Spinal Decompression Can Relieve Herniated Discs

If you suffer from severe neck or back pain that disrupts your daily activities, it might be time to consider surgical or nonsurgical spinal decompression. This therapy reduces pressure on spinal nerves by relieving the herniated disc.

The over-the-counter pain medications acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) may also help ease discomfort. Contact Spinal Decompression now!

What is it?

When a herniated or bulging spinal disc moves out of its normal position, it may compress nerves that send signals to and from the brain. This can lead to pain, numbness, and tingling. Spinal decompression therapy gently helps the discs to move back into their proper positions for long-term relief.

In a nonsurgical spinal decompression treatment, you are fully clothed and lie on a table that is outfitted with harnesses around your pelvis and trunk. The doctor controls a computer that customizes your treatment. The doctor then slowly decreases the pressure in your spine, which allows oxygen and nutrients to flow into the discs again.

The doctor may also add hot or cold therapy, massage therapy, dry needling, and electro-stimulation to help facilitate blood and nerve exchange in the targeted region. Chiropractic manual manipulation (spinal adjustment) complements the decompression program by correcting mechanical and structural misalignments that are causing symptoms.

Surgical spinal decompression surgery involves the surgeon cutting away part of the bone that forms the vertebral arch in your back — lamina — to increase the size of the spinal canal and relieve pressure on the nerves. This is done for severe neck or back pain caused by herniated disks, spinal stenosis, or other conditions that cause pinched nerves in the spine.

This procedure is often performed with a general surgeon who specializes in the spine. Before the operation, you will have a blood test and a general health check to make sure you are fit for the surgery. You will also have an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging scan of your spine.

Suppose you have a condition that causes spinal compression. In that case, you might need to have spinal decompression therapy, especially if your symptoms include:

  • Pain.
  • Altered sensations in the arms or legs.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Incontinence problems (like the sudden urge to urinate or lose control of your bladder).

Symptoms associated with lumbar spinal stenosis, such as leg pain, numbness, or tingling, might be more serious and could indicate a more severe problem, such as cauda equina syndrome. These types of complications are often only treated with surgery, but the use of conservative treatments can help early symptoms of spinal nerve compression.

How does it work?

The spine is made of 33 segments called vertebrae, which are stacked on top of each other. Between each vertebra are circular pads of tissue called discs. When herniated or degenerated, the discs can put pressure on spinal nerves, causing pain and other symptoms. Spinal decompression therapy can help relieve herniated discs by reducing the pressure on spinal nerves. This pressure reduction helps the discs reposition themselves, and allows healing nutrients to flow back into the area.

Nonsurgical spinal decompression involves gently stretching your spine. Your doctor will fit you with a harness around your pelvis and another around your trunk. You then lie face down or in a semi-reclined position on a special table equipped with pulleys and weights that can be controlled by computer. Your doctor will set the machine to the correct program for your condition. You may need several sessions a week over the course of six to 12 weeks to get results.

You’ll have some pain after each session, but your pain should go away within a few days. If the pain is severe, you may need more treatments or surgery to relieve it.

Surgical spinal decompression is performed under general anesthesia, so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. It usually takes an hour or more to perform, depending on its complexity.

In surgical spinal decompression, your surgeon will remove the muscle covering the back of your spine. This will expose the back of your spine and the affected nerves. They will then take a portion of the bone — either a section of the boney arch or the whole bony arch — to increase the size of your spinal canal and relieve pressure on nerves.

During the next step, they will connect your affected bones with screws and connecting rods to prevent them from moving. They may also use an additional section of bone taken from another part of your body or a synthetic (man-made) bone substitute to improve the chance that the fusion will succeed. They will then close the incision and stitch it together.

What are the risks?

Spinal decompression can cause herniated discs to reposition, which may alleviate pain and pressure on spinal nerves. Some patients will experience immediate pain relief while others may not feel much change until after a few weeks of treatment. Research studies have shown that the majority of patients with herniated or bulging discs will receive a significant reduction in their pain.

Surgical spinal decompression is usually done as a last resort when non-surgical treatments fail to relieve symptoms. It can be performed in the lower spine (lumbar) or neck (cervical). In this surgery, screws and rods are often used to stabilize the spine as well as to fuse vertebrae together. This can increase the risk of spinal instability and bone fractures. There is also a risk of infection.

The most common side effects associated with this procedure are pain and numbness or a “pins and needles” sensation, especially in the lower back. In rare cases, spinal decompression surgery can result in a blood clot in the leg (deep vein thrombosis or DVT). This can be a serious problem if it travels to the lungs and causes a pulmonary embolism. This can be prevented by moving and wearing compression stockings.

In addition, there is a risk that the spinal cord and spinal nerves can be damaged during surgery. In some cases, the spinal cord can be compressed in a condition called cauda equina syndrome. This can lead to loss of bowel or bladder control. This is most common in the lower spine (lumbar) and may also be present in the neck.

If the spinal cord becomes compressed during surgery, it may not heal properly. This can lead to a loss of movement and strength and the inability to control the muscles in your legs, arms, chest and belly. This can lead to depression and a feeling of being trapped.

There is also a risk of a tear in the dura, which is the watertight sac that surrounds the spinal cord and spinal nerves. This can lead to pain and swelling in the legs and abdomen.

What are the benefits?

Pain in the back can be debilitating, and it often prevents people from being able to work or even sleep comfortably. Many times, this pain is caused by herniated discs that compress nerves. This can lead to numbness, tingling and muscle weakness. Thankfully, spinal decompression can relieve this type of back pain and help the body heal.

Unlike pain pills that only cover up the symptoms for a short time, Spinal Decompression treats the root of the problem to eradicate the pain permanently. The benefits of this treatment extend well beyond back pain relief as it can improve posture and balance and increase flexibility. It can also reduce the amount of stress on the spine and surrounding muscles, which helps to prevent further injury.

This therapy works by creating a negative pressure in the spinal discs, which promotes the repositioning of herniated disk material. The gentle forces of the decompression therapy allow for an influx of healing nutrients and oxygen to the spine, which can speed up recovery and reduce inflammation. Additionally, the therapy can reduce the amount of nerve compression by reestablishing a proper space between vertebrae.

The re-alignment of the vertebrae can also improve posture and balance, which in turn helps to decrease stiffness and tight muscles. This flexibility can also aid in increased mobility, which is a big benefit for those who suffer from back pain. The treatment can even help to prevent surgery, since it can be an effective alternative for many patients with herniated discs.

One of the biggest benefits of this treatment is that it can be used for a variety of different conditions that cause back pain, including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disease. However, it’s important to note that this treatment is not suitable for pregnant women or those with broken vertebrae or spinal implants. It’s also not recommended for anyone who uses blood-thinning medications or has had spinal surgery.

The treatment consists of nonsurgical sessions that last about 20 minutes each, and most patients experience immediate pain relief. These sessions can be performed at your healthcare provider’s office, or at home using a specialized traction device. The device uses pulleys and weights to gently stretch the spine, which can relieve pressure on the spinal discs. This can also increase the size of the space between the vertebrae, which can alleviate pain. Additionally, the session can include heat or cold therapy, which can further reduce discomfort by relaxing muscles and nerves.