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Spinal Decompression Therapy

Spinal decompression room at Stuart Family Chiropractic & Acupuncture Center

What is Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Spinal Decompression Therapy is an innovative, clinically tested, computerized, FDA cleared treatment for a number of lower back or neck problems resulting from injury to the intervertebral discs of the spine. It is a non-surgical, traction-based therapy for relief of back and leg pain or neck and arm pain. During this procedure, by cycling through distraction and relaxation phases and by proper patient positioning, a spinal disc can be isolated and placed under negative pressure, causing a vacuum effect within it This decompression of the discs allows bulging or herniated disc material to be drawn back within the disc. It also increases oxygen and blood flow into the affected areas to promote healing, relieve pain and expedite the recovery process.

What conditions does Spinal Decompression Therapy treat?

Spinal Decompression Therapy is designed to help patients who suffer from disc problems including bulging, herniated or degenerative discs in the neck or lower back. These disc problems may cause severe neck or back pain, extremity pain, numbness, weakness headaches or even sciatica. Spinal Decompression Therapy may also benefit individuals with facet syndrome, arthritis, scoliosis and chronic pain. The doctor will tell you through proper evaluation if you qualify for this exciting therapy.

Are there conditions where Spinal Decompression Therapy is not recommended?

Spinal Decompression Therapy is not recommended for pregnant women, patients who have severe osteoporosis, severe obesity or severe nerve damage. Patients with spinal instability, fracture, malignancy, cardiac or respiratory insufficiency, infections and inflammatory diseases, vascular compromise and Rheumatoid arthritis do not qualify for this type of therapy. Spinal surgery with instrumentation (screws, metal plates or "cages") or implants is also contraindicated. However, Spinal Decompression Therapy after bone fusion or non-fusion surgery (microdiscetomy) can be performed safely. If you have any questions regarding qualifying for Spinal Decompression Therapy, the doctor will gladly discuss your concerns with you.

What can I expect during my Spinal Decompression Therapy session?

Patients lie on the Decompression Table in either the supine (on your back) or prone (on your stomach) position. Bolsters are utilized under the knees or ankles to place the patient in the most comfortable position possible. A system of pads and straps are then used to secure the patient to the table. The table is then adjusted to target the specific spinal level for treatment. Next, the computer is programmed with the specific protocol (length of time, rest periods and poundage). The table then runs through the specific protocol, performing a series of stretching with periods of relaxation. This causes a negative pressure within the disc, pulling the bulging or herniated disc material back within the normal confines of the disc. This allows the disc to begin proper healing and helps to remove pressure on delicate nerve roots. In cases involving disc degeneration, treatment protocols enhance oxygen and blood flow to the disc, allowing for disc healing to occur.

Is Spinal Decompression Therapy painful?

Spinal Decompression Therapy creates a tractional force on the spine. Many patients note that the therapy is completely painless during treatment. You may experience a pulling or tightening sensation which you may notice travels up or down your spine as the table proceeds through its protocol. Some patients report increased muscle soreness initially after starting treatment, much like beginning an exercise program for the first time.

How is Spinal Decompression Therapy different from standard traction?

Standard traction stretches the muscles and the spine simultaneously, needlessly dispersing energy between various spinal segments, sometimes triggering painful muscle spasms, which can prevent decompression from occurring. Spinal Decompression Therapy, by utilizing customized angles of pull and patient positioning, attempts to isolate specific lumbar or cervical disc segments. By utilizing customized programs of "hold" and "relax", Spinal Decompression Therapy reduces or eliminates proprioceptive response and muscle spasms, thus allowing true spinal decompression to occur. This results in a comfortable, effective treatment for management of disc injury and repair.

How long does treatment take and how many sessions are required?

Your treatment protocol will be customized for your individual condition and needs. The average treatment protocol ranges from one to three months (12-24 sessions) with individual session times lasting from 20-30 minutes in length.

Is Spinal Decompression Therapy performed as a complete therapy by itself?

Spinal Decompression Therapy is not a "cure all" of itself. It is another tool which we may utilize to aid and expedite the healing process naturally, without the use of drugs or surgery. Disc problems often occur over the course of time (degeneration) due to improper or malposition of the spinal vertebrae (subluxation), which must be corrected to affect proper healing and prevent a recurrence of symptomatology. Our office recommends Spinal Decompression Therapy as an adjunct to your Chiropractic care. Additionally, a spinal rehabilitative exercise program is recommended in order to strengthen supportive myofascial and ligamentous structures. Not only does this help keep the structures strong, but will also keep prior debilitative conditions from returning.

I've seen other tables advertised for Spinal Decompression, is there a difference?

Spinal Decompression therapy has recently gained in popularity due to the positive results patients receive through treatment. After a significant amount of research, our office chose the DTS Chattanooga Decompression table. This table allows the doctor to position your spine into optimal position for decompression to reflect subluxation and malposition of the spine. As well, providing appropriate patient set up in a face up or face down positioning for improved patient comfort. Most other tables on the market today do not offer this type of versatility for treatment.

How do I know if I qualify for Spinal Decompression Therapy?

If you suffer from neck or back pain and have been previously diagnosed with degenerative, bulging, herniated discs or spinal stenosis you may qualify for this exciting therapy. Patients with radicular symptomatology (into the arms or legs), numbness or weakness or severe headaches may also qualify for Spinal Decompression Therapy. If you have had a previous surgery where instrumentation (plates, screws or cages) were not used, and you still suffer from pain, weakness or numbness, you may be a candidate for Spinal Decompression Therapy. Only the doctor may make the final determination. We recommend a comprehensive examination with radiographic study to assist us in that determination. If you have MRI’s or CT scans, please bring them to your evaluation.

How many treatments will I need before seeing results?

Many patients get substantial, immediate relief within the first 5 - 10 sessions. Some see measurable results after just the first session. For most patients, they follow a course of slow, gradual improvements over time. Each individual case is different.

Are there medical studies that document the effectiveness of Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Yes! There are currently exciting, new clinical studies which demonstrate the amazing effectiveness of Spinal Decompression Therapy to be as high as 86%. Orthopedic Technology Review, The Journal of Neurological Research, Anesthesiology News and The American Journal of Pain Management are just a few periodicals which have published clinical studies which reflect the high effectiveness of Spinal Decompression Therapy.

How much does Spinal Decompression Therapy cost and is it covered by insurance?

We will be more than happy to verify your insurance benefits to check your responsibility for your care with our office. Our experience has shown that Spinal Decompression Therapy is currently not reimbursable by insurance. The cost of treatment will ultimately depend upon the patient's condition. We do offer a range of payment plans to fit your budget as well as accept most major credit cards. We also offer interest free financing through Care Credit for your convenience.

How do I get started?

The first step is to arrange for an initial examination and consultation with the doctor. Simply call our office at (772) 781-0193 to schedule an appointment. If you have any further questions, our doctors are more than happy to discuss them with you.