Non-surgical spinal decompression is a safe and effective way to treat back and neck pain. Let’s see how it works and then briefly look at surgery, which should always be viewed as a last resort. 

Chronic back pain has a severely negative impact on one’s quality of life, from excruciating discomfort to difficulty performing day-to-day tasks. When people need relief, one of the most trusted therapies is nonsurgical spinal decompression. Let’s look at this treatment – how it could relieve your pain and what the actual experience is like as a patient.

What Is Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression?

People often say that they need to “decompress” when they get off work; in other words, they need to let go of the stress. Essentially, this spinal rejuvenation treatment works in the same manner, leveraging motorized traction to stretch the spine and remove pressure from the spinal disks (shock absorbers between the spinal vertebrae). Decompression generates negative pressure within the disks. “As a result, bulging or herniated disks may retract, taking pressure off nerves and other structures in your spine,” notes WebMD. “This, in turn, helps promote movement of water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids into the disks so they can heal.”

How Is This Spinal Rejuvenation Treatment Used?

Nonsurgical spinal decompression, or spinal rejuvenation therapy, is used to successfully treat many conditions, effectively changing the lives of millions of patients. Some of the most common conditions are:

  1. Neck pain, back pain, or sciatic nerve pain (radiating lumbar back pain that’s felt in the hips, legs, or feet);
  2. Ruptured or bulging disc, or degenerative disk disease;
  3. Posterior facet syndrome, which affects the backbone’s joints; and
  4. Diseased or otherwise damaged nerve roots.

Spinal decompression therapy is often used in a multi-disciplinary setting, in conjunction with other surgical alternatives, such as these six common ones:

  1. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), which should be used sparingly if at all, due to side-effects;
  2. Physical therapy;
  3. Exercise;
  4. Chiropractic care;
  5. Bracing; and
  6. Rest.

Note that you should be careful about the final item. ”When pain from an uncomplicated muscle tissue injury persists past a few days or weeks, it is almost always because the person is overly cautious in using the muscle,” says University of Washington pain psychologist Dr. Wilbert Fordyce. ”If you continue to rest an injured muscle past the time it needs to heal, the disuse shortens and stiffens the muscle fibers, amplifying the pain when you finally do move.”

The Patient Experience

When you get spinal decompression, you are wearing your clothes. The doctor puts harnesses around your hips and abdomen. You are on a table that is operated through a computer. The doctor is able to adjust the therapy to meet your needs through the exact specifications allowed by the computer.

One session takes between 30 and 45 minutes. It depends on your case, but it sometimes makes sense to get as many as four a week for a short period, to allow steadier progress.

What About Back Surgery?

Surgical spinal decompression is another option for treatment, but it really should be considered a last resort, for two basic reasons:

  1. It’s risky, with possible complications including bleeding, blood clots, infection, an allergic reaction, and tissue damage.
  2. It’s expensive and often doesn’t produce the results desired by the patient (i.e., surgery doesn’t always stop the pain).

Getting Help

Are you suffering from chronic neck or back pain? Spinal rejuvenation therapy not only reduces your back pain but also recovers your posture, maximizes your nervous system functions and allows you to return to your active lifestyle. Learn more.