When making changes to your spine's function, it can take a while for your body to adapt and accept the changes. There are also specific exercises that should be done in the clinic before and after spinal decompression that will help reduce the chance of symptoms flaring up. There are also home-care exercises that you can do that will help improve the effectiveness of the treatment and minimize side effects.
Is there any risk to the patient during treatment of spinal decompression?
There is some risk with any type of treatment, and there is even risk associated with doing NOTHING to treat spinal conditions! Spinal decompression has been proven to be quite safe and is normally very comfortable when used appropriately. If during any treatment you do happen to experience any discomfort or unusual symptoms, the spinal decompression tables have a "stop" button that when pressed immediately stops the treatment and notifies the doctor and staff. In the BetterBack Clinic, the team is always close by and ready to answer questions or help as needed - you are not left in a room by yourself with no one in sight!
Can spinal decompression be used with patients that have had spinal surgery?
In most cases, spinal decompression treatment is appropriate for patients who have had spinal surgery. In fact, it is not uncommon for patients to find symptom relief with spinal decompression after back surgery did not. Each person is individually assessed and contraindications ruled out prior to any treatment in our office, not just with spinal decompression.
Is spinal decompression treatment all I need?
Spinal decompression has a proven track record for treating neck and back problems all on its own. However, most people at the BetterBack clinic combine or blend together spinal decompression therapy, specific chiropractic adjustments, and rehabilitative home care exercises into a personalized program for even better results!
Are the results permanent?
For most people, long term improvements in spinal health means a lifestyle change. As with any treatment that seeks to improve the body's function and health, the longevity of your results depend on your diligence and commitment to maintaining your health, as well as your willingness to recognise and avoid/modify behaviours and situations that may result in further injury. Attending the FREE BetterBack Mobility and BetterBack Strength classes will help improve results and make the results longer lasting!
Will spinal decompression therapy make me taller?
Many people actually do get taller! When the height (thickness) of the spinal discs is increased and a person's posture is improved, they will enjoy increased or restored height.