How Does Spinal Decompression Work?

Oct 11, 2019

How-Does-Spinal-Decompression-Work Back pain can be caused by a number of different health issues, including problems with your spine. Just as there are many different causes, there are also a number of different ways to treat back pain.


One of the more common options is spinal decompression. This procedure can be a surgical option, but there is also a nonsurgical method of spinal decompression that may help relieve or eliminate your back pain.


If you’re considering this procedure, it certainly helps to understand what it involves and how it’s done.


How Does Nonsurgical Decompression Work?


Most people opt for nonsurgical spinal decompression if it’s an option since it is less invasive. This method uses motorized traction to relieve pain caused by the spine being compressed against itself or other muscles or nerves. Basically, the device will gently stretch your body, slightly elongating your spine. This removes the pressure from your spinal disks, creating a type of negative pressure around each.


This can cause herniated disks or bulging disks to retract, taking pressure off your nerves and muscles. This then allows oxygen, water, and other fluids to move in and around the disks, giving them the nutrients they need to properly heal. It’s a good option if you don’t want to use any type of prescription medication to treat your back pain.


Nonsurgical spinal decompression can be used to treat different conditions, including sciatica, neck pain, and back pain. It’s useful for those dealing with issues related to the spinal disks, including herniated, bulging, and degenerative disks. The procedure can also help those who have injured their spine or have worn spinal joints.


When you arrive for a treatment, you’ll lie on a table and have a harness attached to your trunk and another around your pelvic area. The harness is connected to points on the table, which then is slowly adjusted via computer to stretch your body. Usually, a treatment session lasts between 30 and 45 minutes, and you may need 20 to 28 of these sessions over a couple of months in order to see any improvement.


Is Spinal Decompression Safe?


The idea of being strapped to a table and mechanically stretched is likely to raise some questions of safety. The device used to stretch the spine is designed to prevent accidental over-stretching, so you don’t need to worry that it will stretch you too much.


However, the overall effectiveness of this method does still require more research. It may be helpful for some people, but others may need a different approach.


Surgical Decompression


If nonsurgical spinal decompression isn’t an option or hasn’t seemed to help, you may need to look at the surgical option. Doctors often hold off on doing surgery until they’ve tried all other treatments, but it can help. It’s useful for those who have pain caused by bony growths, ruptured and bulging disks, and a number of other spinal issues.


There are a few different surgical spinal decompression procedures, and some need to be followed up with a spinal fusion in order to stabilize the spine. A discectomy involves actually removing a small amount of the damaged disk, while a laminotomy involves removing some of the bony arch to provide more space in the spinal canal. Osteophyte removal is done to deal with any bony growths on or around the spine.


There are a few risks of spinal decompression surgery, of course. The area can become infected, and there’s always the risk of damage to the tissue or nerves. You may also have unexpected bleeding, blood clots, or have a reaction to the anesthesia. There’s also the risk that the surgery won’t actually fully eliminate your pain, either.


Give AICA Orthopedics a Call


If you’re dealing with pain in your back and neck, the experts at AICA Orthopedics are here to help. We have assisted hundreds of patients with pain management, and we’re ready to help you. Contact us today to book an appointment.






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