Decompression Therapy: A Nonsurgical Alternative to Chronic Back and Neck Pain

Nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy enables the body to use its own healing mechanisms to dramatically reduce chronic neck or back pain without drugs, surgery or painful injections.

spinal decompression therapyPerhaps better known as traction therapy, Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression Therapy (NSSD) has existed as an effective treatment for spinal conditions for centuries. Early therapies targeted physical deformities such as scoliosis. As our knowledge of the spine and its biometric functions and its relationship to other body systems has evolved so, too, have the tools, technologies and treatment options used in traction therapy.

Recent studies show that modern traction therapy is increasingly effective in treating chronic back and neck pain. One four-year study showed that 71% of patients experienced a significant reduction in pain immediately following the NSSD treatment protocol.

How does NSSD work?

Effective traction goes beyond simply stretching the spine. It uses specific, prescribed patterns of pulling and relaxing the muscles to create space between the vertebrae. This decompression enables improved flow of blood and oxygen which, in turn, stimulates the body’s own healing processes. Bulging discs become reabsorbed, permitting the nerves to exit the spine more freely, reducing pain and mending injured and degenerated discs.

Who can benefit from NSSD?

NSSD therapy is targeted to people experiencing back pain, neck pain or sciatica caused in whole or in part by a damaged disc. The conditions associated with these symptoms may include herniated, protruding or bulging discs, facet syndrome, arm or leg pain or numbness and even certain types of spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal canal. However, certain factors, such as pregnancy, may exclude patients from the therapy. The best way to determine if you can benefit is through personal consultation with one of the doctors or therapists at Washington Wellness Center.

What is treatment like?

Spinal decompression is delivered much like your standard chiropractic session with a licensed professional. You are comfortably positioned on a therapy table as many treatment variables are programmed into the computer, including therapy duration and graduating levels (and angles) of distraction and relaxation.

Specialized spinal decompression tables ensure that each treatment is optimized for a particular body type and treatment need, virtually eliminating any pain during treatment. Many patients report the treatment is relaxing and may fall asleep; others listen to music.

In most cases, treatments consist of several 10 to 15 minute sessions; each session is followed by spinal stabilization exercises. Spinal decompression may be recommended three to five times per week, and patients typically complete 15 to 20 sessions.

Decompression therapy is customized to the patient’s specific condition and given over a number of office visits. After an initial set of treatments, the patient is re-evaluated to see the progression of treatment.

Is decompression therapy right for me?

It’s safe to say that most—if not all—patients would prefer the treatment table to the operating table, as it removes significant risks associated with surgery and, in many situations, results in relief from back and neck pain without any significant side effects. But is it right for you?

A number of factors determine whether NSSD therapy will be successful including the patient’s age, weight, overall physical condition, and the length of time in pain. However, the starting point for any course of decompression therapy is to rule out those patients who are not good candidates. Pregnant women, for example, and those who have had artificial discs are not candidates for the therapy.

The best way to determine if you are a candidate for NSSD therapy is through a personal consultation. At Washington Wellness Center, our no-charge initial consultation includes a thorough review of any imaging studies of your spine, including MRI’s. Our doctors and therapists have decades of experience and success using NSSD therapy on our patients.

If you suffer from chronic neck or back pain, why not schedule an appointment today to see if spinal decompression is right for you?