Spinal Decompression Traction Therapy

What is Spinal Decompression Traction Therapy?

Spinal decompression traction therapy is a highly advanced form of nonsurgical therapy. Spinal decompression is a process that's carried out with the help of computers. It helps treat neck pain, slipped disks, back pain, and other spine-related ailments. 

After performing spinal decompression therapy, doctors may recommend back surgeries to patients. But, the main aim of this therapy is to relieve the pressure in the patient's spine. Therapists also discover ailments like herniated discs or bulging discs during these processes. This FDA-approved therapy is over ten years old.

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Types of Spinal Decompression Traction Therapy

This therapy can either be surgical/nonsurgical. In nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy, patients experience motorized tractions on their spines. They help relieve back or neck pain. The tractions gently stretch the spine, changing its position. As a result, the pressure releases from the spinal discs. These gel-like cushions in-between the spinal bones are connected to nerves and other important structures in the spine.

The release of pressure promotes nerve health and the movement of resources (water, oxygen, nutrients, etc.) into the spinal discs. The discs heal, and the risk of them bulging or getting herniated is reduced. That's why doctors use nonsurgical spinal decompression traction therapy to treat injured spinal nerve roots, degenerative disk disease, and posterior facet syndrome (worn-out spinal joints).

There are various forms of surgical spinal decompression therapy. Some of them include discectomy, laminotomy, foraminotomy, corpectomy, and osteophyte removal. During these surgeries, undesirable growths in the spine are surgically removed or repositioned.

Risks of Spinal Decompression Traction Therapy

Overall, this therapy technique is extremely safe and comfortable. Patients never leave the doctor with more pain or discomfort than they came in with. Top doctors follow the "DRS protocol" (Decompression, Reduction, and Stabilization) while performing this therapy. Most patients do not experience negative side or after-effects after receiving this therapy. The most common 'risk' of receiving this therapy is aching or soreness in the body.

That's because as the body gets accustomed to stretching and decompressing, it experiences some dullness for the first few weeks. During this therapy, your muscles will be lengthened in directions that you're not used to. That's why patients experience mild soreness for a few days. Thankfully, after experiencing this mild pain, most patients report experience 50% or more relief from their pain.

Benefits of Spinal Decompression Traction Therapy

A variety of lower back pain conditions can be treated with spinal decompression traction therapy. Since this therapy is risk-free, most patients find it easy to decide whether or not they want this form of treatment. Some key benefits of receiving this therapy are:

  • Regular therapy creates negative intradiscal pressure. As the spinal discs receive less pressure, repositioning the mispositioned, herniated, or bulging disc becomes easier and less painful.
  • The release of intradiscal pressure also gives the spinal discs access to important nutrients. Their health improves after regular therapy.
  • Muscles, tendons, and ligaments stretch and become more loose and flexible.
  • Bulging disks regain their position as regular therapy draws out the gel nucleus towards the discs' centers.
  • The tunnels from where the nerves exit the spinal system become bigger. Nerves receive more oxygen and more blood because of this.
  • Patients get to learn how poor posture combines with gravity to act negatively on the spinal joints.

Many patients who have had spinal surgery receive this therapy post-surgery. Spinal decompression specialists can help all types of patients (even after failed back surgeries). However, people must consult with medical professionals to see if they qualify for this therapy.

What Conditions is Spinal Decompression Traction Therapy Used For? 

People with various types of spinal conditions can benefit from spinal decompression traction therapy. This therapy is typically used to treat the following conditions:

  • Spine stenosis (narrowed nerve tunnels)
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal arthritis
  • Nerve compression (Pinched Nerve)
  • Bulging or protruding spinal disc
  • Sciatica
  • Lower back pain
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain

Who Should NOT Receive Spinal Decompression Traction Therapy?

This form of decompression therapy isn't suited for –

  • Patients with osteoporosis and spondylolisthesis.
  • People with pre-existing spinal infections or tumors.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis patients.
  • Patients who consume blood thinner medication.
  • Pregnant women as their abdomens receive a lot of pressure during this therapy.
  • Patients with long-standing spinal instability issues (e.g., osteoporosis).
  • Patients who have recently received spinal surgery or metal plate implants

Other than these people, anyone can benefit from this therapy. Still, checking with a doctor first is important.

How to Prepare for Spinal Decompression Traction Therapy?

Here are some steps to prepare for this type of therapy –

  • Know What to Expect – You will receive anywhere between 15 to 30 treatments. Each treatment lasts 30-45 minutes. After four to six-week periods, patients start feeling transformed.
  • Wearing a Harness – Patients have to wear special harnesses designed to achieve optimal decompression. These harnesses come with safety switches. Patients can press the switch to stop the treatment any time they feel uncomfortable.
  • Health – Drink a lot of water on the day of the therapy. Post-therapy, perform exercises at home to boost strength and mobility.

Recovery: What Happens After Spinal Decompression Traction Therapy?

Most patients report experiencing amazing relief from their pain and symptoms after 12–20 sessions of this therapy. They even feel encouraged to exercise and be more mobile after receiving this therapy. There are no dramatic "recovery periods." Some conditions require more visits. But, patients' ailments never get worse.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long before the results?
Most patients report improvements after the first five sessions. Patients can receive significant improvements just after two weeks of treatment.
2. Does this therapy hurt?
Yes, but the "pain" is insignificant. After multiple spinal decompression treatments most, patients grow numb to this pain and discomfort.
3. Do I qualify for this therapy/treatment?
Yes. Since patients don't experience any side effects, you or anyone can receive this therapy after consulting your doctor.

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