Friday, October 19, 2012

How Spinal Decompression Works

Spinal decompression is a therapy first started in Canada by an orthopedic surgeon. This therapy is designed to help patients with disc issues. These issues can vary from a herniation, protrusions to an annular tear.
The goal of spinal decompression is to create an environment that the disc can heal naturally. During the course of our daily life our bodies are constantly under a positive pressure. This occurs even when we are lying down. This positive pressure does not facilitate an environment that the disc can heal. When the pressure is removed from the damaged disc the disc material can migrate back into the disc. Just as a cast is placed on a broken bone to facilitate an environment that the bone can heal, decompression creates an environment that facilitates healing to the disc.
Before the decompression process can begin, all patients need to be screened to see if they are a candidate for this treatment. First, a current MRI must be available for review. The MRI will reveal things that can rule a patient out for treatment such as aortic issues, excessive inflammation, scar tissue, kidney issues; prostate, ovarian issues, bony stenosis and joint instability. Problems such as disc protrusions, herniations, annular tears and degenerative issues can be helped in most cases.
Now the number one question asked is, what is the difference between this and traction? They both pull on a logarithmic curve but that is the only similarity. Traction works based on a pull or force that is introduced into the body following a curve like pattern. Once the peak or maximum pull is reached, the pressure is released. There is no account for how the body responds. If the muscles contract or the patient starts to resist there is no way to monitor this and adjust the load pressure. During a decompression treatment there is constant monitoring of the patients response to the treatment. If the patient's muscles start to contract the load will decrease immediately to accommodate the load resistance. Once the resistance is stopped the pull force continues. This process helps the body to relax and creates a negative pressure in the disc. By working this way, an environment is created that the body can heal itself.
There is one other part of this treatment that is crucial and that is the rehabilitation phase. The muscles that support the spine are called your core muscles. Now that is a very over used term these days. So I want to be very specific about this. There are certain muscles that are responsible for balance, now many muscles contribute but certain ones are responsible for the majority of the work. These muscles are the multifidus, transverse abdominous and psoas. The goal in strengthening these muscles is to create stability in the spine in turn increasing the protective mechanism. After completing a series of decompression therapy, typically a two to three week rehabilitation program should follow.
In conclusion, not every person with a low back problem is a candidate for decompression therapy. For those that are, the results can be incredible. To see pre and post pictures of case studies performed in our office please go to our web site and see our link below.

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