What is Spinal Decompression Therapy?
Spinal Decompression Therapy is a safe, non-surgical and drug-free treatment method for chronic neck and lower back conditions associated with disc herniation and joint degeneration. It works by gently lengthening the spine and releasing pressure within the discs, creating ideal conditions for healing. For more detail, read the full article on this page.
How Does Spinal Decompression Therapy work?
The ‘vacuum’ effect created by the action of Spinal Decompression helps to draw in the contents of the disc that have bulged outward or become herniated through the damaged fibres of the annulus fibrosis. This assists in more complete healing of the disc. This same action also draws nutrients and water back into the disc. Nourishment and extra water within the disc helps it to heal and recover its ‘hydrated’, more healthy state.
The repeated gentle stretching of the spine also assists in restoring proper motion to the surrounding joints and associated soft tissues, including those of the tough outer layer of the disc. This restored motion is vital to the health of the intervertebral joints and the intervertebral discs. Proper movement of any joint in the body helps to keep it supple, as well as promoting good blood flow and nutrition to keep the supportive tissues strong and healthy. For more detail, read the full article on this page.
How do I know if Spinal Decompression Therapy help me?
At Canberra Spine Centre, before we begin any therapy, we need to carefully diagnose your condition to see if you are a good candidate for Spinal Decompression Therapy, or if you would be better served with another type of therapy.
On your first visit, your chiropractor will perform a thorough history, screening chiropractic, orthopaedic and neurologic examinations, as well as x-rays if necessary. CT or MRI scans may also be ordered.
At the end of this visit, your chiropractor will advise if you are a suitable candidate for Spinal Decompression Therapy. If so, an appointment will be made for your Report of Findings on your second visit, where everything will be explained to you before any treatment is commenced. For more detail, read the full article on this page.
Does Spinal Decompression Therapy hurt?
Usually, patients undergoing Spinal Decompression Therapy will experience only mild discomfort during their treatment. Some people will notice a slight stretching sensation to begin with, others may not. We start your program on a low force setting to ensure your safety and comfort.
Due to the stretching of scar tissue of the tissues in and around the joints, you may occasionally get an increase of pain during your decompression session, or shortly afterwards. This passing discomfort is common, and a sign of the table doing the work your body needs.
What sort of success rate does Spinal Decompression Therapy have?
Spinal Decompression Therapy has a high success rate for the right candidates. While most people will respond well to this therapy, not everyone will. With our method of regular measuring and testing, we identify quickly those unlikely to respond well and refer appropriately. Some people may still require surgery or other forms of treatment.
Is Spinal Decompression Therapy expensive?
This is one of those ‘how long is a piece of string?’ type questions. The cost of an initial program of Spinal Decompression Therapy may seem expensive at first glance, but when compared to the cost of surgery, or the cost of being off work for months or years, it is very affordable.
At Canberra Spine Centre, we strive to make all our care affordable. The cost of each session is approximately the same fee we charge for a spinal adjustment with the chiropractor. Considering the length of the treatment and the cost of the equipment involved, this cost is very low. Patients in other countries, such as the USA, will often pay three times the amount we charge for the same treatment.
What conditions can Spinal Decompression Therapy help?
Spinal Decompression Therapy is most helpful for the following conditions:
- Bulging or herniated discs of the neck or lower back
- Degenerative joint disease and spondylosis
- Disc degeneration
- Facet syndrome
- Failed back surgery
- Chronic neck or back pain that is not responding to other conservative therapies.
Are there conditions that make me unsuitable for Spinal Decompression Therapy?
Patients who would otherwise respond to normal ‘conservative’ care, such as chiropractic adjustments, are not suitable candidates for Spinal Decompression Therapy. This would be an unnecessary use of resources where another, simpler therapy would suffice.
The following conditions are contraindications for Spinal Decompression Therapy:
- Severe infections, such as meningitis.
- Spinal cancer.
- Severe disc conditions where pain or other symptoms are radiating to both arms or legs.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Recent fractures.
- Severe osteoporosis.
- Abdominal pressure issues such as hiatus hernia or aortic aneurysm.
- Cardiac or respiratory insufficiency.
- Decompression anxiety – some severe claustrophobes may not be comfortable on the Decompression Table.
- Joint hypermobility.
Your chiropractor would identify any of the above during the initial consultation and make the necessary recommendations at that point.
Can Spinal Decompression Therapy help me if other treatments have failed?
Conservative therapies such as chiropractic and physiotherapy can help many conditions, but sometimes fail to help. Some of these cases – especially those related to spinal degenerative joint and disc disease – can respond favourably to Spinal Decompression Therapy.
The same is often the case for failed back surgery – where surgery has been performed, and either the desired result has not been achieved, or a return to the previous condition occurs some time later.
While it cannot help in all these cases, Spinal Decompression Therapy is indicated in cases that have failure to respond to surgery or more conservative therapies.
Is Spinal Decompression Therapy an alternative to spinal surgery?
Spinal Decompression Therapy has a high success rate for the right candidates. There are certain categories of disc herniation that often respond favourably to Spinal Decompression Therapy for which the patient might otherwise have required surgery.
There are also other categories of disc herniation that are unlikely to respond to Spinal Decompression Therapy. Patients with these problems most likely will require surgery.
Your chiropractor will, after reviewing all examination findings and MRI scans, be able to advise you of which category you are in and refer back to your medical doctor to set an appropriate course of treatment for you.