- What is Spinal Decompression?
- What Causes Back Pain?
- How and why does Spinal Disc Decompression work?
- What is a Disc?
- What is a Bulging or Herniated Disc?
- What is Sciatica?
- What technologies are used in Spinal Decompression Therapy?
- How does the DRX 9000 work?
What is Spinal Decompression?
Anyone who suffers from chronic back pain knows how debilitating it can be. One possible solution is spinal decompression therapy, which is a procedure that is designed to relieve pressure either on the spinal cord itself or on compressed nerve roots in the spinal column. The procedure can be either surgical or non-surgical in nature (although whenever possible it’s recommended to avoid surgery). Successful spinal decompression can permanently lessen or all together alleviate back pain via decompression of the spinal neural elements.
The first option to consider is non-surgical decompression, an advanced treatment that can eliminate the need for invasive surgery. Performed using FDA-approved equipment (such as the DRX9000) using safe and professional techniques, non-surgical decompression applies force to the spine and the surrounding structures in a very precise manner to help reduce pressure on the nerves.
Non-surgical spinal decompression has proven very beneficial for helping to treat or reduce the pain from a number of ailments, including pinched nerves, bulging disks, herniated disks, sciatica, arm pain, leg pain, degenerative disk disease, and other forms of pain.
The second option, surgery, should be reserved for the most serious cases and only as a last resort. Procedures such as diskectomies, laminotomies, foraminotomies, corpectomies, and osteophyte removal can be performed to treat severe back issues, including bulging or ruptured disks, bony growths, and other spinal conditions.
What causes back pain?
There are many reasons that a patient might experience back pain. The most common source is a mechanical issue or soft-tissue injury, such as from a torn or pulled muscle or strained ligament. Other injuries can include damage to the intervertebral discs, a compression or pinching of nerve roots, or spinal joints that are misaligned.
A person who suffers from a strain has most likely stretched a back muscle too far, causing some amount of tearing, or alternatively, torn or stretched a ligament, the tissue that connects bones together.
These injuries can occur for any number of reasons, including lifting an object that is too heavy for a person, or lifting with incorrect technique, a sudden impact, such as from a fall or car collision, poor posture, or a sports injury.
How and why does Spinal Disc Decompression work?
Spinal decompression therapy works on the theory that by gently separating the vertebrae from each other, it is possible to create a space, or a vacuum, between the vertebrae. This is referred to as negative pressure, and when successful, causes bulging or herniated disks to retract into place, thereby reducing the pressure on the nerve root that has been the source of the pain. The actual amount of space created is miniscule in scope, but over the course of the treatment, the results can be a significant reduction in the level of pain and other symptoms. The procedure is able to stimulate the flow of water, oxygen, and nutrients into the disks, which helps to boost the healing process.
Studies support the benefits of the treatment. Dr. John Leslie, of the Mayo Clinic, conducted research that indicated non-surgical spinal decompression is 88.9% effective, based on a multi-center, non-randomized pilot study. The patients included in the research had been suffering chronic back pain for an average of 10 years. Two weeks of treatment was enough to produce a 50% reduction in pain scores.
What is a Disc?
The spinal column of the human body contains 33 vertebrae. The upper 24 of these are articulating, meaning they are separate joints, and the lower nine are fused together. The articulated vertebrae are separated by 23 intervertebral disks, the primary purpose of which are to act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae in order to reduce friction. These disks also serve as both ligaments and cartilaginous joints to hold the spine together and allow for some mobility.
Vertabral disks are made up of two parts. The outer portion has a tough circular exterior made up of concentric sheets of collagen fibers. This part surrounds the inner core, which consists of a loose network of fibers suspended in a mucoprotein gel. In order to perform their function properly, the disks must stay hydrated, with enough fluid to maintain both their strength and pliability.
When the disks slip out of place, are misaligned, or become deformed somehow, this can lead to minor to severe problems, including bulging disks, back and neck pain, and sciatica.
What is a Bulging or Herniated Disk?
It is possible for a disk between the vertebrae to become damaged, so that it will bulge and push into the spinal column. This can lead to pain, anywhere from minor to severe, in the neck, shoulders, or chest, as well as other symptoms, such as tingling and numbness on one side of the body and weakness in the limbs.
As people age, the spinal disks suffer from a great deal of friction, and the older you are, the more likely you are to have a bulging disk. In the worst cases, they may become herniated. A herniated disk is one that has been ruptured, allowing the fluid inside to leak out.
There are many different causes of bulging or herniated disks, including poor posture, smoking, alcohol consumption, working in an occupation that requires repetitive lifting, bending, standing or driving, improper lifting techniques, contact sports, severe trauma (from a car accident, fall, etc), or a genetic condition. The good news is that these injuries can often be treated by spinal decompression therapy without requiring surgery.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition that leads to pain along the path of the sciatic nerve, which is the nerve with the largest diameter in the human body. The nerve branches from the lower back down through the hips and buttocks all the way to the knee. Pain from sciatica typically only affects one side of the body.
The most common causes of sciatica are a herniated disk, bone spur, or narrowing of the spine, which compresses or pinches the sciatic nerve and can lead to inflammation, pain, numbness, tingling, leg weakness, or bowel or bladder changes.
The risk of sciatica increases depending on a number of factors, including age, obesity, mobility, occupation, and diabetes.
What technologies are used in Spinal Decompression Therapy?
When treated non-surgically, spinal decompression therapy involves intermittently stretching and relaxing the spine in a controlled manner to create the negative pressure mentioned above. In addition to allowing the space for fluid to return to the disk, it is also possible that the bulged or herniated disc will be pulled back into place.
Several methods are currently in practice, but they all share similar principles, and generally involve some kind of motorized platform that the patient is strapped to. One portion of the platform is moved to provide alternating traction and relaxation of the spine. Some machines require the patient to lie prone (ie. facedown) while others require a supine position (face up), such as the DRX9000.
During this procedure, the patient should not feel any pain, but rather a firm stretching of the spine. It is very important that any treatment be administered by a licensed professional, as unsupervised remedies can actually worsen the condition and lead to more severe symptoms.
How does the DRX9000 work?
The DRX9000 provides a primary treatment method for the management of pain and disability caused by lower back pain and sciatica. The system has been carefully designed to apply spinal decompressive forces to the spine and provides relief of pain and symptoms associated with various back injuries and conditions.
A typical course of treatment with the DRX9000 consists of several weeks of sessions. The exact length and frequency of each session depends on the patient’s condition, but could be anywhere from daily to 3 times per week.
The machine works by gently lengthening and stretching the spine to relieve the pressure on the nerve that is causing the pain and discomfort. During treatment, the patient will lie in a supine position (face up). When the patient is strapped into the harness and the machine is turned on, it will gently stretch the affected area.
Not all back pain can be treated with this method of spinal decompression therapy, but clinical results indicate a high frequency of success. If you are interested in enjoying a pain-free life, contact us today to learn more about how spinal decompression might be right for you.