Before you book back surgery or decide that you’re doomed for lifelong lower back pain, consider spinal decompression therapy. Although you can order decompression therapy at any time your doctor sees fit, this non-surgical procedure is often a last-ditch attempt by patients who haven’t got the results they want from other treatments. Adults with lower back pain generally come to Northeastern Medicine and Spine and want stress relief therapy after other doctors have recommended spinal fusion, discectomy, or laminectomy. In many cases, we can help these patients avoid surgery and get long-term relief from nerve or back pain.
While this may sound promising, you may still not be convinced that spinal decompression is right for you. It’s okay – we’re here to help you make an informed decision. Check out the information below to learn how spinal decompression therapy can help, whether you have a herniated disc or a painful stenosis.
1. Reducing pressure on the spine helps relieve stress
While you lie on a decompression table, the machine gently moves your spine toward the correct position. This process helps remove pressure that is pushing the discs in your spine out of place, which in turn prevents these discs from pressing on nearby nerves.
So, what does that mean to you? In many cases, creating negative pressure in the spinal discs reduces pain and inflammation in the body.
When the misaligned discs press on the nerves, you may notice sharp, shooting pains that extend from your back to your hips, thighs, legs, and feet. You may also feel tingling, numbness, and burning. Moving herniated or bulging discs away from nearby nerves helps prevent and reduce these problems.
2. Decompression therapy can help to prevent spinal surgery
When the chiropractic care and physical therapy fail, many patients turn to therapeutic injections. Unfortunately, these injections may not offer lasting relief, so some patients fear that surgery may be the only long-term solution.
Spinal decompression therapy can help some patients prevent or delay spinal surgery, including spinal fusions or discectomy surgeries. In fact, many of our patients are surprised at how successful this non-surgical treatment is in relieving lower back pain. Some patients feel relief after only one session, although ongoing care is usually required for optimal benefits.
Decompression therapy works by gently tightening your spine, giving the herniated discs a chance to return to their intended openings. If your body tolerates these changes instead of rejecting them, you may not need surgery.
3. Spinal decompression therapy can help cure chronic pain
Some treatments treat only acute attacks, but decompressing the spine also treats chronic pain. This is because it treats the cause of the pain, not just the symptoms. This helps your body heal itself without surgery or other invasive procedures.
When the bulging discs retract, it makes it easier for your body to distribute oxygen and other nutrients in the area of your spine. These nutrients help your body repair damaged nerves and muscles by reducing the swelling and inflammation.
Inflammation is often responsible for spinal pain, so reducing inflammation also reduces symptoms of a misaligned spine.
4. Spinal pressure treats various conditions
We usually perform decompression therapy on patients with lower to mid back pain, but the procedure is not specific to a specific case. Spinal decompression helps provide relief for the patients with the following conditions:
- spinal stenosis
- Herniated or bulging discs
- Injury or injury to the nerves in the spine
- posterior face syndrome
If you’re not sure you have one of these or a similar condition that might benefit from decompression therapy, we can take a look during a full physical exam, which may include a digital imaging.
5. Decompression therapy can provide quick relief
Spinal decompression generally does not cause any pain or discomfort, and treatments last for approximately 45 minutes. Many people experience reduced pain after just one treatment, although you may need additional appointments to see the best results. This is because we want to make sure your spine stays in place, as the discs tend to go back in their preferred positions, even if it’s not good for your body.
6. Spinal Decompression Helps Retract Herniated Discs
Herniated discs are notoriously difficult to treat because your body may like where the discs have moved — even if you don’t. Your body gets used to its new out of whack back, even if it causes discomfort, so it can be difficult to get discs back where they belong. Many doctors try, only to find that discs have moved the back to their incorrect positions during follow up care.
Spinal decompression gently helps the bulging or herniated discs return to their correct locations for long-term relief. Over time, the decompression therapy may help your discs remain in place instead of continuing to migrate outside of their intended spots.
7. Decompression Therapy Gently Stretches Your Spine
When your spine is compressed, it is difficult to get parts back where they belong. Decompression therapy stretches your spine, temporarily expanding the area around it so that discs can return to the correct places. This also encourages fluid circulation in the areas that were previously restricted, so your body can deliver much needed nutrients to damaged or diseased parts of your spine.