Spinal Decompression Therapy

Spinal Decompression Therapy

Our spinal column, or vertebral column, is made up of many strangely shaped bones called vertebrae and is largely responsible for our side to side and backward and forward movement as well as keeping our spinal cord, which is part of our central nervous system and runs through a hole in each of the 33 vertebrae, safe from injury or damage.  Because of the range of movement and abuse our spinal column undergoes, over time various ailments can affect our spine like disc herniation, sciatica, spinal stenosis, disc bulge and degenerative spondylolithesis.  Often there are surgical ways to correct these conditions, but sometimes you can opt for non-surgical therapy like spinal decompression therapy.

What is Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Spinal decompression therapy describes a non-surgical procedure for relieving pressure on one or more pinched nerves in the spinal column. The most common cause of this is the natural degradation of your spinal vertebrae as described above causing the nerves that run along the spinal column to become pinched or compressed. There are both surgical and non-surgical ways of spinal decompression, but due to the risks involved, almost all patients will be required to go through a non-surgical therapy first before opting for a surgical option for spinal decompression.

Spinal Decompression Therapy Procedure

Spinal decompression therapy is done through the use of a mechanical traction device that is connected to a computer that controls the force and angle of the disc’s movement, which reduces the body’s natural tendency to resist external force and generate muscle spasm. Because of the non-surgical method of spinal decompression therapy, it is promoted as safe and effective as the patient is not exposed to the risks involved in a surgical option like anaesthesia, infection and other side effects.

The treatment lasts 30 minutes and consists of 15 one minute decompressions. During each one the pressure in the disc is reduced which creates a vacuum type effect in the nucleus, or centre, of the disc. While this happens, nutrition is allowed to be diffused into the disc allowing the annulus, or the hard out shell of the disc, to heal. Various different methods are used in spinal decompression therapy including range of motion decompression or articulating decompression. The success rate of spinal decompression therapy is around about 70% when judged by patients but there has been no scientific evidence to support this.

Costs of Spinal Decompression Therapy

Spinal decompression therapy is not supported by the NHS so you will need to pay for the therapy yourself. Cost varies greatly but usually they are around £145 for the 30 minute session which needs to be repeated once every few months.

It is important to note that although patients who have undergone the therapy almost always say they feel a remarkable improvement, there have been no conclusive findings that confirm the therapy is effective. As it is non surgical, it is always recommended that spinal decompression therapy be tried before the surgical alternatives that require much longer recovery times.