SPINAL DECOMPRESSION

What is Spinal Decompression?

Spinal Decompression refers to a medical procedure intended to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or one or more compressed nerve roots passing through or exiting the spinal column. It occurs to alleviate lasting back pain caused by pinched nerves.

Spinal decompression largely refers to a non-surgical procedure but spinal decompression surgery may prove useful when non-surgical spinal decompression therapy fails to work. However, the goal of both treatment options remains to stretch the spine and change its position to take pressure off of the spinal discs.

What is Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Spinal decompression therapy refers to the non-surgical procedure that may help to relieve back pain caused by pressure in the spine. This therapy involves gently stretching the spine, using a traction table or similar motorized device to change the force and position of the spine. This position change takes the pressure off the spinal disks, which occur as gel-like cushions between the bones in your spine, by creating negative pressure in the disc. Consequently, bulging or herniated disks may retract, taking pressure off nerves and other structures in your spine. This, in turn, helps promote the inflow of water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids into the disks so they can heal properly.

Spinal decompression therapy may prove useful to treat several symptoms and conditions. These conditions include:

1- Lasting back or neck pain

2- Sciatica which refers to pain, weakness, or tingling that extends down the leg

3- Bulging or herniated spinal disks

4- Degenerative disk disease

5- Posterior facet syndrome (worn spinal joints)

6- Diseased or injured spinal nerve roots

How does a Spinal Specialist perform Spinal Decompression Therapy?

During spinal decompression therapy, patients lay completely clothed face-up or face-down on a motorized table with a moving lower part. The specialist places a harness around the hips of the individual with another fitted around the trunk. The upper portion of the table remains in a fixed position while the lower part, to which the patient is harnessed, slides back and forth to provide the specific traction and relaxation the patient needs.

During or after this procedure, the patient should feel a stretch in the spine without any back pain. Spinal decompression therapy lasts for 30-45 minutes and the patient may require consistent treatment spread over five to seven weeks.

Spinal decompression therapy may not prove useful for individuals with fractures, tumors, advanced osteoporosis, metal implants in the spine, and pregnant women.

What is Spinal Decompression Surgery?

Spinal decompression surgery refers to a surgical procedure intended to relieve back pain caused by pressure in the spine. This surgery involves removing part of the vertebra in order to decompress or relieve pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves.

A spinal specialist may recommend this procedure as a treatment option when other treatment options fail to work. Spinal decompression surgery may help relieve symptoms from pressure on the spinal cord or nerves including pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness. The specialist may recommend one or more types of back surgeries to relieve spinal pressure. The more common types of back surgeries include:

1- Laminectomy

Laminectomy involves removing a part of the entire vertebral bone, called the lamina. Removing the lamina portion of the vertebral bone helps to increase the size of the spinal canal and relieve pressure. 

2- Microdiscectomy

Microdiscectomy involves removing portions of the herniated disc to relieve pressure on the spinal nerve column. 

What are the Risks of Spinal Decompression Surgery?

The more common risks associated with spinal decompression surgery include infection, bleeding, blood clots, nerve or tissue damage, and allergic reaction to anesthesia.

References

Weinstein, James N.; Tosteson, Tor D.; Lurie, Jon D.; Tosteson, Anna N.A.; Blood, Emily; Hanscom, Brett; Herkowitz, Harry; Cammisa, Frank; Albert, Todd; Boden, Scott D.; Hilibrand, Alan; Goldberg, Harley; Berven, Sigurd; An, Howard (2008). “Surgical versus Nonsurgical Therapy for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Wang G. Powered traction devices for intervertebral decompression: Health technology assessment update. Washington Department of Labor and Industries, June 14, 2004.

Ramos G, Martin W. Effects of vertebral axial decompression on intradiscal pressure. Journal of Neurosurgery 81:350-353, 1994.

Daniel DM. Non-surgical spinal decompression therapy: Does the scientific literature support efficacy claims made in the advertising media? Chiropractic & Osteopathy 15:7, May 18, 2007.

ABOUT LONGHORN BRAIN & SPINE

Founded on Excellence

Founded by Neurosurgeon, Dr. Grant Booher, Longhorn Brain and Spine focuses on a patient-centered approach to alleviating North Texans from Neurological and Spinal Pain.  Dr. Booher and his clinical team believe in exhausting all non-invasive protocols first and if needed, employing the least invasive procedures necessary to treat the patients.

Our Beliefs

Dr. Booher believes in a conservative, individualized and holistic approach when it comes to his patients. He prefers exhausting all nonsurgical options and proudly offers the least invasive techniques when clinically indicated. He strives to treat every patient like a member of his family. During his free time, he and his wife enjoy watching sports, listening to Texas country music, and traveling.