How Spinal Decompression Can Speed Up Your Recovery

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What is Spinal Decompression?

Spinal Decompression is another method of conservative treatment for people with HERNIATED DISCS that is causing shooting pain in the neck or lower back. “Conservative” meaning that it is entirely NON-SURGICAL and that no medication is required, other than the medication advised by your Physician.

Lady lying on a spinal decompression treatment table

 

As you lie down on the Spinal Decompression table and it begins to stretch out your neck/lower back, that specific pulling motion along the precise level of your slipped disc begins to create a negative pressure, or VACUUM EFFECT, in the spine. As we know that fluid tends to move from a place of high pressure to low pressure, this vacuum encourages the movement of fluid back into the affected spinal discs. This then helps to reduce the pressure on the nerves that are being pinched, hence reducing pain.  

Closeup of what happens when there's a compressed disc in the spine Closeup of what happens when there's a decompressed disc in the spine

 

How much Help is it in Treatment of Disc/Nerve Injuries?

Several interesting studies have appeared in the last decade which show that the usage of spinal decompression therapy alongside physiotherapy was proven to EFFECTIVELY reduce pain that was severe enough to affect the daily life of patients with slipped discs! 

Choi, 2015 used it for patients over a period of 4 weeks with significant improvement in pain; Demirel, 2017 and Apfel, 2010 found that it also increased the height of the spinal discs alongside reducing pain after usage of 6 weeks. 

What this means is that when Spinal Decompression is used for patients with herniated intervertebral discs in the spine, the effectiveness of physiotherapy or chiropractic treatment is increased. Pain is reduced and the height of the discs increased, which indicates more fluid resorption back into the herniated discs. Most studies involved the use of core stabilisation exercises and soft tissue therapy, with the results mostly agreeing that the COMBINATION of treatment (Therapy + Decompression) was more effective than just exercises (Therapy) alone. 

 

How Often Do I Need to Do This? Are there any Side Effects?

One of the great benefits of Spinal Decompression is that there are NO side effects and that it can be done as often as possible, according to the severity of symptoms. For patients who have severe pain but want to avoid surgery if possible, an initial consultation will identify if Spinal Decompression is suitable for them. If it is, treatment can get started right away, and we have found that daily use of Spinal Decompression helps patients to see the fastest results. 

 

 

Resources

  • APFEL, C. C. et al. (2010) Restoration of disk height through non-surgical spinal decompression is associated with decreased discogenic low back pain: a retrospective cohort study. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. [Online] 8(11). p.155. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-11-155.
  • CHOI, J. et al. (2015) Influences of spinal decompression therapy and general traction therapy on the pain, disability, and straight leg raising of patients with intervertebral disc herniation. J Phys Ther Sci. [Online] 27(2). p.481–483. doi: 10.1589/jpts.27.481
  • DEMIREL, A. et al. (2017) Regression of lumbar disc herniation by physiotherapy. Does non-surgical spinal decompression therapy make a difference? Double-blind randomized controlled trial. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. [Online] 30(5). p.1015-1022. doi: 10.3233/BMR-169581.

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