How Decompression Relieves Spinal Pain

How Decompression Relieves Spinal Pain

Spinal pain can come from many different sources, ranging from injury to arthritis to degenerative changes that come with age. Sometimes it comes from nerves that have been compressed or impinged upon by spinal structures — a “pinched” nerve, medically known as radiculopathy. In the case of radiculopathy, the pain can travel from the spinal cord in the back down the entire length of the nerve, causing great distress. 

At Today's Chiropractic Clinic, serving Des Moines, Washington, Dr. Charles Laycock and his staff use decompression therapy along with a number of chiropractic techniques to alleviate spinal pain and get you back to your daily routine. Here’s how it works.

Your spine, structurally speaking

Your spine serves as your body’s backbone. Stretching from the base of your skull to your tailbone, it contains 24 interlocking bony vertebrae that have cushiony intervertebral discs between them. The configuration supports the weight of your head, allows you to stand up straight, and provides the flexibility to let you bend, flex, and twist.

The discs each have an outer firm structure and an inner gelatinous mass. When the outer shell cracks, due to injury or wear-and-tear damage, the gel can ooze out and impinge upon nearby spinal nerves. This is known as a ruptured or herniated disc.

In addition, the vertebrae are held in a column by small, bony facet joints, which can also suffer wear-and-tear damage.

All together, the various components form the spinal column, which surrounds and protects the inner spinal canal. The spinal cord runs through the length of the canal, with peripheral nerves exiting between the vertebrae and traveling out to the arms and legs.

What causes spinal pain?

There are many conditions that can lead to spinal pain, including.

Problems can be associated with the cervical (neck) spine or the lumbar (lower back) spine. Both can cause painful radiculopathy.

What is spinal decompression therapy, and how does it work?

Spinal decompression is an FDA-approved nonsurgical procedure that relieves chronic cervical and lumbar pain, primarily from disc- or arthritis-related conditions. Intervertebral discs often don’t heal on their own because they’re under constant pressure. Decompression reduces the intradiscal pressure, allowing fluids, nutrients, and oxygen back into the disc space and allowing bulging or herniated discs to retract.

At Today's Chiropractic Clinic, we’re committed to offering the latest, state-of-the-art therapies for treating lower back and neck pain. We use industry-leader Chattanooga Group’s Triton DTS Decompression Traction System for our patients’ spinal pain needs.

When you come in for spinal decompression therapy, you lie on a specially designed table either face up or face down, depending on your exact problem and your comfort level. You remain fully dressed during the treatment, but we suggest wearing loose fitting clothing for comfort and manipulation.

Next, we fit you with a wrap-around harness, which allows the unloading of the spine and discs by the traction motor. We then program in the angle of the gentle distraction that allows for accurate and focused treatment of the affected area. The computer-controlled traction device gently applies a stretching force to the spinal vertebrae to open up the intervertebral space, removing the pressure on the spinal nerves. The force releases about once per minute and then reapplies itself to encourage additional stretching.

What’s the treatment duration?

Each visit to our office takes about 20-30 minutes, which includes a chiropractic adjustment in addition to the decompression. A full course of spinal decompression therapy may run between 4-8 weeks, depending on your underlying condition and how often you come in.

Spinal decompression studies indicate about a 71% success rate, with one study finding an immediate resolution of symptoms in an impressive 86% of the participants. Results, of course, vary depending on the type and duration of your condition and your willingness to stick to the recommended treatment plan.

We design our program to bring lasting relief, but we also integrate an active exercise component as well as an at-home protocol designed to teach you to strengthen your back. If your case is particularly severe, you may need follow-up supportive decompression treatment and further spinal adjustments. The doctor discusses all these factors with you at your consultation.

If you’re struggling with spinal pain, it’s time to get relief. Give Today's Chiropractic Clinic a call at 206-222-8967 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Laycock and find out if decompression therapy is right for you, or book online with us today.

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