If you suffer from severe back pain, you will know only too well what disruption and misery it can bring to your life. It can cause prolonged absence from work and salary loss, as well as depriving you of a social life and participation in normal activities. Many sufferers assume there’s nothing that can be done, but now an increasing number of people are turning to non-surgical decompression therapy to find relief from their problems.
Spinal decompression is a type of mechanized traction, which works by stretching the spine to take pressure off the spinal discs. One of the most common causes of back pain is a herniated or bulging disc, which occurs when the cushion of cartilage that sits between the vertebrae ruptures, and bulges out from its normal position. This puts pressure on the spinal nerves that are very close to the discs, and can cause excruciating pain, as well as tingling and numbness.
Spinal decompression therapy aims to relieve this pain, by separating the spinal bones, joints and discs. As the traction is applied, it moves the disc away from the nerve root. At the same time, the decompression of the discs causes the nutrients, fluids and oxygen, which have been lost through the degeneration of the disc, to be replenished.
In order to receive this treatment, you are asked to lie down fully clothed on the traction device, which is like a computer-controlled table. You may be either face down or face up, depending on the type of machine that is being used. The doctor will fit you with harnesses round your trunk and pelvis, which strap you to the table.
You will probably be on the table for about 30-45 minutes for each session. As the two sections of the table move apart and together, a distraction force is applied to the bulging disc in your spine. The spine is gently pulled apart, creating a space between the vertebrae, thus pulling the disc back into shape. The process is painless and relaxing — so much so that patients often fall asleep.
There are a variety of machines used for spinal decompression therapy. Nowadays almost all the machines are controlled through an on-board computer, which enables the doctor to regulate the angle and force of disc distraction. It has a number of preset programs, which control the direction and frequency of the decompression forces, according to the needs of the individual patient.
Increasing numbers of people are choosing this non-surgical treatment, because they are anxious to avoid the risks of surgery. Not only is the cost of surgery prohibitive, but the outcome often cannot be controlled, and in many cases it can lead to much more severe pain problems. In addition, decompression therapy is a far more effective treatment than drugs, which simply work by temporarily numbing the brain’s ability to feel the pain — they do nothing for the actual cause of the pain, which returns, often worse, when the drugs wear off. In contrast, spinal decompression deals with the actual root of the pain, providing lasting relief.
There may be no need for you to keep enduring chronic back pain, and allowing it to rob you of any quality of life. It is very likely that you will be a good candidate for spinal decompression therapy, which can deal with your condition without recourse to surgery or medication. If you are suffering in this way, before considering surgery you should investigate whether this could be a life-changing solution for you.