What is Back Decompression?

Spinal decompression is a surgical procedure which aims to eliminate pain caused by neural impingement. Neural impingement, or pinched nerves, is commonly felt as un uncomfortable sensation. When pressure is applied to the area of irritation, a numbness often occurs. If left untreated, a pinched nerve can lead to damaged peripheral nerves. Pain varies amongst patients. It is usually felt as prickling, burning, stabbing or tingling.

To alleviate the symptoms of a pinched nerve, patients can consider spinal decompression surgery or spinal decompression therapy. Back decompression surgery removes bone from over the nerve root to allow it space to heal and to deactivate the pressure that is causing the pinching sensation.

The surgery is performed in one of two ways:

  • Microdiscectomy

In a microdiscectomy, the procedure is aimed to alleviate pain from a lumbar herniated disc. This condition is typically umbrella’d under sciatica, which is known to cause leg pain in patients.

  • Lumbar Laminectomy

A lumbar laminectomy is performed on lumbar spinal stenosis. This is the procedure that creates more space for the nerve root to heal. This procedure relieves pain for patients suffering from both physical weakness and neurological symptoms.

Increasingly common is the opting for spinal decompression therapy over surgery. Therapy stretches the spine using a traction table to achieve the same goal as decompression surgery. By stretching the spine, space is created for the pinched roots to heal, to be free of pressure and most importantly, liberated from pain.

For many years, chiropractors and osteopaths have implored the basic premise of spinal traction therapy by way of decompression devices. The devices and therapy remedy a range of pain levels caused by bulging, degenerating and herniated discs.

Spinal decompression is just one type of traction therapy that has long been used by experts. Decompression imposes a negative intradiscal pressure on the spine, which instigates retraction and repositioning by the herniated or bulging disc. It also creates a lower pressure in the disc, which allows more space for healing and a better path for healing nutrients to get to the root of the disc.

Not all patients are ideal candidates for decompression therapy. Many people suffer from leg pain (sciatica), lower back pain and neck pain, but unfortunately, not all can be remedied through non-invasive therapeutic measures. Amongst those for whom therapy is not appropriate are the following:

  • Pregnant women
  • Patients with broken vertebrae
  • Patients with history of a spinal fusion
  • Patients who have had an artificial disc or other implants
  • Patients who have had ineffective back surgery
  • Patients who have had previous surgeries intended for pain relief that did not work
  • Patients with osteoporosis
  • Patients with spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, spinal infection or spinal tumor
  • Patients with ankylosing spondylitis
  • Patients with any conditions that compromise the spine or require the patient to be on blood thinner medication

That said, many patients are good candidates for therapy. Many sufferers of pain wish to forego surgical options and focus on remedies that do not require going under the knife. At Backfit Health+Spine, we hope to accommodate as many of these preferences as is safe and possible.

If you suffer from the symptoms described above, it is time to consider which spinal decompression treatment is right for you. Come into Backfit Health+Spine to thoroughly review your case and determine which treatment route to take. Whatever you decide, the Backfit team is here to guide you back into your healthiest self. Life without back pain is not far away!

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