What is spinal decompression?
Spinal decompression is a type of therapy used to treat back pain and other related symptoms. It can be either surgical or nonsurgical. In between the vertebrae of a spine there lies spinal disks. Over time they can deteriorate, bulge or herniate, which can be very painful. These conditions can be treated with spinal decompression.
What is nonsurgical spinal decompression?
Nonsurgical spinal decompression is a type of motorized traction that helps with back pain relief. While patients lay down on a special table, the chiropractor starts to stretch the spine gradually. The slow stretching changes the position of the spine. The shifting of the spine takes the pressure off the spinal disks, which act as shock absorbers between the bones in the spine by allowing slight mobility to take place. The pressure is taken off nerves as bulging and herniated disks may retract. This improves the movement of water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids into the disks so they can heal.
Why it works
This FDA approved technology reduces back pain by gently stretching and altering the position of the spine. This position change relieves the pressure on vertebral discs in the spine.
Spinal discs are gel-like cushions throughout the spin that work to absorb shock between the vertebrae in the spinal cord. Removing the pressure between the vertebrae takes the pressure off the spine and nerves. The decompression aids the flow of oxygen, water, and other vital nutrients into the discs so they may heal faster.
How is it done?
During spinal decompression therapy, a patient remains fully clothed. The chiropractor fits the patient with a harness around their pelvis and another around their trunk. The procedure can be performed either lying face down or face up on a motorized table. The chiropractor operates the computer connected to the chair, which allows for personalized treatment to the patient’s specific needs.
How long does a session take?
Each procedure typically takes about 30 minutes to an hour.
Is spinal decompression painful?
Since patients may already be in pain before their appointment, it is likely slight stretching may bring discomfort at the time. However, the actual procedure itself is not painful. Spinal decompression is an effective alternative to surgery and other more painful means of treatment. Many people even compare this treatment to some forms of massage therapy.
How long does nonsurgical spinal decompression last?
A spinal decompression appointment can last between 30 and 60 minutes. Patients will typically undergo between 15 to 20 decompression treatments, however, it is not uncommon for a patient to have more or less. A chiropractor will design a special treatment plan for the patient at the initial visit. This treatment program will be based on the severity of the injury, the size of the injury, and the location.
Who shouldn’t have spinal decompression?
While most people with back pain will qualify for this procedure, it is not for everyone. Ask your chiropractor whether or not spinal decompression is right for you. Pregnant women are not good candidates for this procedure. Patient with any of these conditions should not consider nonsurgical decompression:
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Advanced osteoporosis
- Metal implants in the spine
What is surgical spinal decompression?
Surgical decompression is another alternative for treating certain types of back pain, but it is mainly used as a last hope. If other interventions don’t work, your chiropractor may suggest surgical treatment for bulging or herniated disks, bony growths, or other spinal problems. Surgery may help minimize symptoms from pressure on the spinal cord or nerves, including:
To avoid surgery, it is best to take care of your injury as soon as possible so it doesn’t get worse. A chiropractor will help determine what the best means of treatment will be.
How much does nonsurgical decompression cost?
While treatment is covered by most health insurance plans, the cost for this procedure can range anywhere from $30 to $300 per visit. The best way to know for sure is to call your insurance company and contact your chiropractor to schedule a consult.