Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression

A Promising Cure For Disc-Related Back Pain

If you suffer from low back pain and/or leg pain due to herniated discs, facet syndrome, an old laminectomy, or stenosis and have not gotten positive results with surgery, drugs, chiropractic adjustments, or physical therapy exercises, non-surgical spinal decompression is an exciting new procedure that is offering hope to many!

Discs are strong ligaments that hold spinal vertebrae together. A spinal disc consists of an outer, multiple-ringed layer (like an onion) that encases an inner, jelly-like material called the nucleus pulposus. A herniated disc, or disc bulge occurs when the nucleus pulposus breaks through the outer layer and gravitates to the edge, which is embedded with tiny nerve endings. This is why herniated discs can be very painful, especially with certain movements like bending backwards or to one side. If the bulge presses against a spinal nerve root, it can also refer pain and/or numbness down the same side buttock and leg, a condition known as sciatica or lumbar disc radiculopathy.

Disc herniations can occur from a single trauma like lifting a heavy object; or they can occur gradually with no apparent cause. Over time, the internal pressure of the disc increases, making it difficult for blood and nutrients to enter and nourish the disc. Think of squeezing a sponge, and then placing it under water while maintaining your grip-- no water can enter the sponge, due to the pressure. If a disc cannot hydrate itself, it gets progressively weaker, allowing more of the nucleus to bulge outwards.

Non-surgical Spinal Decompression reverses this condition essentially "pumping" nutrients and fluids back into the weakened disc so that it can heal, permanently. It is safe, comfortable, and best of all, does not require surgery!

Spinal decompression accomplishes two things. It increases the height between the vertebrae to create a negative pressure within a disc, which will then draw back the disc material. It also increases blood flow to the disc which will then allow the outer layer or the annular bands to start laying down new cartilage fibers, so that disc lesion can actually be healed without surgery.

The beauty behind spinal decompression is that it allows the blood to return back to the disc. The disc will begin healing once again. Blood is very essential to this whole process, increasing blood flow to the disc allows the natural healing process to occur.

More information on Sciatica and Spinal Decompression

Sciatica symptom relief has often been hit and miss, but a new treatment option provides effective relief in the majority of cases with minimal risks.

Sciatica (commonly misspelled as syatica) is an irritation of the sciatic nerve which is formed by nerves that arise in the low back. Most cases of sciatica are caused by herniations or bulges of one or more spinal discs. The spinal discs are soft tissue structures that separate the spinal bones (the vertebrae) and act as shock absorbers.

When a disc becomes damaged, the cartilage wall on the outside of the disc may be too weak to fully withstand the pressure coming from inside the disc, and the result is a protrusion of the disc into the passageways where the nerves branch off from the spinal cord and exit the spine. This places pressure on the nerves and creates pain, often in the form of sciatica, which begins in the buttock area and may extend down the leg towards the foot.

The treatment options for sciatica symptom relief vary depending on the case. Medication is usually the first line of treatment for sciatica symptom relief. Muscle relaxers may also be prescribed to reduce muscle spasm. Medication may be effective enough to provide relief short-term until inflammation subsides and/or the disc stabilizes. In more severe cases, oral medication may not be effective, and some patients may not be able to tolerate the common side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs and/or the diminished mental alertness seen with pain killers and muscle relaxers.

Steroid injections are often the next line of sciatica symptom relief treatment, and they are used to try to reduce inflammation around the discs and spinal nerves. While steroid injections often provide relief short-term, the long-term effects are less favorable. Due to the fact that the main effect of steroid injections is to reduce inflammation, once those effects wear off, inflammation and the resulting pressure on the nerves often builds up again, and symptoms return. Steroid injections also carry side-effects that include immune suppression, osteoporosis, and soft tissue damage, so their use must be limited to prevent causing other health problems.

Surgical treatment is often suggested for sciatica sufferers, and in a few cases it may be the only real option. The overall success rate of disc surgery is poor - about 50% - and in a relatively high number of cases the symptoms actually get worse after surgery resulting in what is known as "failed back surgery syndrome". Complications of surgery include problems from post-surgical scar tissue formation and increased stress on adjacent spinal discs which may result in additional problems with other discs in the years following surgery.

Fortunately, there is a new option in sciatica symptom relief that has a high success rate and a very low risk of side-effects. Spinal decompression is a new, advanced form of spinal traction that uses special computerized traction motors to gently and slowly apply a decompressive force to the spine, reducing pressure in the spinal discs. Spinal decompression systems can comfortably create negative pressure (suction) within the spinal discs that can pull disc bulges and herniations back in and away from sensitive nerve structures, as well as increase disc hydration and nutrition to help with disc healing. Unlike the old forms of spinal traction which could be painful due to the traction pull triggering muscle spasm, spinal decompression systems monitor and respond to the body to keep muscles relaxed so the treatment is comfortable and effective.

Preliminary studies have shown a success rate for spinal decompression of 80 to 90%, with the beneficial effects holding up well over the long-term. The one-year recurrence rate post-treatment is less than 5%. While spinal decompression is not appropriate for everyone with sciatica and is not effective in every case, it does represent a big improvement in sciatica treatment.

Please see our Spinal Decompression FAQ’s for more information.

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