For years, spinal decompression has been an integral part of my practice. While it is an effective treatment for most patients with degenerated or herniated spinal discs, it may not be appropriate for all patients suffering from back pain. Unfortunately, doctors sometimes recommend spinal decompression when it is not necessary or appropriate due to financial investment. Although no treatment is perfect, doctors sometimes don’t make the right choices about who they will accept. Worse, some patients might get worse if doctors recommend this treatment for financial reasons.
Spinal decompression, an advanced form of spinal traction, is used to treat disc-related back pain. It can also be used for conditions like sciatica. The main difference between spinal decompression and regular traction (or inversion) machines, is that spinal decompression machines “trick” spinal muscles into being relaxed during treatment. This allows for greater disc pressure changes than regular traction which must fight muscle resistance. Regular traction was not the best option for my patients. I can confirm that true decompression systems produce better results. Many people find spinal decompression to be very effective, while others experience little or no improvement. Some may feel worse. These are the most common reasons spinal decompression fails to work. I also offer suggestions on how to tell when it is likely to work for you.
My experience has shown that patients with bulging, herniated or mildly degenerative discs are the best candidates for this type of treatment. Patients who have had disc surgery in the past are still good candidates for spinal compression, as long as they don’t have any issues such a metal implant in their spine, spinal instability, or some other healing impairment. These patients will usually get great results and can resume their daily activities with minimal pain once they have completed the recommended spinal decompression treatment protocol.
Although there have been cases where complete disc ruptures could be treated by spinal decompression, I’ve found that people with disc ruptures do not respond well to this type of treatment. Even doctors can incorrectly label a disc bulge, or herniation, as a rupture. True disc ruptures, also known as extrusions or sequestered discs, in which the inner disc gel is actually leaking, are rare. It is important to determine your exact condition. This can be done by reading the radiologist’s report on the patient’s MRI/CT scan. The patient might not be a good candidate for decompression if you see terms such as “extrusion” and “sequestered fracture”, especially when they are used with the words “larger” or “severe”. Although decompression is possible in these cases, the success rate of full disc ruptures is lower than that for bulges or herniations (also known as “protrusions”).
It is important that spinal decompression is only used in appropriate cases. The technician or doctor who operates the machine must also properly prepare the patient for treatment. Ineffective treatment can be caused by inept technician setups. Even poor patient setups are not likely to cause injury due to the superior spinal decompression system. However, mistakes in the operation of the machine could prevent patients from receiving the best results and may lead temporarily to flare-ups in their symptoms. This problem can be avoided by asking potential spinal decompression providers you are considering seeking treatment about their training. Operators of this equipment should have completed a formal training program. They should also be retrained as needed to ensure proper patient care.
Another consideration is that not all patients are suitable for spinal decompression therapy because they are unable or unwilling to follow the treatment protocol. My experience shows that the main reasons patients don’t want to or can’t follow the treatment recommendations is usually money and/or lack of time.
It may seem expensive to have a complete spinal decompression program that includes adjunctive therapies and spinal decompression. It is actually a lower-cost option than surgery and has a higher success rate statistically. However, some people try to reduce their treatment costs to save money. This is a huge mistake. Most people who follow the recommended decompression protocol will experience lasting relief and can return to their usual activities. Relapses are common among those who stop receiving care early. They may experience more pain and damage to their discs if they return to demanding activities that were not recommended.
Some people don’t follow treatment recommendations because they are too busy or unwilling to invest the time to get better. These patients are more likely to skip appointments or go between sessions for long periods of time. The success of spinal decompression depends on receiving the correct amount of treatment and the right frequency. People who don’t schedule their appointments are less likely to get the best results and have less success. Many people are busy and forget to take the time to address their health problems. This can lead to a worsening of their health and a compulsion to seek treatment. I recommend that you invest time to get better. Rather than wasting your time and not getting the best results, it is worth the effort.
Spinal decompression can be a very effective treatment for pain due to bulging or degenerated discs. However, it is crucial that patients are carefully selected and that technicians who operate the equipment receive regular refresher training. Patients should not try to cut down on their treatment time or money. They must follow the recommended treatment protocols to ensure maximum healing and correction. My experience shows that Spinal Decompression Cornelius NC patients who are carefully selected and follow the correct treatment protocols have excellent long-term results.
Lakeside Sports Chiropractic Center
19924 Jetton Road Suite 101, Cornelius, NC, 28031, USA