Spinal Decompression: A Non-Surgical Solution to Chronic Back Pain

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Spinal decompression is a specialized treatment that your chiropractor can perform to help alleviate the debilitating effects of chronic back pain. Millions of Americans have suffered with back pain far longer than is necessary because the only treatments they are aware of are either invasive spinal surgery or addictive opioid painkillers.

Most people are not aware of a non-surgical, non-invasive method of treatment for chronic back pain – spinal decompression. This procedure can provide the long-term relief people need without the risks associated with surgery or the long-term use of medications.

To find out whether spinal decompression is the right treatment for you, read this article to learn more about how the procedure works, which conditions it is designed to be used for, and what improvements you can expect after receiving this treatment.

Once you know the basics, you can get in touch with Dr. Parani to discuss whether spinal decompression is the right fit for your current conditions.

What Is Spinal Decompression?

Spinal decompression is a non-invasive therapeutic technique to relieve chronic back pain by gently and safely stretching the spine, which reduces pressure along all of the intervertebral discs and nerves that make up the anatomy of the spine.

Once this excessive, built-up pressure is released, your body’s natural healing mechanisms can begin to function more efficiently. Blood circulation improves within the spine, which allows more oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to degenerated tissues. Dehydrated discs begin getting the fluids they need to heal, and irritated pinched nerves finally get relief.

For those who feel trapped by unrelenting, chronic back pain, spinal decompression offers a safe, effective alternative to the invasive process of spinal surgery.

There are two different methods for performing spinal decompression:

  • Mechanical – this method uses a specialized table run by a computer system to controls the exact levels of traction needed to stretch the spine effectively. (This is the method used at our clinic.)
  • Manual – this method is performed directly by your trained healthcare provider, who will gently stretch and manipulate the various parts of your spine by hand.

Both methods of spinal decompression are safe and effective, and one is not better than the other. Which method is used at any facility is strictly the choice of the practitioner.

Why Do People Need Spinal Decompression?

A healthy spine in its natural state provides the support, stability and flexibility to engage in all of the activities that make up your daily life. Your spine is made up of dozens of bony vertebrae, which protect your spinal cord and are cushioned in between by flexible discs.

However, injuries to the spine such as those that occur in falls, car accidents or even through sports can dislocate or fracture vertebrae, which can then begin to put ongoing pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.

Additionally, compression can occur through the normal “wear and tear” that occurs over the years of your life. The discs between your vertebrae lose some of their characteristic bulge, increasing pressure within the spinal column.

And in some cases, congenital abnormalities of the vertebrae can simply mean that there will be more compression in the spine than nature intended.

Any of these factors can lead to excess compression within the spine. This leads to chronic back pain, as both the spinal cord itself and the nerves that connect with it are placed under unnatural pressure. Spinal decompression helps relieve that pressure.

If you have been experiencing chronic back pain and at-home treatments such as rest, cold packs, heat, stretching or over-the-counter pain relievers haven’t helped, then it’s time to begin looking at whether you need professional therapeutic treatment. Surgery is not necessarily the only way to relieve your pain and begin getting your life back – your chiropractic care provider can help.

The Many Benefits of Spinal Decompression

Spinal decompression is used to treat many chronic back pain issues, but the primary benefits are experienced across all of them. These benefits – and their long-lasting effects – are part of why this treatment is such a compelling alternative to pain medication or surgery.

Benefits of spinal decompression include:

  • Pain Relief – One of the most pressing issues people seek via spinal decompression for is relief from chronic pain. Once the pressure on the spine has been reduced through this treatment, pain levels decrease, allowing patients to begin regaining a more comfortable and active lifestyle.
  • Minimal Side Effects – Spinal decompression offers an alternative to the well-known side effects that occur with the long-term use of opioid pain medications, as well as the risk of dependence on these prescriptions. And all surgery-related risks and side effects are avoided via this non-invasive procedure.
  • Non-Invasive Treatment –  Undergoing a surgical procedure is a highly invasive process often involving significant incisions, the use of anesthesia, and extended recovery periods that vary by patient. The non-invasive nature of spinal decompression allows you to experience relief without the discomfort, risk and inconvenience of surgery.
  • Improved Mobility and Function – Many people suffering from chronic back pain have already experienced the negative impact on their lifestyle that comes from restricted mobility. Spinal decompression can increase flexibility and mobility for patients, allowing them the ease and comfort they need to return to a more active, productive and satisfying life.
  • Long-Term Relief – Because spinal decompression directly treats the issues causing pain in the first place, it’s not just short-term symptom relief. As the body begins to heal and recover, patients undergoing this procedure can experience a future free from the pain and limitations caused by pressure issues in the spine.

What Conditions Can Be Treated With Spinal Decompression

There are a variety of conditions that can benefit from spinal decompression, leading to its increase in popularity as more people discover the versatility of this non-surgical treatment option.

Some of the conditions it is effective for include:

  • Degenerative Disc Disease: By improving circulation in the spine and aiding the ability of discs to receive the hydration they need, spinal decompression can help slow the progression of degenerative disc disease. Aside from the obvious benefits of supporting the health of the spine, this contributes to the potential to retain a better quality of life than would be present without treatment.
  • Sciatica: Spinal compression can often lead to sciatic nerve pain, which can be directly treated by spinal decompression. As spinal pressure is released, the forces which cause the pain are alleviated, in some cases significantly so.
  • Herniated Discs: Spinal decompression can reduce pressure on nerves as it helps retract or reposition the portion of the disk that has become herniated. Again, as pressure is relieved, so is the pain stemming from nerves under direct pressure.
  • Spinal Stenosis: Those with this condition experience increased pressure on both the spinal cord and associated nerves as the spinal canal becomes narrowed. Spinal decompression helps widen the spinal canal, reducing the pressure that causes the pain.
  • Facet syndrome: By alleviating pressure on joints, spinal decompression can effectively reduce the pain associated with this condition, as well as help restore mobility to the spine.

Without Spinal Decompression, Pain Can Get Worse Over Time

Since many people do not know about spinal decompression as a treatment option for chronic back pain, it’s common to not seek treatment at all, given the risks and discomfort associated with surgery or ongoing prescription painkillers.

Tragically, those who do not undertake effective treatment run the very real chance that their conditions and symptoms may worsen over time.

And unfortunately, some of those consequences can be permanent – so it essential to know what might happen without treatment in order to make an informed decision.

For example, avoiding treatment for the issues that cause chronic back pain may lead to the following:

  • Escalation of Pain: Untreated chronic back pain may intensify as time goes on, as the underlying causes continue to advance. Though the pain experienced at the onset may be tolerable, managing the effects as they worsen can prove overwhelming.
  • Permanent Nerve Damage: If your back pain is caused by certain conditions such as spinal stenosis or herniated discs, the ongoing pressure on nerves within the spine may cause nerve damage that can’t be healed or reversed. If this happens, there is the possibility of loss of sensation and feeling in the affected areas, loss of function and in extreme cases, paralysis.
  • Quality of Life Issues: Chronic back pain changes the way you live, move and function. As pain worsens, simple daily activities, necessary work tasks and established recreational pursuits may become limited, or even made impossible. Each loss can create real-world consequences, and increase your chances for emotional issues like anxiety or depression if these losses are permanent.

Is Spinal Decompression Right For You? Ask Dr. Parani

Your spine is one of the most important components of your body, and keeping it maintained and healthy is key to preserving your long term quality of life. If you suffer from chronic back pain, then learning if spinal decompression is right for you will help you take one step forward towards a pain-free future.

Dr. Parani can help you decide whether spinal decompression is an ideal treatment for your chronic back pain, and can advise you if other treatments would be more appropriate for your current conditions, symptoms and medical history.

Call our clinic today, and we’ll take good care of you!

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