Spinecare Topics

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Spinal Decompression Therapy

Low back pain is a common problem which eventually affects about 80% of all adults in the United States during their lifetime. The back pain develops secondary to numerous different causes. The most common category of back pain is mechanical back pain, meaning the pain is caused or greatly influenced by physical pressure on pain sensitive tissues and/or abnormal physical movement of one or more areas of the spine. The most common cause of back pain is mechanical.  Patients and physicans alike are always looking for new, cost efficient and safe methods to treat spinal conditions. Physical approaches to treating spinal conditions have become the standard rather than the exception. This includes chiropractic spinal manipulation, exercise therapy, custom bracing and spinal decompression therapy.


Decompression approaches have long been used treat spinal conditions. In the past the phrase was primary used to describe surgical procedures performed to remove tissue that was directly or indirectly causing to physical compression of another. Now the term is used in a more general fashion referring to procedures both invasive and non-invasive which are used to reduce pressure on one or more tissues of the spine. When the phrase is used to describe a non-invasive, non-surgical procedure requiring more than one treatment session it is often referred to spinal decompression therapy.


The use of spinal decompression therapy, has received considerable attention during the last few years. It is a non-surgical treatment for neck and back pain as well as related arm and leg pain. The primary goals of spinal decompression therapy are to reduce pain, restore spinal mobility, and to reduce pressure on spinal nerves. If a decompression approach increases the vertical distance between adjacent vertebrae it will contribute to increased dimensions of the opening on each side of the spine where the nerve roots travels. This may temporarily reduce pressure on a spinal nerve root.


There are many proposed benefits of spinal decompression therapy. The list of possible benefits include, reducing disc pressure, improving the movement of fluids and nutrients though the disc via diffusion, breaking up of restrictive adhesion (scar tissue), restoring spinal segment mobility, taking pressure off of spinal (facet) joints and improving blood flow to injured tissue. 


Not everyone is a good candidate for a therapeutic trial of spinal decompression therapy. Conditions which have been reported as responding favorably to spinal decompression therapy includes; sciatica, disc herniation, disc protrusion, spinal stenosis, and radiculopathy.Spinal decompression therapy is economical compared to spinal surgery. Decompression therapy usually costs about 1-10% of the cost of low back surgery.


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Educational Partners

To learn more about your spine. spinehealth, and available spinecare go to the International Spine Assocition (ISA) at www.spineinformation.org. The primary mission of the ISA is to improve spinehealth and spinecare through education. The ISA is committed to disseminating need-to-know information throught the World Wide Web in numerous languages covering many topics related to the spine, including information about spine disorders, spine heath, advances in technology and available spinecare



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