Spinal DecompressionAlbany, OR
Spinal decompression uses surgical and non-surgical techniques to help relieve chronic back pain, neck pain, or sciatica. Spinal decompression therapy is necessary to keep the bones that form the spine, or vertebrae, from squeezing the spinal discs that cushion them. Excess pressure on the discs can cause them to bulge out and compress the spinal cord and nerves, resulting in pain or numbness.
If you are interested in spinal decompression therapy, let Better Pain Solutions in Albany help. Our team offers a range of chiropractic treatments, including spinal traction. Call us at (541) 249-7317 to learn more.
Understanding Spinal Decompression
The goal of spinal decompression therapy is to alleviate pressure on the spinal nerves causing pain. There are two approaches to spinal decompression: non-surgical and surgical. In non-surgical spinal decompression, a chiropractor uses a traction table to gently stretch the spine, changing the force and position of the vertebrae to take pressure off the spinal discs.
In surgical decompression, back surgery can help to repair ruptured spinal discs, remove bony growths, or correct other problems that put pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. We can help patients determine if they are candidates for spinal decompression, surgical decompression, or an alternative treatment during a consultation.
“The goal of spinal decompression therapy is to alleviate pressure on the spinal nerves causing pain.”
Non-surgical vs. Surgical Spinal Decompression
Non-surgical spinal decompression applies the principles of spinal traction used by chiropractors, osteopathic doctors, and physical therapists. Using a motorized traction table helps intermittently stretch and relax the spine to create negative pressure between the vertebrae. This negative pressure helps to reposition bulging disc material and promote disc healing.
Spinal decompression surgery is reserved as a last resort treatment. There are a variety of procedures that target specific spine problems, e.g., herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, worn spinal joints, or damaged nerve roots. Surgeries for spinal decompression include:
- Laminectomy – removing a section of the bone to increase the size of the spinal canal
- Microdiscectomy – removing a portion of the disc that is pressing against nerves
- Foraminotomy – removing bone around the opening where the nerve roots exit the vertebrae
- Osteophyte removal – removing bony growths that push on nerves or other structures
- Corpectomy – removing the offending vertebra along with the discs
“The spine is intermittently stretched and relaxed to create negative pressure between the vertebrae.”
Spinal Decompression Procedures
During a non-surgical spinal decompression procedure, the patient wears a harness around their hips that is attached to a motorized traction table. The lower part of the table slides back and forth, while the upper part is fixed. Lying face up or face down, the table movements provide traction to stretch and relax the spine. This technique is not painful, but patients will feel the stretch.
When conservative care fails to relieve pain, spinal decompression surgery may be effective. Patients first undergo imaging to assess the location and extent of spinal compression. The surgeon will make a small incision over the affected vertabrae while the patient is under anesthesia. Then, they will remove a portion of bone or disc material to release pressure from the spinal nerve responsible for pain. In some cases, they amy recommend a bone graft or hardware (metal rods and screws) to add extra support for the newly decompressed spine. The patient will need to stay in the hospital for 24 to 48 hours following surgery.
“A portion of bone and/or disc material will be removed to release pressure from the spinal nerve responsible for pain.”
Spinal Decompression Candidates
Candidates for spinal decompression are people who suffer from persistent lower back, neck, or leg pain typically caused by a bulging or herniated disc. Surgery is a last resort when non-surgical approaches do not work to relieve pain. Non-surgical approaches that stretch the spine are not appropriate for patients with:
- Artificial disc or other spinal implants
- Broken vertebrae
- Failed back surgery
- Spinal conditions that affect the curvature
- Spinal fusion
- Spinal stenosis, spinal tumor, or spinal infection
“Candidates for spinal decompression are people who suffer from persistent lower back, neck, or leg pain.”
Continuing Treatment and Follow-Up Care
Spinal traction lasts between 20 and 45 minutes; a chiropractor will recommend many sessions depending on the individual's condition and pain. On the other hand, surgery is an inpatient procedure, and special aftercare instructions need to be closely followed. Depending on the procedure, full recovery can take three months to a year.
Post-surgery, the patient will be prescribed a physical therapy regimen to strengthen their spine along with specific instructions on maintaining posture while sitting, standing, and sleeping. Medication may be provided to help manage postsurgical pain. Follow-up appointments will continue every few months for a couple of years, and the patient will likely undergo imaging to gauge how their back is healing.
“The patient will be prescribed a physical therapy regimen to strengthen their spine.”
Learn More About Spinal Decompression
Spinal decompression techniques can help relieve persistent back, neck, or leg pain that results from a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, or nerve root issues. However, a more conservative, non-surgical approach utilizing a traction table is usually the first line of treatment, whereas surgery is reserved as a last resort and involves a more serious recovery regimen.
If you are in search of spinal decompression therapy in Albany, let Better Pain Solutions help. Call us at (541) 249-7317 to learn more about our services and policies.
Check out what others are saying about our Spinal Decompression services on Yelp: Spinal Decompression Albany
Questions Answered on This Page
Q. What is spinal decompression?
Q. What is the difference between surgical and non-surgical spinal decompression?
Q. What happens during a spinal decompression procedure?
Q. Is spinal decompression right for me?
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How does your spine get compressed?
A. Spinal compression often occurs after an injury or a degenerative condition that causes the spinal canal or nerve root openings to narrow, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
Q. What is a herniated disc?
A. A herniated disc may also be described as a pinched nerve, ruptured disc, bulging disc, or slipped disc. Between individual vertebrae is a disc that functions as a shock absorber. The disc has a soft jelly-like center and a rubbery exterior, but if it tears or gets squeezed, the gel can push out and compress the spinal cord.
Q. Is non-surgical spinal decompression effective?
A. While non-surgical approaches to spinal decompression have been shown to relieve pressure on the spine and thereby reduce pain, clinical evidence is lacking, and future studies are needed to support spinal traction methods in evidence-based care.
Q. When is surgical spinal decompression appropriate?
A. Back surgery is serious and involves a long recovery period; therefore, surgery is reserved for severe cases and only after conservative treatments fail to correct the problem or alleviate pain.
Q. How long before I get back to work after surgery?
A. Depending on the procedure, an otherwise healthy patient may return to work in 4 to 6 weeks if their job is non-strenuous. However, it can take 3 to 4 months for the bones to fully heal and a year before a patient resumes normal activity.
- A practitioner of the system of integrative medicine based on the diagnosis and manipulative treatment of misalignments of the joints.
- Herniated Disc
- When the soft rubbery disc pushes through the crack of the spine, creating an imbalance and causing various levels of pain to the individual.
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