Spinal decompression is a collective term for the treatment of pinched nerves in the vertebral column, which is done by relieving pressure in the area. Spinal decompression can be done either surgically or non-surgically. Spinal decompression therapy is the non-surgical technique in relieving back pains and other conditions involving injuries in the spinal disc. These conditions may include herniated discs, bulging discs, nerve impingements, spinal stenosis, degenerative diseases of the spine, and sciatica. These conditions increase the pressure in the spinal cavity, which compress the disc as well as the spine. Because of the disc compression, various symptoms can be experienced such as back pains and loss of function. The main reasons for spinal compression include poor body mechanics, poor posture, and repetitive stress on the spine as well as direct trauma in the region.

Conventional treatments that are employed in order to correct spinal compression are surgical decompression as well as chiropractic adjustments. Spinal decompression therapy is considered a non-chiropractic and non-surgical approach in relieving compression in the spine.

The theoretical foundation of non-surgical spinal decompression therapy is the placement of distractive forces in the spine in varied forces and directions to create a negative pressure in the intervertebral disc, thereby creating a suction or vacuum in the center to pull the disc herniation inside the vertebral cavity.

Spinal decompression therapy involves the use of a decompression table to gently remove nerve impingements in the spine. The patient is often placed in the table and straps are placed to keep the person and traction in place. The table then moves to apply a force in the targeted areas of the back, which has a compression. The procedure allows the spine to be pulled apart in order for the disc to be pulled back into its original position and shape. The principle involved in spinal decompression therapy is the placement of mechanical traction. The traction that is placed on the lower part of the body creates a pull on the spine to release the pressure in the area affected or reduce the intradiscal pressure. When there is already a space in between the vertebrae, the vertebral disc can now spontaneously return to its original position, thereby managing the disc compression and the nerve compression. The mechanical traction is controlled by the use of a computer to determine the appropriate angle and force to be applied on the specific area on the spine. Spinal decompression therapy may require more than one therapy to see improvement in the back pain. Spinal decompression procedure involves a 15 one minute alternating relaxation and decompression. The whole procedure lasts for 30 minutes.

Since surgical decompression involves more side-effects and risks. Non-surgical spinal decompression therapy is more beneficial to those who have mild to moderate conditions. In addition, spinal decompression therapy is also cheaper than undergoing the expensive operations.

More traditional means of performing non-surgical spinal decompression is the inversion therapy or hanging the patient upside down. This also provides a mechanical traction with the use of gravity to reduce the pressure in the spine. However, this has been replaced by the computer assisted spinal decompression because it is rendered safer than inversion therapy.

Set up a visit with Dr. Mohr, your Tampa chiropractor, to determine if you’re a good candidate for spinal decompression therapy. North Tampa Spine & Joint Center serves Wesley Chapel, Tampa Palms, New Tampa and the surrounding areas.