Non-surgical spinal decompression is a revolutionary technology that has been cleared by the FDA for use in treatment of certain spinal disorders.
It is used primarily to treat disc injuries in the neck and low back. Spinal decompression therapy is very safe and effective at treating bulging discs, herniated discs, pinched nerves, sciatica, radiating arm pain, degenerative disc disease, leg pain, facet syndrome, and other neuromuscular and skeletal disorders.
Weakened or injured discs are susceptible to further injury, in large part, due to compressive forces. A normal or healthy disc evenly distributes forces. Each disc has two main parts: an inside softer layer, and an outside harder layer. As the disc becomes injured, the harder, outer layer becomes dry and weakened. Small tears or fissures further weaken the outer layer of the disc. Compressive forces on the vertebrae from above and below increase the pressure within the disc.
With an injured or weakened disc, these compressive forces push the inside softer layer through the small tears or fissures into the outside layer. This ultimately results in nerve root pressure. The area can become painful and the injury will usually worsen over time. The pressure from the bulge or herniation puts pressure on the sensitive nerve roots and decreases blood flow to the injured area, causing pain.
Axial spinal traction or decompression of vertebrae causes a “vacuum effect”, which is also known as negative intra-discal pressure. This mechanism can be compared to that of a sponge. When a sponge is squeezed, water is pushed out and the sponge dries out. When the compressive forces of the sponge are let go, it is able to soak water back up. The technique of spinal decompression therapy has shown the ability to gently separate the vertebrae from each other, creating a vacuum inside the injured discs. This “vacuum effect” has the potential to pull some of the bulge or herniated material back in, allowing the injured area to heal and thereby reducing pressure onto the sensitive nerve root.
The negative pressure may induce the retraction of the herniation or bulging disc into the inside of the disc, and of the nerve root and/or thecal sac. It happens only microscopically each time, but cumulatively, the results are quite dramatic.
Non-surgical spinal decompression treatment consists of cycles. The cycles consist of decompression, or traction, followed by partial relaxation. Over a series of treatments, this promotes the diffusion of water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids from the outside of the discs to the inside. This cumulative “pumping” effect relays nutrients to the torn and degenerated disc fibers, allowing them to heal and become strong again. Along with rehab therapy to correct biomechanics, increase muscular endurance, and stretching tight muscles, these conditions can be manageable.