Spinal decompression is used to alleviate back and leg pain. It is a non-surgical treatment with the goal of promoting a healing environment for degenerating, herniated, or bulging discs as well as relief of pain. It is though that spinal decompression helps pull the disc material back into place in bulging or herniated discs. It is also used to relieve the pain and pressure of a pinched nerve in the back.
Your pain may be caused by the actual disc being out of place in your spine, or by the fluid leaking out of the inside of a disc irritating or putting pressure on surrounding nerves. Both of these conditions may occur in the cervical (neck), thoracic (upper), or lumbar (lower) back. Lower back pain is the leading cause of visits to a Doctor of Chiropractic, and spinal decompression may be the best course of treatment for your back pain.
Dr. Mac will use several diagnostic methods to determine the type of back pain you are experiencing. These may include the following:
- Testing the nerve function in certain parts of the arm and legs
- Test of muscle strength
- Palpitation (touching) or manipulation to test for pain
- Review of symptoms
- Review of medical history
- Diagnostic tests: MRI scan or CT scan
With the results of these diagnostic methods Dr. Mac may then determine the cause of your pain and discomfort and decide upon the best treatment.
During spinal decompression therapy you will be clothed and lying on a special table which has a mobile lower half. A harness is placed around your hips and attached to the lower half of the table. While the upper part of your body is in a fixed position the lower half of the table slides back and forth to provide relaxation and traction. You should not feel any pain during the procedure, but you should feel a stretching sensation in the spine. You may be on your back or lying on your stomach depending on the type of table used.
Spinal decompression is performed in a series of sessions lasting from 15 to 30 minutes for a total of 45 minutes. This treatment is done over a four to six week period in Dr. Mac’s office. Additional therapies may also be used during or after the sessions. These include heat and/or cold therapy and electric stimulation. Dr. Mac may also recommend you drink up to a half-gallon of water per day and use nutritional supplements, rest, and at-home exercises to help improve mobility and strength.
Both traction and decompression therapy are applied with the goals of relieving pain and promoting an optimal healing environment for bulging, degenerating, or herniated discs.