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Non-surgical spinal decompression

Spinal decompression

Non-surgical spinal decompression is achieved through the use of a mechanical traction device applied through an on-board computer that controls the force and angle of disc distraction, which reduces the body’s natural propensity to resist external force and/or generate muscle spasm. 

This enhanced control allows non-surgical spinal decompression tables to apply a traction force to the discs of the spinal column reducing intradiscal pressure, unlike previous non-computer controlled traction tables.

The practice is promoted as safe and effective without the normal risks associated with invasive procedures such as injections, anesthesia or surgery. Spinal decompression works through a series of 15 one minute alternating decompression (using a logarithmic decompression curve) and relaxation cycles with a total treatment time of 30 minutes. During the decompression [5] phase the pressure in the disc is reduced and a vacuum type of effect is produced on the nucleus pulposis. At the same time nutrition is diffused into the disc allowing the anulus fibrosus to heal. Very rarely is the nerve root compressed from the herniated disc and usually the back and leg pain associated with these conditions is a result of irritation to the nerve root sleeve by the inflammatory chemicals that are released as a result of inflammation in the disc.

For the low back, the patient lies on his/her back on the decompression table, with a harness placed around the waist and lower chest.   Many patients enjoy the treatment, as it is usually quite comfortable and well tolerated. 

Non-surgical spinal decompression works in that it provides localized distractive forces to the lumbar spine, creating a negative pressure in the center of the intervertebral disc.  This accordian-type pull creates a suctioning effect or vacuum phenomenon in order to retract or reduce the size of the herniated or bulging disc's gelatinous internal nucleus pulposus, thus diminishing or eliminating nerve compression.  An osmotic gradient is concomitantly created which helps bring nutrients and water into the disc.  Since intervertebral discs have poor circulation, they depend upon receiving their nutrition through diffusion across the end plates of the vertebrae above and below.

The appeal of non-surgical spinal decompression is that it is a non-invasive, non-surgical, drug-free alternative treatment for low back pain, sciatica, disc degeneration, disc bulges, disc herniations, and facet syndrome. There is copious anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness and more case studies are being published demonstrating very positive results in patients who have tried other conservative treatments that have failed.

Upright Cervical Decompression

Necks and backs are connected by a unique stacking and interconnection of the human anatomy. A closer look will reveal that the articulations of the Lumbar spine, when compared to the cervical spine, are vastly different. The sagittal and coronal planes of the  5 lumbar vertebrae not only perform differently , but are also carrying a significantly different load. In the cervical spine, the joints are called the uncinate processes or uncovertebral joints from C3 to C7. Above are the Atlanto-axial joints designed for rotation of the head.  The upright positioning of these treatments allows the cervical facet (spinal) joints to glide forward, a natural motion for them-thus improving treatment outcomes.

Unique to the cervical spine is the weight of the human head. While estimates vary, it is safe to say that most human heads weigh between 6 to 14 lbs. The average closer to 11. At one time scientist assigned a % of the total body weight to be .08% . In reality people are getting heavier and 130lb adults are getting harder to find. The significance of this weight is the gravitational compression force resting on the neck. The cervical spine is a dynamic structure made up of 7 vertebrae held together by muscle, tendons and ligaments. The smallest of the 24 vertebrae, the 7 cervical balancing act is supporting the equivalent of a small bowling ball.  Head position and posture ultimately play a key role in the wear and tear on the joints and will contribute to the speed at which an individual's spine degenerates. Degeneration will occur in all humans provided they live long enough for it to occur. The variables that determine the rate of degeneration are many. 

Considerations for Decompression

The value of cervical decompression in cases of mechanical spinal pathology is enormous. No other procedure addresses the most critical factors of acute and chronic compression better than decompression. Non-specific, insidious onset of neck pain, with or without a history of trauma, should be evaluated both through clinical exam and imaging as appropriate. The initial patient visit will include an in-depth history and examination by Dr. VanWormer that explores mechanical, chemical and psychogenic stress to the spine and nervous system. It is the objective of conservative care protocols to slow, stop and reverse the ensuing negative effects of compression. Articular dyskinesia presents itself as subluxations, facet misalignment and eventually degeneration when left untreated. Therefore the primary focus of care is to create an environment of long standing reduced pressure that promotes healing.

Cervical decompression on the Lordex® Cervical Super Chair provides fast, safe and effective therapy for virtually every variation of mechanical spinal pathology.  Use decompression for: 
*improving the cervical curve

*reducing forward head posture
*herniated discs
*degenerative arthritis
*bulging disc
*pinched nerves
*numb arms or hands


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