Spinal decompression therapy is a type of treatment designed for individuals seeking relief from neck or back pain due to herniated or bulging discs, degenerative disc disease, sciatica, as well as other various conditions. Whether you have just noticed discomfort in your back or have been suffering from chronic pain, spinal decompression therapy is a great option to consider, as it can alleviate pressure and pain and improve your overall health.
The Northport Wellness Center’s chiropractor and spinal decompression specialist, Dr. Michael Reid recently addressed spinal decompression therapy as a means to assist patients in achieving relief from pain and optimal health.
How is spinal decompression therapy administered? What does a typical session entail?
Traditionally, spinal decompression therapy is done in either a face-down (prone) or face-up position, depending on the machine. With the technology that is available at the Northport Wellness Center, we are able to do both supine and prone, as well as a semi-vertical treatment in which we utilize gravity and the weight of the patient’s lower extremities to decompress their lumbar spine.
What is the most common reason that patients inquire about spinal decompression therapy?
Spinal decompression therapy is effective for both neck (cervical spine) and lower back (lumbar spine) conditions. In some cases, it can also be effective for conditions that affect the mid back (thoracic spine). At the Northport Wellness Center, we treat patients requesting treatment for both cervical and lumbar conditions.
Is spinal decompression therapy painful?
Spinal decompression therapy should never be painful. Each treatment will last anywhere from 20 - 30 minutes. The doctor will determine what protocol will best benefit the patient’s condition: prone vs. supine, vertical vs. horizontal, etc. Treatment is typically very gentle.
What is the average recovery time for patients receiving spinal decompression therapy?
In most cases, patients will see positive results after the first treatment. Patients with more challenging chronic conditions or co-morbidities usually respond to treatment within the first two to three sessions.
Achieving desired treatment outcomes varies based on an individual patient's circumstances and severity of condition. Elimination or reduction of pain is frequently the most desired outcome of decompression but it is also important to set functional goals for our patients. For example, a patient with sciatica has great difficulty walking more than 50 feet at a time because of the associated pain. The first goal would be to reduce the level of pain experienced by the patient. The functional goal would be to increase the distance that the patient can walk without pain. In this way, we can set specific goals that are measurable and progress from there. Optimal results usually occur around 20 treatments but can vary on a case by case basis.
Who will benefit most from spinal decompression therapy?
Anyone with mechanical neck or back pain will benefit from spinal decompression therapy. The conditions that are most effectively treated by spinal decompression therapy are cervical and lumbar herniated discs, as well as neuropathies, in either the upper or lower extremities. Pain, numbness or weakness in the extremities that are originating from the spine can be treated using spinal decompression therapy. A one-hour consult with the doctor will allow him to determine if a particular patient is a candidate for spinal decompression therapy.
What is the consultation process like at the Northport Wellness Center?
A consultation consists of history, examination, and review of diagnostic imaging and past tests. If no diagnostic imaging is available, the doctor may take x-rays. Further testing if necessary, may include a recommendation for an MRI.
An initial consultation is free and includes two treatments. The doctor will present a treatment plan that is designed around an individual patient’s condition. The treatment plan will include treatment frequency, co-management with other doctors, passive home care (ice, heat, TENs, home traction) and active home care (stretches and exercises to enhance treatment outcomes), as well as realistic treatment goals, both short-term and long-term.
*At the Northport Wellness Center, your treatment plan will be customized to meet your indivual health care needs so that you may recover as efficiently as possible. Our goal for our patients is that they experience quality of life and optimal health. Our spine and joint recovery program, which is comprised of multiple services, including spinal decompression therapy, chiropractic, physical therapy, and other treatments, offers our patients several opportunities to achieve their wellness goals and experience a life free from pain and rich in health.
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