Spinal Decompression | Spinal Rehab & Sports Medicine | Austin, TX

Spinal Decompression

1120 S. Capital of Texas HWY BLDG 1 STE 250 Austin, TX 78746 • (512) 258-4425

spinal decompression therapy

What is spinal decompression therapy?

Spinal decompression is a therapy which is applied to a patient’s spine in order to create negative intra-discal pressure and to promote the retraction or the repositioning of bulging or herniated disc tissue. There are two kinds of spinal decompression; surgical and non surgical.

How is spinal decompression performed?

Non Surgical Spinal Decompression

In non surgical spinal decompression the patient is fully clothed. He or she is placed on a mechanized table and fitted with a pelvic harness. The table is then made to decline so that gravity may relieve pressure in the spine. The patient will typically lie this way for 30 to 45 minutes over a course of anywhere from 20 to 30 sessions.

Surgical Spinal Decompression

Surgical spinal decompression is typically used as a treatment of last resort. Surgical spinal decompression involves the removal of some bone and possibly other tissues that are thought to be compressed within the spinal column.

What conditions does spinal decompression treat?

The primary conditions spinal decompression is intended to treat include:

Sciatica
Posterior facet syndrome
Degenerated disc disease
Herniated disc
Bulging disc
Arthritis of the spine
Bone spurs
Spondylosis
Spinal stenosis
Spondylolisthesis

Who should not have spinal decompression?

Stretching the spine to relieve pain can cause harm or risk to patients with certain conditions. Patients in any of the following conditions or circumstances are not candidates for spinal decompression therapy:

Broken vertebrae
Pregnancy
Spinal fusion patients
Multiple surgeries without recovery
Failed back surgeries
Also, anyone suffering from Spondylolisthesis, Spinal infection, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Spinal tumors, Spinal stenosis, Osteoporosis, or Osteopenia.
Any condition that compromises the structural integrity of the spine, contraindicates spinal decompression treatment, as does the taking of any blood thinning medication.

While chiropractic adjustment can be a good alternative for patients who are not candidates for spinal decompression, such persons should consult their physician before undergoing any chiropractic treatment such as a spinal adjustment.

What risks are associated with spinal decompression?

All medical interventions and surgical procedures come with an element of risk. Risks most commonly associated with spinal decompression treatments include:

Bleeding
Infection
Blood clots
Nerve tissue damage
Allergic reactions to anesthesia

Other risks include small improvement in pain or no improvement. Whether or not the treatment does decrease the patient’s pain experience, it can be difficult to tell if the spinal decompression treatment has caused any subsequent effects. This is especially true in instances where multiple treatments are being tried simultaneously.

Can spinal decompression relieve chronic back pain?

Many people ask this question, no one more so than those who have already had spinal decompression treatments. The simple answer to the question of does spinal decompression work is, yes, it does. The correct answer is that results vary.

Every nervous system is different, as is every spinal column. Likewise, every spinal injury is different. What’s more, no matter what the result of the treatment on an individual, it is logically impossible to say that when X comes before Y, that X has necessarily caused Y.

It is fair to say that spinal decompression treatments are supported by the numbers. In a study reported on by the U.S. National Library Institutes of Health, of patients who underwent spinal decompression treatments between the years 1984 and 1995, 12% reported excellent outcomes. 7% reported good outcomes. And 5% reported slight improvement.

While these numbers do seem low, it is important to keep in mind that spinal decompression is an intervention of last resort for patients who have suffered from years of, often debilitating, chronic lower back pain,  and neck pain. People suffering from this condition have tried everything else, even spinal fusion surgery.

For many people, for whom back pain has been a constant torment, spinal decompression procedures can offer hope where- for years- there had been little to none.

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