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Spinal decompression

Spinal decompression aims to relieve persistent back pain and related symptoms, and can be achieved by both surgical and nonsurgical means.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: September 28, 2012

A form of traction therapy, spinal decompression aims to relieve persistent back pain and related symptoms caused by misalignment in the vertebrae. It can be achieved by both surgical and nonsurgical means. With nonsurgical spinal decompression, motorized or non-motorized traction is used to gently stretch the spine to eliminate pressure and discomfort, ultimately improving blood and oxygen circulation throughout the body.

Benefits Of Spinal Decompression

Spinal decompression may benefit individuals suffering from herniated discs, bulging discs, posterior face syndrome, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, pinched nerves, sciatica and others. For individuals with herniated or bulging discs, spinal decompression may help to ease pressure from the nerves and surrounding structures of the spine.

What To Expect

When receiving spinal decompression therapy, the patient is often situated on a specialized traction table. Depending on their particular condition or concern, they may be placed in a prone or supine position. Padded harnesses may be strapped around the waist or lower chest. The goal is to create negative pressure in the vertebrae of the spine over the course of approximately 30 to 45 minutes.

Specialized equipment: Nonsurgical spinal decompression often relies on the use of an inversion unit, either motorized or non-motorized, to decompress the spine. The DRX9000 is one example of traction equipment seen in chiropractic offices.

Recommended sessions: A long-term treatment program is often recommended for patients seeking spinal decompression therapy. Based on individual needs and goals, more than two dozen treatments may be required over a period that spans several months. Complementary treatments include electrical stimulation, ultrasound, heat or cold therapy and more.

Who wouldn't benefit: Spinal decompression may be contraindicated for individuals with a fractured bone, tumor, osteoporosis or metal spinal implants. As with any form of physical care, it may be best to check with your general physician before undergoing any type of chiropractic treatment.

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