If you have consistent back pain, it has a way of inserting itself into every aspect of your life. Not only does it make it difficult to move around, it also makes sleeping anything but the relaxing respite you need. In cases like this, some people will try something called spinal decompression therapy, which can either be surgical or nonsurgical depending on the situation. At Coastal Chiropractic, we have seen many people benefit from nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy, so we are taking a closer look at it today. Is it the right choice for you? Read on and decide for yourself.

-What is nonsurgical spinal decompression?

By gently stretching the spine, nonsurgical spinal decompression acts as a form of motorized traction intended to relieve back pain. This stretching helps to adjust the force and position of your spine, taking pressure off the discs in your spine. Those discs are cushions, not unlike gel, which are in between the bones that make up your spine. Spinal decompression can help to retract herniated or bulging discs, which will take pressure off the nerves and other structures in the spine. When this pressure is relieved, it promotes the movement of water, oxygen, and nutrients into the spinal discs, which helps them heal.

-Situations that spinal decompression may treat

  • Neck or back pain
  • Sciatica (pain, weakness, or a tingling sensation that moves down the leg)
  • Bulging or herniated spinal discs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Posterior Facet Syndrome (worn down spinal joints)
  • Injured or diseased spinal nerve roots

-How is nonsurgical spinal decompression done?

Your doctor will fit you with a harness around your pelvis and another around your torso. After that, you will lie down on a computer-controlled table, either on your stomach or back. While you are laying down, the doctor will operate the computer, adjusting the treatment to your body’s specific needs. Treatment typically lasts around 30 to 45 minutes. Depending on your situation, you may need 20 to 28 treatments spaced out over the course of five to seven weeks. Either before or after, you may require some additional forms of treatment, including:

  • Electrical muscle stimulation (causes certain muscles to contract)
  • Ultrasound (using sound waves to generate heat and promote healing)
  • Heat or cold therapy

-Who should avoid nonsurgical spinal decompression?

Not everyone is an ideal candidate for nonsurgical spinal decompression, so it is important to consult with your doctor to see if they would recommend it as a treatment for you. For instance, it is not recommended for pregnant women to go through nonsurgical spinal decompression. People with the following conditions should also avoid nonsurgical spinal decompression:

  • Fractures
  • Tumors
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm (stretched and bulging section in the wall of the aorta within your abdominals)
  • Broken vertebrae
  • Advanced osteoporosis (bones are too weak to handle this treatment)
  • Metal implants within the spine (such as an artificial disc or other implants)
  • Spinal fusions
  • Anyone who has had multiple surgeries without recovery or reduction in pain
  • Spondylolisthesis (a spinal disorder where a vertebra slips forward onto the bone in front of it)
  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal, putting pressure on the nerves in the spine)
  • Ankylosing spondylitis (inflammatory spinal and joint arthritis)
  • Any conditions that have compromised the integrity of the spine
  • Any conditions requiring the administration of blood thinner medications

-Does it hurt?

When you’re already in pain, the last thing you’re looking for is more pain stemming from your treatment. Luckily, in most cases, nonsurgical spinal decompression is not painful. Many patients actually fall asleep during treatment, as the machines are designed to make the patient as comfortable as possible. While you may come away from treatment a little sore, for the most part, true pain is rare. However, if you do encounter high levels of pain through nonsurgical spinal decompression, it is a sign that other treatment may be necessary to fix your back pain issues.

Nonsurgical spinal decompression has helped many people overcome their back pain, which allows them to get back to living the active lifestyle they want to. If you have been dealing with back pain and want to make a change, consult with your doctor to see if you would be an ideal candidate for spinal decompression treatment. If you’re in Lake Worth, call Coastal Chiropractic to schedule a consultation today!