As many as an estimated 80% of North Americans are affected by back pain at one time or another. In fact, back pain is the second most common reported reason for medical visits.
Common treatments include the use of medications and physical therapy. When these methods, considered conservative, are unsuccessful in treating back pain, surgery has often been recommended. Surgery is not always a cure, though, and may not always be necessary.
Certain types of back pain have been responding quite well to spinal decompression. This is a non-surgical, non-invasive treatment that relieves pressure from compressed discs and vertebrae by using computer technology to gently stretch the spine.
Chronic lower back pain from conditions including herniated discs, degenerative discs, bulging and protruding discs, sciatica, stabilized spondylolisthesis, retrolisthesis, spinal stenosis, and relapse or failure after surgery are being successfully treated by spinal decompression.
The non-surgical spinal decompression procedure applies mechanical traction. By controlling the force and angle of disc distraction, a computer reduces the body’s natural tendency to resist external force. This provides significant advantage over traditional traction tables. Avoiding the reactions of resistance and muscle spasms allows blood and nutrients to flow back into the problem area and enhance the body’s natural healing response.
A typical course of spinal decompression consists of around twenty sessions. The frequency of the sessions ranges from daily to weekly, usually tapering from five days a week to two times a week over several weeks. Each session lasts approximately thirty minutes. In addition to treating back pain, the technique can also be used to treat acute or chronic neck pain. To receive this treatment, patients must be at least eighteen years old. No significant adverse affects or safety issues have been reported as resulting from spinal decompression. Some patients have reported mild cases of muscle spasms that occur for a brief time after treatment. The treatment is safe and comfortable for patients, however, both the patient and technician have access to emergency stop switches.
Many people have reported that a course of spinal decompression has led to a significant reduction in back pain, and the return to more active lifestyles. Pain reduction is reported by most patients after several sessions. Significant improvement is often achieved by the second week of treatment. People recovering from recent spinal fractures, those who have had surgical fusion or metal spinal implants are not candidates for this treatment. Other conditions may also disqualify patients.