Millions of Americans suffer from severe back and neck pain as a result of herniated or bulging discs. In the past, a patient suffering from disc problems was usually given pain medications, instructed to refrain from physical activities, referred for physical therapy, and when they weren't progressing they were sent for spinal surgery or simply told to learn to live it. Now, thanks to the concerted efforts of a team of top physicians and medical engineers, there is an alternative that is both effective and safe - Spinal Decompression. This treatment is an effective, safe, and cost-effective procedure without the risks associated with drugs, injections, surgery, or anesthesia. Spinal Decompression not only significantly reduces the pain in many patients, but also enables the majority of patients to return to more active lifestyles.
Excessive stress or injury to a disc weakens the outer fibers. As the outer fibers weaken, parts of the interior of the disc bulge out and the disc compresses or loses height. As it loses height it follows that the vertebrae above and below get closer together decreasing the amount of space (spinal stenosis) through which the spinal nerve root exits . As the bulge increases and the space decreases the spinal nerve root that exits at that level is also compressed (pinched). This leads to muscle spasms and inflammation (swelling) further diminishing the space for the nerve; and, because the normal mechanics (movement) of the joints are disturbed, interferes with the normal pumping action supplying nutrition to the disc. Starved for adequate nourishment the outer fibers of the disc become drier and weaker (degenerate) accelerating the process. Non-surgical spinal decompression or de-compression is designed to break this cycle.
Dr. Michael L. Hall, D.C.
Decompression Therapy is a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment performed on a special, computer controlled table similar in some ways to an ordinary traction table. A single disc level is isolated and by utilizing specific traction and relaxation cycles throughout the treatment, along with proper positioning, negative pressure can actually be created within the disc. It works by gently separating the offending disc 5 to 7 millimeters creating negative pressure (or a vacuum) inside the disc promoting the retraction of the bulging disc tissue. This negative pressure also pulls water, oxygen, and nutrients into the disc, thereby re-hydrating a degenerated disc and bringing in the nutrients needed to begin the healing process.
Negative pressure is a suctioning or vacuum type effect that is created by the disc during the Spinal Decompression treatment. This vacuum effect can actually help pull the herniated disc material back into the disc itself, allowing the outer part of the disc to heal.
The key to Spinal Decompression is the high tech computer that is being used to create and follow a specific protocol that has been individualized for the patient. This computer allows the treatment to go through specific traction and relaxation cycles to create the negative pressure needed to treat the disc. Regular traction machines, even intermittent traction machines, don't have the capability to follow such a complex treatment, thus they can't create the vacuum effect that is needed for treatment and healing.
Spinal Decompression is not recommended for pregnant women, patients who are severely obese, patients who have severe osteoporosis, or patients that have extensive nerve damage. Spinal Decompression is also not indicated for patients who have had spinal surgery where hardware was installed in the spine, such as screws, metal plates, rods, or cages. However, spinal decompression after bone fusion or non-fusion surgery can be performed.
Any condition that is caused at least in part by a disc related problem can be treated with Spinal Decompression. Some of these conditions include: herniated, protruding or bulging discs, spinal stenosis, sciatica, or radiculopathy (pinched nerves).
Decompression Table (courtesy of Eurotechtables)