We call it Spinal Decompression Therapy, but it can be accurately described as gently stretching the spine with the goal of relieving destructive back pain and related leg pain. We like to think of it as essentially reversing what caused pain from bulging and herniated discs.
It is especially effective in dealing with a herniated disc, which compresses the spine, resulting in pain and a process of deterioration due to stemming the flow of blood and nutrients. And just for the record, it is the best option to surgery and is recognized as effective by mainstream medicine.
It also opens the door to another effective treatment at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy, our LCT 1000 Deep Tissue (Class IV) Laser, which is directed deeply and precisely to confront the pain.
Spinal decompression started out as a theory based on the basic principle of spinal traction, which has been at the heart of chiropractic medicine for many years. Spinal decompression devices, as is the case with spinal traction, has the goal of relieving pain and creating an optimal healing environment for unwanted spinal intruders like degenerative disc disease, pinched nerves, bulging discs and herniated discs. In the case of herniated disc, which is the chosen target here, the intermittently controlled stretching and relaxing of the spine pulls the material back into the disc. This creates what we call negative intradiscal pressure and fosters a healing environment by allowing blood and nutrients to flow into the disc.
In a typical session for the lower back (lumbar spine), the fully clothed patient lies on a motorized table, his or her hips harnessed to lower part which slides back and forth while the top half remains in fixed position. The movement is gentle and controlled, and the result is traction and relaxation. Depending on the decompression device, the patient may lie face up (supine) or face down.
Taking Pressure Off Spinal Nerves
The point of all of this is to ease the pressure on the cushioning spinal discs between the bones in the spine, allowing bulging or herniated discs to retract and taking pressure off the nerves inside the spinal cord itself. This is when the healing begins, described as a powerful vacuum effect that allows oxygen, water and fluids carrying nutrients into the discs.
As a treatment for herniated or bulging discs, the procedure’s goal is to rejuvenate or restore defective, degraded and damaged spinal discs to optimal working order and, of course, to alleviate pain and pressure. Not only has this procedure been shown to correct a bulging disc, but it has corrected one that has protruded from its space or slipped out altogether.
Then there is the capacity of decompression to repair a herniated disc whose cracked exterior secretes its internal matter onto nearby nerves which radiates pain into the neck, back and shoulders in the cervical region and from the lumbar region into the legs and hips, a.k.a. sciatica.
Pain pills may be effective, but they can’t be relied upon indefinitely, and surgery has its obvious invasive downsides. That’s why the proven healing power of decompression therapy is regarded as a revolutionary chiropractic procedure.