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Spinal decompression is a non-surgical treatment option for people experiencing back or neck pain with radicular pain. For a back pain patient this is called sciatica and for neck pain patients it is pain that shoots down into the arms and hands. This radiating back pain can be caused by a degenerative disc disease, such as a bulging disc or herniated disc that is placing pressure on a nearby nerve root.
Decompression therapy is used to realign the components of the spine in order to relieve pressure on a pinched nerve that is causing chronic pain and symptoms. By using traction, spinal decompression therapy increases circulation to the damaged disc, allowing it to begin the natural healing process. This may not only relieve disc pressure, but also reduce compression of nearby spinal nerve roots.
If you are suffering from chronic back pain from a damaged disc, decompression therapy could reduce your pain and prevent you from requiring spine surgery to correct your condition.
Two pilot studies show that a new non-surgical spinal decompression treatment has a beneficial effect on lower back pain, and that it seems to benefit the morphology of the spine by increasing disc height. One study, authored by Dr. John Leslie of the Mayo Clinic and others, found that clinical use of a spinal decompression system led to an 88.9 percent reduction in pain scores over the course of six weeks, as well as improvement in Oswestry disability scores and a drop in consumption of pain medications.
In the other study, CT scans of the lumbar spine were taken of patients before and after treatment on a spinal decompression system. They showed possible beneficial anatomical changes associated with the treatment.
Dr. Christian Apfel, lead author and associate professor of anesthesiology and perioperative care at the University of California at San Francisco, says, "A significant reduction in chronic LBP [lower back pain] after non-invasive spinal decompression correlated with an increase in disc height." Control groups to determine the placebo effect and the extent of spontaneous improvement were not included in the Leslie study.
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