Is Spinal Decompression Therapy For You?
Are your daily activities such as gardening, sitting for long periods of time, even playing with your kids exasperating your low back symptoms? If so, and you are experiencing chronic low back pain, sciatica, leg pain, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, numbness and tingling then spinal decompression may be an option for you. Especially if these conditions have not responded to initial treatments such as manipulation and physical therapy.
When these conditions become long term, muscles spasm and shorten as well as develop scar tissue thus creating new patterns for the muscles to work. This insidious process creates many challenges with few options. Often, surgery is used to decompress the spine, which is invasive, painful, and carries significant risks. Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen to reduce pain are also often used, but these are also with risk. Not only does this method mask the pain while not addressing the cause but the FDA recently released a warning that taking NSAIDS increases risk of stroke and heart attack. Another solution is pain management with opioids which are extremely addictive and potentially deadly. Getting to and addressing the cause of your pain is ideal.
The cause of these symptoms may be compressed discs which can lead to herniation or bulging of the discs, thus chronic pain and inflammation. In addition to the pressure, compression and lack of motion (subluxation) in the disc and vertebrae, the area may not be able to receive the nutrients it needs to heal and work properly.
Spinal decompression therapy is an effective treatment option for those experiencing these conditions which may be the result of compressive forces on your vertebrae, which can cause spinal misalignment and compressed discs.
Spinal decompression therapy is a non-invasive, non-surgical alternative that offers gentle spinal decompression using specially designed, FDA-approved equipment. Prior to treatment, patients are thoroughly examined both manually and using imaging technology in order to determine which spinal discs are compressed, and if the treatment is suitable and has a high likelihood of success.
Patients are placed on a decompression table in a comfortable posture that depends on which area of the back needs treatment. The treatment applies a specific force to the compressed discs, and a computer alternates the decompression force with relaxation periods. Usually, there is a series of 15 one-minute alternating decompression and relaxation cycles, for an individual treatment time of 15-30 minutes. This process serves to gently elongate the spine and to create a vacuum that pulls the disc back into its proper location and shape within the vertebrae. Decompressing the discs in this manner can reduce pain and promote healing. However, it may take up to 20 treatments for complete relief.
Not everyone is a good candidate for spinal decompression therapy. Research has shown it to be very effective for some patients but not for others, and it is not entirely clear which people it will work best on. Therefore, it is important you be carefully evaluated to insure you are a good candidate for this type of therapy. Dr. Pineda will also work with other health professionals as needed to determine the precise nature of your back pain and the type of treatments that are most likely to resolve your pain at its source.