If you suffer from herniated or bulging discs, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, arthritis, lumbar facet syndrome, or have tried traditional back/neck surgery with less than stellar results, Spinal Decompression Therapy (SDT) may be an alternative for you.

SDT is different than old-fashioned traction. In many cases, traction causes a guarding of the muscles surrounding the affected discs. In SDT a patient is placed on a specially designed table that alternates distraction tension to the spine with brief relaxation periods. If the cervical spine (the neck) is to be treated, the patient’s head is partially immobilized with a strap across the forehead and the neck placed between two adjustable pads. If the lumbar vertebrae (low back) are to be treated, the patient’s mid section is partially immobilized by placing belts or other devices across the patients chest and stomach. The Reviews on Spine Doctors in Austin are quite encouraging so far, which merits seeking help from them in case your suffer from spinal injuries. 

Once the patient is secure, the degree and intensity are entered into the system. The degree will isolate which disc will be receive pressure relief. The intensity will determine just how much “pull” there will be. Once the process begins, the unit moves in intervals to allow pressure to be relieved in the affected area. This allows the flow of blood, nutrients, oxygen and water to infuse the space between the discs. With continued treatment the disc material which has been displaced will return to a normal position and the disc will restore normal function.

The number of sessions required depends highly on both the severity of the problem and the length of time the problem has been present. Many patients find relief in as few as ten treatments, while others require significantly more. In addition, the treatments must be accompanied by strengthening exercise in order to maintain the relief. Exercises can include stretches for the neck, back and legs, crunches or other core intense exercises, and weight bearing exercises.

Treatment of disc disease is imperative because a damaged disc can cause not only back pain, but leg and hip pain. This is due to the loss of fluid in the disc space. When the discs are not properly hydrated the can become brittle, and press on the nerves of the spine. Nerve pain is typically not confined to one area, but presents across a larger area, such as shooting down the leg or across the shoulders. Many patients find the pain and discomfort so intense that normal activities are limited.

Though SDT is not limited to chiropractors, many patients use it in conjunction with spinal adjustments. Orthopedists and neurologists, among others, have begun using the treatments as an alternative to surgery. Other treatments used in conjunction with SDT include massage, heat/ice, ultrasound and/or electrical stimulation.

This therapy is not for everyone. Individuals with Ankylosing Spondylitis, advanced osteoporosis, those pregnant or with certain cancers should not pursue SDT. There are other conditions which may preclude a patient from this treatment. Never pursue any therapy without consulting your doctor. If you decide that this treatment may help you, be sure to follow all your doctor’s and physical therapist’s recommendations. You’ll get the best results and be on the road to a healthier you.

My personal thanks to the Amarillo Spine and Rehab Center for introducing me to this therapy.